A dental flipper is a temporary removable partial denture device often used in dentistry when patients are having a dental crown or bridge fabricated. It is most commonly used when dental implants have been placed in the mouth to aid in the healing process, until a crown is made and inserted.
A flipper is usually one of the least expensive dental devices and the cost for a dental flipper can be as low as $100 at some dental school clinics. It is made of acrylic material and is fabricated by taking a impression of the missing tooth area, then sending a plaster cast molding to a dental laboratory for final preparation which includes the tooth shade. The appliance is then secured to the mouth with the use of wires with little ball ends or the pink acrylic portion of the flipper that is designed to snap between the teeth.
While a flipper is meant to be an interim (temporary) device, some are designed so well that people can wear them for years. But, because they are designed to press somewhat on the gums, if worn for too long a period, gum problems can develop. It is important to practice a good oral care program if you need to use this device for an extended period of time. A flipper is also very fragile and can break easily, so extreme care should be taken when eating foods - they may not be strong enough to withstand chewing and may need to be removed prior to eating. See our list of other dental procedures and prosthetic dental device appliances here.