As dental technology and understanding advances, more people are now seeking dental flipper alternatives to alleviate the drawbacks of such prosthetics as they await their new set of teeth replacement.
Dental implants are known to be the gold standard for the replacement of missing natural teeth. During the waiting period, before getting your implants fitted, your dentist may recommend getting flippers as a temporary solution.
However, there are several other options that you may opt for in the meantime that may be better than flippers.
This article explores these options by highlighting:
- What dental flippers are;
- Why you’d opt for dental flipper alternatives;
- Top alternatives for dental flippers in implant treatment.
What Are Dental Flippers?
Dental flippers are removable dental prostheses designed to replace missing teeth temporarily. They are a cost-effective and non-invasive solution to restore aesthetics and function while awaiting permanent dental treatments.
For instance, dental implants are some of the best solutions for replacing missing natural teeth. Although there are different dental implant types, they are mostly not fitted immediately. Assuming you have to undergo other procedures like bone grafting or extraction, you can not get them on your first visit.
Moreover, these prosthetics are usually custom-made. This means there has to be a waiting period before you get your custom-made crowns and implants.
During this waiting period, which can take a few weeks to months, you will require temporary prosthetics to boost your oral aesthetics and functionality, such as speaking. This is where flippers come in.
What Do Dental Flippers Look Like?
Dental flippers are placed after extraction, just like immediate dentures. A dental flipper comprises two key components: an acrylic base and artificial teeth.
The base is made from an acrylic material that imitates the appearance of gums and is made to fit snugly over the patient’s arch. Artificial teeth, made from materials like porcelain or composite resin, are attached to the acrylic base, making them appear like temporary dentures.
Uses of Dental Flippers
Dental flippers are commonly used during the waiting period during implant treatment. Before you get the final crowns attached, there’s usually a healing period that can last a few months, making it possible for osseointegration to occur.
However, there are also other uses for dental flippers, including:
- Tooth extractions: Whenever you get your teeth extracted, there’s often a healing period allowed before a permanent restoration can be placed. Dental flippers come in handy during this period to fill the gaps and protect the extraction site.
- Preparation for bridges or dentures: Dental bridges and dentures are other popular tooth replacement methods. Before these permanent solutions are placed, your dentist may recommend using flippers.
Dental flippers are a common temporary fix for your aesthetic needs, often before you get a more permanent solution fixed. They are mainly popular because they are readily available. They are also:
- More cost-effective;
- Non-invasive and don’t require surgery;
- A quick solution to get prompt temporary replacement for missing natural teeth.
Why Look for Dental Flipper Alternatives?
Although flippers have been the go-to temporary solution as you wait for dental implants, there are several compelling reasons to consider alternatives during implant treatment, including:
- Stability issues: One of the main drawbacks of flippers is their stability. These prosthetics rely on clasps or adhesives, which can easily slip when speaking or eating. This instability causes discomfort and makes patients more self-conscious about their smiles.
- Aesthetic concerns: These products aren’t ideal if you are looking for an optimal aesthetic appearance. They may not perfectly match the color, shape, and size of the patient’s natural teeth, making them stand out.
- Difficulty eating and speaking: Dental flippers are not quite stable in the mouth, which risks instability when eating. Moreover, they can also affect speech clarity, causing speech impediments.
- Discomfort: Dental flippers are often bulky and may cause irritation to the gums and other oral tissues. When used for longer periods, flippers may lead to sore spots or ulcers in the mouth, which can be quite irritating.
- Bone and gum health: Traditional flippers only cover the visible gaps left by missing teeth but do not address bone and gum health. This means they do not stimulate the underlying bone like dental implants, which can ultimately lead to bone loss.
Top Alternatives for Flippers During Implant Treatment
Although dental flippers are helpful as a temporary solution as you await dental implants to be fitted in, their drawbacks are quite a handful. This means scouting for the best alternatives to dental flippers may be a better plan for most.
So, what can you use in place of dental flippers?
Temporary bridges work like traditional dental bridges, a good alternative to dental implants. They also use adjacent teeth as anchors to fill the gaps left by the missing teeth. They are customized to fit the patient’s dental arch and work to provide better stability and aesthetics.
- Temporary bridges offer better stability compared to dental flippers. They are fixed in place using adjacent teeth as support, providing a more secure fit.
- The artificial teeth used in temporary bridges are designed to closely resemble natural teeth, resulting in a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.
- Temporary bridges allow for improved chewing and speaking abilities, making them more functional than flippers.
- With their stable fit, temporary bridges are more comfortable for patients during the healing phase.
- Temporary bridges can be more expensive than dental flippers due to their custom fabrication and use of materials.
- Preparing adjacent teeth to support the bridge requires some alteration, which is irreversible and might not be suitable for all patients.
The cost of temporary bridges can vary depending on factors such as the number of teeth being replaced, the materials used, and the location of the dental practice.
On average, temporary bridges can range from $500 to $1,500 per tooth.
Essix retainers are clear, custom-made aligners used after orthodontic treatment. These products can also be used as temporary replacements during implant treatment, as they offer a more discreet and comfortable option than dental flippers.
- Essix retainers are nearly invisible, providing a discreet alternative to dental flippers.
- The smooth, thin design of Essix retainers makes them comfortable for extended periods.
- No alterations to adjacent teeth or gums are required, making Essix retainers a non-invasive option.
- Essix retainers are easily removable for cleaning, promoting good oral hygiene during healing.
- Essix retainers are primarily designed for cosmetic purposes.
Essix retainers can cost between $300 to $800 per retainer.
Snap-on dentures are also known as implant-supported overdentures. These dental flipper alternatives are attached to dental implants strategically placed in the jaw, providing better stability and enhancing overall function.
- Snap-on dentures are extremely stable, as they attach to dental implants, preventing slippage or movement.
- With natural-looking artificial teeth, snap-on dentures provide a more attractive smile.
- Snap-on dentures offer improved comfort, as they do not rest on the gums like dental flippers.
- Dental implants stimulate the jawbone, preserving bone health and preventing bone loss.
- Snap-on dentures are more expensive than dental flippers and might require additional surgical procedures for implant placement.
- The process of getting snap-on dentures involves multiple steps, including implant surgery and healing time, which can extend the overall treatment timeline.
The cost of snap-on dentures varies based on the number of implants needed and the materials used. The average cost can range from $3,000 to $30,000 for an entire arch of snap-on dentures.
What Are Your Options?
There are numerous considerations when looking for the best alternative to flippers during implant treatment. Some of these factors include the total cost and your budget, the level of comfort you want, and your overall goals.
However, the ultimate way to determine the best alternatives for dental flippers is to consult with your dentist.
If looking for affordable implants, check out our guide on low-cost dental implants.
Yes, you can get a flipper instead of an implant as a temporary tooth replacement option. Dental flippers are often used during the healing phase while waiting for an implant to be placed or during the planning phase for a more permanent restoration like a dental bridge or denture.
Snap-ons are more stable and generally better than flippers, as they are attached to surgically-placed implants, unlike flippers that only use adhesives or clasps.
An immediate temporary bridge and a flipper differ in their construction and attachment methods. The immediate temporary bridge is usually made from a more durable material like resin or ceramic and is fixed in place using adjacent teeth as support.
However, a flipper is a removable prosthesis made of an acrylic base and artificial teeth and relies on clasps or adhesives to stay in place.