What are Temporary Partial Denture, or Flipper Tooth

Losing a tooth, whether to injury or illness, is a predicament wherein you may benefit from a flipper tooth. If you’ve just begun researching your options for a prosthetic tooth, you may wonder what exactly a flipper is. Essentially, it is a temporary partial denture that is fitted in the space of a missing tooth. It is mounted to a retainer that rests in either the top or bottom of your mouth depending on the location of the missing tooth; the retainer is removable and thereby not a permanent fixture. Victory Plaza Dental Group, a North Hollywood dentist, specializes in devising treatment plans for missing tooth treatment.

Whether you are missing a tooth as the result of injury or tooth removal due to decay or illness, you may require a flipper. Aesthetically-speaking, a flipper tooth will restore the overall appearance of your teeth and smile. With modern dental technology, the team at Victory Plaza Dental Group, a North Hollywood dentist, will effortlessly design and fit a flipper to match your remaining natural teeth. A flipper is customized to an individual’s mouth so you’re unable to notice the difference between prosthetic and natural teeth.

How is a Flipper Made?

A temporary partial denture, a flipper is made just for your mouth by your dentist. To begin, a dental impression or mold of your mouth is taken in our office. The subsequent impression is sent to a dental laboratory where a prosthetic tooth is made from the mold. The flipper is made using a denture acrylic to create a polished and natural-looking tooth. With initial dental impressions, your flipper is customized to comfortably fit your mouth exactly.

The Benefits of a Flipper Tooth

Besides the obvious benefit of replacing a missing tooth with a comfortable and natural-looking temporary partial denture, a flipper has other benefits.


To begin, a flipper tooth is an affordable option to other possible resolutions. Beyond a flipper, your other options include dentures and dental implants. These options are much more costly than a flipper tooth. A flipper tooth costs about a quarter of the total cost of a dental implant. If cost is a concern, but you still desire a full, natural smile, the affordability of a flipper tooth may be a great option for you.

Quickly Manufactured

The thought of living with a missing tooth, if even for a short time, might be highly distressing. With a flipper tooth, the wait-time for your manufactured prosthetic is next to nothing. In many cases, you can have your finished flipper on the same day. So the aggravation and embarrassment of living with gaps in your smile won’t last for long.

Natural Appearance

Flippers are made to give the impression of a natural tooth. The fact that they’re made from your own dental impressions allows the shape and bite of the flipper will feel and look natural. Furthermore, the color of your flipper is customized to match the color of your overall smile.

Supports Natural Teeth

Like a brace for the integrity of your natural teeth, a flipper will uphold your natural teeth. Simply, by providing support for your natural teeth to lean upon, the likelihood of your natural teeth shifting is significantly reduced. If your teeth were to shift inward toward the space created by a missing tooth, a whole other set of dental complications could ensue.


A flipper tooth is made just for you, to fit your unique mouth/tooth shape and size. The exact fit to your mouth makes for long-lasting comfort throughout the day. Moreover, a flipper easily pops in and out of your mouth so, in the event of discomfort, you can easily take a break.

The Disadvantages of a Flipper Tooth

As with any dental procedure or prosthetic device, there is always the potential for risks. Some of the risks or drawbacks associated with a flipper are reviewed below:


Unfortunately, although a flipper will look good and hold up for a short time, they are only a temporary partial denture. Therefore, they are not intended as a long-term solution for missing tooth treatment. The acrylic used to fashion a flipper is not durable like the materials employed to fashion permanent prosthetics like dentures. As a result, after long-term use, your flipper may crack and have to be replaced.

Potential Discomfort

Although a flipper is made to fit your mouth perfectly, it is a foreign object. Because it’s not a naturally occurring tooth, an adjustment period may be needed. Initially, the flipper may be uncomfortable, but after a time you should become acclimated to the new device. Flippers should never cause you pain though, so be sure to call us if you’re suffering.


As with any prosthetic device, routine maintenance is required to ensure the longevity of your flipper. Furthermore, a properly maintained flipper is essential to your gum and dental health. An improperly cleaned and maintained flipper puts you at risk for Gingivitis and tooth decay.

Fit May Loosen

Similar to other fitted or prosthetic devices, your once snugly-fitting flipper may loosen up after time. This is to be expected and a quick visit to your dentist will have your flipper fitting snugly again in no time. Remember, a flipper is a temporary partial denture. As such, it isn’t constructed with materials that will not last in the long run.

Potential Allergen

It’s worth noting that the acrylic from which a flipper is constructed has the potential to cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. Although not common, an allergic reaction is possible so it’s essential to discuss your allergy history with your dentist.

Gum Recession

Prolonged use of a flipper has the potential to cause gum recession. The health of your gums relies heavily on the saliva produced by your mouth. Because of the way the flipper’s retainer rests on your gums, it prevents or reduces saliva from reaching your gums. This may cause gum recession.

Eating With a Flipper Tooth

The question of whether you can safely and comfortably eat with a flipper comes up often. The fact is using a flipper will improve your ability to eat comfortably. Eating with a missing tooth or teeth can be difficult; the prosthetic tooth will aid in breaking down your food better. However, be careful of what you eat. The fragile material with which flippers are made could easily become cracked or damaged if eating tough or hard foods.

The Cost of a Flipper

Certainly, the cost of dental work is always a concern. However, of the possible missing tooth treatment plans, a flipper is the least costly option. Although the cost will vary minutely from dentist to dentist, the biggest variables are the materials used to construct your flipper and whether it’s one or more teeth that will be replaced. Additionally, your insurance carrier’s contributions may help to defer the cost of a flipper. Generally speaking though, the cost of a front tooth flipper will be approximately $500. That may fluctuate if additional teeth are needed or subsequent repairs are required.

Caring for Your Flipper

As with all dental devices, special care must be taken to maintain your flipper. To begin, just as you maintain a daily flossing and brushing schedule, you must also routinely clean your flipper. Taking care of your flipper is as simple as brushing with a toothbrush, water, and soap. By gently scrubbing away excess debris and rinsing before using it again, the integrity of the flipper is upheld.

In addition to keeping your flipper well cleaned, you should also properly store it when not in use. At bedtime, be sure to store your flipper in water. By keeping your flipper moist you will avoid possible cracking from it becoming too dry.

Avoid foods that could potentially stain your flipper. The usual suspects like coffee, beets, red wine, and cranberry juice could permanently discolor your flipper.

Finally, and most importantly, maintain good oral hygiene habits. By brushing and flossing regularly, you keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape. Doing so will have the added benefit of reducing the possibility of some of the aforementioned risks associated with flippers.

Is a Flipper Right for You?

As previously noted, a flipper is a temporary partial denture which means it’s not intended for long-term use. Flippers are a wonderful device to use while waiting for a permanent denture or implant to be crafted. Although a flipper may be recommended if you’re not a candidate for permanent fixtures, generally they are an intermediate denture to be used while waiting for a more permanent prosthetic.

The Final Verdict

In conclusion, a flipper is only a temporary solution to the permanent problem of a missing tooth. They are primarily meant to be used short-term, typically while awaiting the construction of a permanent replacement. A flipper is easy to use as it is fitted to your mouth and placed using a mechanism similar to a retainer. They are an affordable way to restore your smile whilst awaiting your permanent tooth.

Moreover, flippers are easy to care for, however daily maintenance is a must. Furthermore, because they are a quick, short-term replacement, they are not made with the most durable materials and can be fragile. You must care for your flipper as instructed by your dentist to avoid damage. Finally, as with any new dental device, if you are experiencing any discomfort you should call your dentist immediately. By working closely with your dentist, you can easily maintain the comfort and integrity of your flipper.