Tooth loss can significantly impact your smile and self-confidence. Fortunately, several tooth replacement options are available, including partial dentures and dental flippers. Both options are popular for restoring missing teeth, but they differ in function and cost. 

If you're considering tooth replacement, it's important to understand the differences between partial dentures vs. dental flippers to decide which option would be best suited for your specific needs. 

What is a Dental Flipper?

A dental flipper is a temporary removable partial denture that replaces one or more missing teeth. At our restorative dentistry practice, we usually recommend dental flippers when one or two teeth are missing. Although dental flippers are necessary to maintain proper spacing and keep teeth from shifting, they can also be considered cosmetic dentistry because they allow patients to have a more attractive smile. In pediatric dentistry, a flipper tooth may be used to hold the space of a missing tooth until all of a child’s adult teeth erupt. 

Flippers are typically made from acrylic material and look like a natural tooth attached to a base. The base fits over your existing gum line and is held in place with a retainer-like wire that may have clasps that attach to adjacent teeth for support. This helps keep the flipper from slipping out of place or shifting around in your mouth as you speak. 

After your dentist takes an impression of your mouth, you can usually expect to get a dental flipper within a few days. It’s typically a faster process than manufacturing a permanent denture. 

Dental flippers aren't a long-lasting replacement for missing teeth, but they serve as a great interim solution while you wait to receive a more lasting prosthetic or for the eruption of adult teeth. They’re also an affordable option that can help restore your smile and confidence until you can get the tooth replacement method of your choice. 

At Restore Dentures and Implants, we provide dental flippers in Tulsa as an economical way to maintain your smile while providing a temporary solution until receiving a permanent tooth replacement. 

What is a Partial Denture?

A partial denture is a removable oral appliance used to replace a missing tooth or several missing teeth. Partial dentures are a more long-term solution than a dental flipper and are designed to fit snugly around natural teeth, replacing the gaps left by missing teeth and allowing the person wearing them to chew, speak, and smile with confidence.

A fixed partial denture, commonly known as a dental bridge, may also be a solution for a missing tooth. While a removable partial denture can be taken on and off, a fixed partial denture is a semi-permanent option and is only removed by a dentist. 

Partial dentures are custom-made and usually consist of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-colored plastic base that matches your natural gum line allowing the denture to blend in with your existing teeth. Clasps, or precision attachments, are often added for increased retention and stability in the mouth. 

At your initial consultation, your dentist will take measurements and make impressions to ensure that the partial denture is tailored to your mouth according to the shape and size of your existing healthy teeth. They usually take a few weeks to manufacture, so a flipper may be used to hold space during the production of your partial denture. 

Partial dentures can typically be worn all day, but depending on the comfort level, you should remove them at night to soak while sleeping to keep them from drying out, cracking or becoming warped. With proper care and maintenance, partial dentures are an effective solution for restoring lost teeth and giving you a beautiful smile again!

The Benefits of a Flipper Tooth

When restoring a smile, flipper teeth can be a great solution for both children and adults. They look natural in the mouth and are relatively easy to wear. There are several benefits to choosing a flipper tooth for temporary tooth replacement. 

  • Flipper teeth are comfortable. They’re made from lightweight materials that won’t weigh your jaw down as traditional bridges and dentures might. Plus, they don’t require any extra adhesives or other materials to keep them in place.

  • Ideal for those who lead active lifestyles. A flipper denture can be removed whenever desired to accommodate a meal on the move or before the starting lineup without sacrificing your smile. 

  • Affordable option to restore your smile. Unlike other prosthetic devices, dental flippers can be made quickly and at a fraction of the cost of dentures or implants. They are also easy to care for – just brush with regular toothpaste and water, and you’re done.

Overall, flipper teeth offer an excellent solution for those looking to replace one or more missing teeth. Not only are they comfortable and affordable, but they are also simple to use. So if you’re in need of a quick fix for your smile, flipper teeth might be the best solution for you. 

The Disadvantages of a Dental Flipper

Though a dental flipper may seem like the ideal solution for replacing missing teeth, some disadvantages should be considered. 

  • A dental flipper is not a permanent solution; it provides temporary, immediate tooth replacement until other restoration methods can be employed. 

  • Wear with caution. Because these replacements are made out of acrylic or plastic resin, they lack the strength and durability of natural teeth. As such, they cannot withstand the same force as real teeth and can easily break or become loose if too much strain is placed on them.

  • Can cause irritation. The apparatus that holds flippers in place tends to rest on the gums and may rub against them, causing soreness that can make eating less comfortable. 

Although a dental flipper may provide a temporary solution, it’s best to consult your dentist about other long-term solutions, such as implant restoration or dentures, for lasting results and optimal comfort if you are struggling with tooth loss. 

How Long Can I Wear a Flipper?

Generally speaking, it’s safe to wear a dental flipper for an average of six months while your gums heal from extraction if you're planning to get a dental implant. Depending on your oral health and healing progress, your dentist may suggest wearing it longer or shorter than the six-month recommendation. That said, the length of time that you can safely wear a dental flipper will vary between individuals. 

It’s important that you follow up with your dentist regularly throughout this period to monitor changes in your oral health and make sure your gums are healing properly. It’s also important to practice good oral hygiene when you’re wearing a dental flipper to prevent any complications. 

Be sure to brush your flipper and teeth daily and allow at least eight hours a day for soaking. You should also be sure to wear your flipper regularly, or your teeth may shift, leaving it unusable.

The Benefits of Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are a great option if you want to replace missing teeth with a more permanent solution. Not only do they restore your smile, but they also offer many other benefits that make them a great choice for those seeking dental solutions after tooth loss. 

  • Partial dentures keep your remaining teeth from shifting out of place. This can happen when a tooth is missing because other teeth have nothing to hold them in position and may drift. Partial dentures provide stability, which helps keep your existing teeth in the right place.

  • Partial dentures can improve chewing and speaking. These activities can be difficult and uncomfortable with missing teeth, but with partial dentures in place, you can chew and enjoy food with fewer issues. Partial dentures can also help you speak more clearly.

  • Partial dentures look like your natural teeth. Not only can this boost your self-confidence, but it will give you an overall improved quality of life. 

The Disadvantages of Partial Dentures

For many people, partial dentures may be the best and most affordable option for missing teeth. However, there are some disadvantages you should consider before committing to this form of tooth replacement.

  • Partial dentures require regular maintenance and adjustments. If your apparatus doesn’t fit properly, it can cause speech impediments, sores in the mouth and gum recession due to rubbing against the gums. 

  • Can be uncomfortable and even painful. Partial dentures can take some time before becoming accustomed to their presence in your mouth. However, discomfort typically subsides and is not everlasting.  Partial dentures don’t provide as much biting force as natural teeth or implants, so some hard foods may still be difficult to enjoy.

If these disadvantages give you pause when considering partial dentures, a dental implant may be a better solution for restoring your smile and bite functions. A dental implant acts like naturally occurring tooth roots, providing stability and strength to replacement teeth to allow full chewing capability and improved speech clarity.

Partial Dentures and Dental Flippers in Tulsa

If you're trying to decide between a dental flipper or a partial denture, we hope we’ve provided you with helpful guidance and clarification. The biggest difference between these two restorative dentistry solutions is the fact that a flipper is a more temporary option. 

If you’re in the market for a dental flipper or partial denture, Restore Dentures and Implants of Tulsa is here to help you get the best possible results when replacing missing teeth. Our skilled team of professionals aims to provide the best experience possible to ensure your journey toward better oral health is comfortable and stress-free. 

Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your dental flipper or partial dentures! We look forward to helping you smile again!