What is a flipper denture?

A flipper denture is a type of temporary denture that usually replaces one or just a few teeth. Usually, flipper dentures are only used until a permanent denture (usually a bridge, or sometimes a dental implant) is made and is ready to be inserted. Flipper dentures are often used immediately after a natural tooth is removed, but they shouldn't stay in place forever.
Missing teeth is a common dilemma for many people who have had teeth removed because of extensive cavities, gum disease, injuries, and those who may have never developed some of their own teeth due to a hereditary trait. The three most common ways for a dentist to replace one or more missing teeth are a bridge (a series of joined caps), an implant(s), or a removable partial denture. Although a bridge or dental implants may be more comfortable and cosmetically pleasing than a removable partial denture, there are some drawbacks. A bridge and implants can cost significantly more than a removable partial denture, and may not be viable options for some patients. In certain cases, a removable partial denture may be the best or only choice available.

One type of removable partial denture is the all-acrylic variety, sometimes referred to as an interim (temporary) removable partial denture or a “flipper”. The flipper sometimes gets a bad rap by the dental profession because it is not as sturdy as the cast partial, but on the other hand, it has several advantages over it. The flipper can be made in a few days with only two dental visits needed. The cast partial usually requires at least a month to create and involves about four visits. The flipper is lightweight because it has much less metal (typically only a metal clasp or two) making it more comfortable and esthetic than the cast partial.

I sometimes recommend the flipper to a person who needs teeth replaced later in life and has never worn any other type of removable partial denture in the past. The flipper tends to be easier to get used to. Finally, the flipper usually costs about half as much as a cast partial.



A flipper denture is an oral device that replaces a lost tooth. It is generally used as a temporary device. It is made of plastic and a replacement tooth. It usually does not have clasps to hold it in. A flipper denture can be used when a tooth has just been lost. It can be worn while the area heals around the lost tooth. After healing a cast partial, implant and crown, or bridge can be made.

A flipper is an acrylic denture that may be used to replace just one tooth, but also may replace several teeth. It can be used as an immediate replacement for an extracted tooth, as an interim replacement while an implant is integrating to the bone and sometimes as a long term replacement if finances are a problem. Use as a long term replacement is often not the ideal solution, but may be a satisfactory one, if necessary. If other teeth are extracted, additions can be made to the flipper.

Although a flipper may seem like an easy solution to a problem, it is important to consider that it is not supported by remaining teeth, may affect the gums of remaining teeth, and retention may not be the best.
A Flipper, also known as a "transitional partial denture”, is used as a temporary treatment after the loss of a tooth. For example, if you had an accident and came into your dentist with your tooth knocked out, or broken to the gum line, a flipper can be made quickly. We would take impressions, a bite and a shade of your teeth, send it to the lab and have it back the next day! This way, you have something to wear while final treatment is decided.

The flipper typically is made for the loss of a front tooth -- a thin pink layer of plastic will fit behind your teeth, with a clasp or two in the back teeth and the missing tooth placed where it is needed. They are fairly comfortable to wear for a finite period of time. Think of it like a retainer with a tooth on it!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.