Updated on February 7, 2024
5 min read

Dental Flippers

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How Much Does a Dental Flipper Cost?

As one of the cheapest options for prosthetic teeth, flippers typically cost between $300 and $600. Other RPDs can cost significantly more than $600.

The price of flippers depends on the materials used, the number of teeth that need to be replaced, and the location of the missing teeth.

While flippers are cheaper upfront, their design makes them prone to damage over time. This can result in a considerable expense when future replacement costs are added.

What is a Flipper?

A flipper, also known as an acrylic removable partial denture (RPD), is a temporary fix for a missing tooth. It’s an acrylic retainer with one or more prosthetic teeth attached to it. 

Removable partial denture mandibular prosthesis or dental flippers

Flippers usually replace the front teeth, providing the appearance of a full smile. However, they can also restore missing teeth in the back of your mouth.

Types of flippers include:

  • Spoon denture An RPD without clasps, named for its spoonlike shape
  • Flexible denture — Soft, clear dentures that let your gums show through
  • Two-piece sectional denture — An RPD split into pieces to fit different parts of the mouth

A flipper is mainly supported by the frictional contact and surface tension between the acrylic base plate and gum tissue. However, the structure can be reinforced with fibers or metal wires for better support.

Who Needs a Flipper?

People who are missing adult teeth may benefit from a flipper. It can fill in the gap left by a missing tooth or a tooth root while waiting for an extraction.

A flipper preserves your remaining natural teeth and maintains the space between them. However, it is often used as a temporary solution until a more permanent prosthetic is ready.

Due to economic constraints, people often keep their acrylic RPDs longer than recommended. It’s a cheaper option than other dentures, making it a popular choice if you’re on a budget. However, it’s not always the perfect long-term solution. 

Pros and Cons of Dental Flippers

Dental flippers are one of the most common types of dentures available. However, this type of prosthesis comes with advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Dental Flippers

Aside from their affordability, flippers have many other advantages, including: 

  • Easy to fabricate and fit — Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth, and a laboratory technician will make the custom appliance.
  • Good esthetics Flippers look natural and can complete your smile.
  • Easy to wear and care for — It’s easy to insert and remove your flipper. It’s also easy to clean.
  • Maintain the positions of the teeth temporarily Flippers can stabilize your mouth and teeth while you wait for your permanent prosthetic.

Flippers are also one of the least invasive options for replacing missing teeth.

Disadvantages of Dental Flippers

Dental flippers are a great temporary solution for missing teeth. However, they have their drawbacks, which include:

  • Increased risk of dental issues — Flippers can make you more likely to develop oral health problems like tooth decay and gum disease, especially if you don’t remove your flipper nightly. Some larger flippers that cover the back of the mouth can also trigger the gag reflex. 
  • Low durability — The acrylic materials flippers are made of are less durable, which means they’re not ideal long-term solutions. They are also too weak to withstand heavy chewing forces. 
  • Uncomfortable — Flippers aren’t always as comfortable as other permanent tooth replacements, such as implants. Because flippers have low durability, they may be bulkier in certain portions to prevent fracture, which can feel uncomfortable. 
  • Potential allergies — You may be allergic to the materials used to make flippers. Always talk to your dentist about any past allergic reactions.
  • Loosening over time — The fit of your flipper may grow looser or less accurate as time passes.

How to Take Care of a Flipper

Taking care of your flipper is easy as long as you keep up with its maintenance. It’s a lot like caring for any other retainer or prosthesis.

When you get your flipper, dentists advise against eating hard and chewy foods with your flipper, like:

  • Raw vegetables, nuts, and seeds
  • Tough meat
  • Chips and pretzels
  • Candies and gum

These foods can cause damage to the flipper’s acrylic base and prosthetic teeth. Dentists recommend eating only soft foods with a temporary denture, as these dentures can break easily.

Good oral hygiene is essential when you have any appliance, including a flipper. You must remove your flipper, then brush and floss as normal, and visit your dentist at least every 6 months. 

Cleaning Your Flipper 

Cleaning your flipper properly decreases the risk of developing plaque and denture biofilm. The fungus candida and bacteria can easily form on and underneath acrylic resin. Some respiratory pathogens have also been found on denture surfaces.   

Dentists recommend using denture cleaners or mild dish soap with a denture toothbrush to clean your flipper daily.

You should also soak your dentures in water overnight. 

Alternative Treatment Options

A flipper isn’t your only option if you’re missing one or more teeth. Alternative treatments for missing teeth are:

Fixed Partial Dentures

A fixed partial denture (FPD), or dental bridge, is similar to an RPD, except it is permanently glued onto your teeth. Because it’s attached to your teeth, it can last longer than a flipper tooth.

3d render of jaw with dental incisor cantilever bridge

It’s essential to have a healthy set of abutment teeth to which the denture can attach. Abutments can be natural teeth or implants. Good oral hygiene and healthy surrounding bone are also essential for the denture’s success.

Dental Implants

Implants are excellent permanent restorations for missing teeth. Dental implants are surgically placed in your mouth. They act as artificial tooth roots attached to crowns.

Summary

A flipper is a temporary fix for a missing tooth. It’s an acrylic removable partial denture (RPD) that can help restore your smile.

While flippers are affordable, they aren’t ideal long-term solutions. Dentists typically use them as a temporary placeholder until they can install a permanent prosthetic.

Fixed partial dentures and implants are the most common alternatives to flippers.

Last updated on February 7, 2024
7 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 7, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
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