Month: July 2021

Everything You Need to Know About Dental Flippers

Dental FlipperDental Flippers

Losing a tooth is never a pleasant experience. Not only does it make it difficult to eat, but it also makes you withhold your smile due to the gap. Fortunately, there are many ways to fill the gaps in your teeth.

Alternatives for your missing tooth can be permanent or semi-permanent, depending on your age and dental needs. They can help you speak clearly, eat comfortably, smile confidently and improve your overall health.

One of the least invasive methods is to use the flipper tooth, otherwise called a removable partial denture or a flipper denture. We walk you through what you need to know about dental flippers, their benefits, drawbacks, maintenance, comparison with other prosthetic tooth options, and much more.

Here are the main points of interest we will discuss:

What Are Dental Flippers?

A flipper tooth is a removable retainer that generally sits on the lower jaw or the top of the roof of the mouth and has one or more prosthetic teeth attached to it. Also called acrylic partial dentures, they fill in the gaps in your smile.

They are a temporary yet attractive prosthetic tooth option for a permanent replacement that you can get through your dentist.

They give the appearance of a flawless smile even if you have lost teeth due to sickness or injury. The dentist first takes an impression of your mouth on soft material. It is then sent to a dental laboratory, where a custom flipper tooth is designed to fill in any gaps.

What Is a Flipper Tooth Made Of?

The flipper tooth is made of acrylic dental-grade resin that matches the color of your gums. The structure has metal clasps that attach to the surrounding natural teeth on either side of the missing teeth. They can easily be removed at night and cleaned with toothpaste or soaked in the denture cleaning solution.

How Long Can You Wear a Dental Flipper?

Dental flippers are generally a temporary replacement for your missing tooth until your gums heal enough for your implant. After that, you can use them for a long term only when your dentist instructs you. However, some may prefer to wear it permanently due to its low cost and lightweight, not to mention that they are easy to adjust.

In the case of minors missing teeth, they wear dental flippers until they are old enough to get an implant.

In either case, you need to care for your dental flipper properly to prevent breakage or damage. Clean the flipper every day to remove the plaque and food particles. This helps protect the teeth and the gums as well.

Can I Sleep with a Flipper Tooth in My Mouth?

A flipper tooth is a temporary situation and should be treated as such. If worn day and night, they exert constant pressure on the tissues under the flipper.

As a consequence, patients could develop receding gums and bone deterioration as well. Wearing a dental flipper all day could also trigger a fungal infection in the gums. Since it is painless, the infection is known.

It is crucial to remove the flippers at night, allowing the gums to breathe. Hence dentists recommend removing them at night for at least 8 hours.

Can I Eat with a Flipper Tooth?

The best part of using a flipper tooth is that you can eat with them and chew much easier. However, you should not exert any pressure since it is very fragile.

  • Start with relatively soft foods; cut into small pieces and slowly chew them.
  • Take small bites of your food and chew food with both sides of your mouth simultaneously.
  • Avoid hard foods like raw vegetables until after the adjustment period.
  • Do not pull food from the fork using the front flipper tooth.

How Do You Talk with a Dental Flipper?

Like eating, talking can also be difficult with a flipper tooth. It can be hard at first, but you can adjust to talking with a flipper with training—for example, practice speaking in front of a mirror or with a partner. Or you can call customer service, and you’ll be able to measure how much others understand you. Be prepared to have your dental flipper flying in the beginning. It takes to some time and practice to get used to it.

How Many Teeth Can You Put on a Flipper?

A flipper typically holds one or more teeth and holds on to surrounding teeth for support. Keep in mind that they are temporary and acts as a filler for a gap in the tooth line.

How Do I Know if a Flipper Tooth is Right for Me?

A flipper tooth is used for a short period of time in the place of one missing tooth when you are waiting for a permanent tooth replacement solution like a fixed bridge or a dental implant.

They are generally used to replace the front teeth. Moreover, they are not suggested for long-term use since they can be uncomfortable and can sit loosely in your mouth.

However, there are exceptional cases when flippers are a permanent replacement for someone with missing teeth. For example, this can be the case if you are not a good candidate for dental implants or a fixed bridge.

How Long After Tooth Extraction Can I Wear a Flipper?

As a general rule, you should wait for 24 hours after surgery before wearing a tooth flipper. After that, however, you should consult with your dentist and follow his directions. This information doesn’t replace medical advice in any way.

Benefits of Dental Flippers

Pros & Cons to Dental FlippersFlipper tooth can be pretty beneficial when compared to the other options out there.

  • Affordable when compared to other denture alternatives. A single tooth flipper is about 25% cheaper than a dental implant.
  • Easy to fabricate and can be created by your dentist quite quickly. Since they are easier to make, you get them in a day or two.
  • Require fewer visits to the dentist compared to a permanent partial denture.
  • Has the appearance of a natural tooth. It fits in the gap formed by missing teeth and gives you your smile back.
  • It prevents the surrounding teeth from shifting into the gap created by missing teeth and stabilizes your existing teeth.
  • Easy to wear, remove or replace.
  • Makes it easier to eat, chew or speak.

Drawbacks to Dental Flippers

While a dental flipper has many benefits, they also have a few drawbacks:

  • Flipper tooth is made of cheap materials and is hence less durable when compared to dentures.
  • Flippers can cause significant oral infections when not cleaned properly.
  • Can be uncomfortable and challenging to adjust to in the beginning. They can also cause pain in some patients.
  • Harmful to dental health if you do not clean them properly. You run the risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and gum recession.
  • Flipper tooth covers the gums and prevents the flow of saliva to the region. Without saliva, the gums may recede.
  • Even though the flipper tooth is molded to fit your existing teeth properly, it can loosen over the years.
  • The metal clasps holding the teeth can sometimes be challenging to hide, making it evident that you are missing one or more teeth.

How Do I Take Care of a Flipper Tooth?

Maintaining a flipper tooth is pretty straightforward if you stick with a regular maintenance schedule. You have to clean it every day just like you’d do with your retainer to remove plaque and food particles.

Avoid moving it around in your mouth with the tongue, as this can loosen the flipper. Furthermore, you may also want to avoid dark-colored food and beverages, like cranberry juice, coffee, beets, etc., to prevent staining.

Finally, ensure that you maintain your oral health diligently. The existing teeth and gums are healthy can reduce the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, tooth sensitivity, etc. Also, visit your dentist twice a year for checkups.

How Do I Remove My Dental Flipper?

Rinse your mouth with warm water or mouth rinse to loosen the flipper tooth. To remove it from the jaw, hold the tooth and disengage the clasps.

Next, firmly grasp the dental flipper teeth and pull them out. You can also wiggle it slightly to dislodge it but avoid twisting for any reason.

What’s the Best Way to Clean Dental Flippers?

You can clean your flipper tooth with a soft-bristle toothbrush, warm water, and mild soap or dishwashing liquid. Rinse thoroughly after washing it before popping it in your mouth. Do not use toothpaste to clean your flipper as it can damage the material.

How Do You Store a Dental Flipper?

Ensure that your flipper tooth doesn’t dry out when you are not using it. Doing so makes them brittle and prone to breaking. Moreover, it would be uncomfortable to wear. Instead, keep them moist by soaking them in a denture cleaner or water when you remove them. With water, make sure it is not too hot as it can cause the material to warp.

Is There an Alternative for Dental Flippers?

The flipper tooth is not your only option when it comes to missing one or more teeth. However, they are the cheapest of all.

Temporary Solution

Apart from flippers, there are more temporary solutions that last longer and are more economical than permanent solutions. However, all these are more expensive than a flipper tooth.

Fixed Partial Dentures – These are partial dentures that attach to the adjacent teeth. However, they are only viable if you have healthy remaining teeth, roots, or implants to attach the prosthetic tooth to.

Snap-on-Smile – They are customized partial dentures that fit right over your teeth and gums without covering the palate. They are painless, cosmetic, non-invasive, and easily removable.

Permanent Solution

There is no doubt about permanent solutions lasting longer than a flipper tooth. However, they are pretty expensive.

Dental Bridges: They are prosthetic teeth attached directly to the existing teeth with bonds, cement, and crowns.

Dental Implant: Dental implants are not anchored to adjacent teeth for support. They include a post surgically implanted in the jawbone that acts as the tooth root to hold the prosthetic tooth in place. Furthermore, they look and function like natural teeth.

How Much Does a Dental Flipper Cost?

A dental flipper is one of the most affordable false teeth options out there. Flipper teeth typically cost between $300-$500. However, the cost is dependent on the number of teeth you replace using the flipper and the materials used. Moreover, you may also incur additional charges for periodic adjustments and have the flipper tooth repaired.


A flipper tooth is a cost-effective, temporary prosthetic tooth replacement. It creates the appearance of a full smile, even if you’ve lost one or more teeth due to injury, removal, or decay. Oral surgeons also use them as a stop-gap measure until your gums heal enough for a permanent solution.

Once the wound caused by the missing teeth has healed, the dentist fixes permanent teeth options like a dental bridge or a fixed bridge. However, there are times where flipper dentures may be a permanent option. In such a case, the dentist may opt for a more reliable denture than a flipper.

Dr. Dalesandro Dentist LogoContact your dental professional to help determine if a dental flipper is the proper treatment for your situation. One of the best dentists in the Tucson area is Dr. Dalesandro, who has the experience you want to help you with dental flippers, dentures or any other dental prosthetic; call today for your next appointment.

How Common Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal DiseasePeriodontal disease affects about 20%-50% of the world’s population. And more predominantly among the older population in high-income countries. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease. It affects the gum tissue and bone supporting the teeth.

Sadly, this is a very common problem among adolescents and adults alike. Therefore, it must be treated with special care by a periodontist.

This article walks you through the prevalence of periodontal disease among different populations, symptoms, causes, and more.

Prevalence of Periodontal Disease in Adults in the United States

According to a recent CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) study, 47.2 % of U.S. adults have periodontitis, a more advanced form of periodontal disease. This means that 64.7 million Americans have periodontal disease. Half of those above 30 and above have severe periodontal disease. The same study states that prevalence rates increase to 70.1 percent among adults 65 years and older. These findings are based on the data collected as a part of the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

These findings suggest that more people have periodontal disease than previously thought. And there is a disparity among specific population groups. For example, at 56.4%, the disease is higher among men than women, 38.4%. In addition, the rate is highest among Mexican Americans at 66.7% when compared to other races. The other segments that see a high prevalence of periodontal disease include smokers, people living under the federal poverty level, and less education.

Is Periodontitis a Serious Disease?

Contrary to popular myth, periodontitis in adults is extremely common. It is a severe infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss and other health complications, including increasing one’s risk for oral cancer.

The bacteria causing periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream affecting other parts of the body. As the disease progresses, it can lead to rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory disease, heart disease, and diabetes.

Diagnosing Gum Disease

Firstly, periodontists rely on visual assessment to check the patient’s oral health. But, this visual method of diagnosing indicates only the presence of the disease. To assess the severity of periodontitis, you need to rely on more advanced diagnostic methods to determine Clinical Attachment Loss (CAL) or Radiographic Bone Loss (RBL). The periodontist then measures the pocket depth with a periodontal probe. A depth of 4mm indicates the presence of periodontal disease. Pockets deeper than 5 mm may indicate severe periodontitis and cannot be cleaned well.

New tests offer genetic and biological information to better determine the appropriate treatment regimen for each patient.

Can You Reverse Gum Disease?

Periodontal disease is broken into four stages:

  • Gingivitis
  • Slight Periodontal Disease
  • Moderate Periodontal Disease
  • Advanced Periodontal Disease (Periodontitis)

Of these, gingivitis is the only stage that can be reversed as the bacteria has not yet had time to attack the bones. However, once a patient reaches stage 2, the infection has already spread to the bones, possibly destroying them. At this stage, the disease is only manageable and not preventable.

Hence, it is vital to catch periodontal diseases early before they move on to peridontitis.

At What Age Do Most People Get Gum Disease?

The chance of periodontal disease increases as you grow older. That is why it is most commonly seen in older adults. For example, clinical attachment loss was significantly higher among adults of ages 60 to 69 years when compared with those aged 40-50 years.

Due to the slow nature of the disease, it can even develop early in life and can go undetected until the patient is older. Unfortunately, by this time, a great deal of damage would have happened.

Causes and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition that affects the tissues and bones surrounding the teeth. The early stage is called gingivitis. During this period the gums become red and swollen, a clear sign of bacterial infection. In the more severe cases, the gums pull away from the tooth. In chronic periodontitis i.e, the advanced stage, you may witness a loss of gum tissue and bones, resulting in the teeth falling off. The disease, however, progresses pretty slowly.

Common Causes of Periodontal DiseaseCauses

Periodontal disease is quite common but preventable. The prevalence of periodontitis can be attributed to poor oral health and hygiene. Generally, oral diseases like periodontal disease start with the development of plaque.

  • Sugars and starch in your food, together with the bacteria in your mouth, form a film called plaque.
  • The plaque hardens into tartar under your gumline. It is filled with bacteria and is difficult to move at this point. You need a dental cleaning to get rid of it.
  • Plaque causes gum disease or otherwise called gingivitis which is the inflammation of the gums. Good dental care and treatment can reverse the disease at this stage.
  • Ongoing gum inflammation leads to periodontitis, a form of severe periodontal disease. This causes pockets to form your teeth and gums. These eventually fill with plaque, tartar, and bacteria. If not treated, they can lead to loss of tissue and bone, with your teeth falling off.


The first thing to remember is that healthy gums generally are pink and fit snug around your teeth. So even though the signs of periodontal disease are pretty subtle, it is not entirely without any warning.

The symptoms of periodontal disease include:

  • Gum Inflammation
  • Red and Tender Gums
  • Pus Between Teeth and Gums
  • Spaces Developing Between Teeth
  • Bleeding Gums (Especially While Brushing and Flossing)
  • Halitosis (Chronic Bad Breath)
  • Change in Bite
  • Receding Gum Lines
  • Calculus (Plaque or Tartar Buildup)
  • Pain when Biting or Chewing
  • Loose Teeth or Loss of Teeth
  • Foul Taste in the Mouth
  • Inflammatory Response

Risk Factors

Research shows that gum disease is associated with other systemic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Several factors increase the risk of periodontal diseases. The risk factors can be both modifiable and non-modifiable.

Modifiable Risk Factors

  • Smoking & Tobacco Use – Smoking is of the leading factors for periodontal disease. Furthermore, it also affects oral microbial flora. Smokers are three times more likely to have severe periodontal disease than non-smokers. They also have more chances of tooth loss, alveolar bone loss, and poor outcomes of all forms of treatments. Moreover, nicotine can directly or indirectly cause periodontal tissue breakdown. Smokers with periodontal disease can develop cancerous lesions in the future.
  • Poor Oral Hygiene – Poor dental health aids bacterial deposition and build-up of dental plaque, leading to inflammation in periodontal tissues. Due to this, there is a high prevalence and increased severity of periodontal disease.
  • Hormonal Changes in Females – The increased progesterone during mensuration and ovulation disrupts the repair of collagen fiber and causes the blood vessels to dilate. Similarly, pregnant women also show signs of gingivitis. Finally, estrogen deficiency also reduces bone density leading to bone loss.
  • Diabetes MellitusDiabetes mellitus can play a significant role in the initiation and progression of periodontal disease. It is also associated with periodontal ligament destruction leading to loss of teeth.
  • Medications – Medicines like tricyclic antidepressants, atropine, antihistamine, and beta-blockers can reduce saliva flow. This leaves the patient vulnerable to periodontal disease.
  • Stress – Stress reduces the flow of salivary secretions, which leads to increased dental plaque formation. People under stress can have poor oral hygiene. Furthermore, depressed individuals can have a higher cortisol concentration in the gingival crevicular fluid. And hence may respond poorly to treatment.

Non-Modifiable Risk Factors

Age – Older adults have increases chances of periodontal disease than other age groups.

Heredity – Genetics, along with environmental and demographical determinants, increase the threat of periodontal disease among different racial and ethnic populations.

Can You Stop Periodontitis?

Severe periodontal disease is called Periodontitis. At this point, it starts damaging the bone and is not reversible. However, your periodontist can treat and stop the progression of the disease. Gingivitis and mild cases require non-surgical treatment by a general dentist. However, moderate and severe periodontitis requires a surgical intervention to save as many teeth as possible.

Prevent Periodontal Disease - Stop SmokingWith proper treatment and good oral health practices, periodontitis is manageable.

  • Brush twice a day, for at least 2 minutes every time.
  • Floss once a day.
  • Stop smoking and tobacco use.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Limit acidic and sugary foods.
  • Regular dental cleanings and exams can help spot the disease early.


According to World Health Organization (WHO), developing countries have a high prevalence of calculus and bleeding gums among adolescents. 35% to 70% of those in developing countries have calculus deposits, while 4% to 34% in the developed nations.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently working with organizations such as the American Academy of Periodontology and the American Dental Association to improve the surveillance of periodontal disease in the adult U.S. population. In addition to that, state and local authorities should implement oral health policies to reduce the burden of disease and improve the quality of life of people.

Furthermore, the American Academy of Periodontology recommends a comprehensive periodontal evaluation every year. Your dentist can perform it at your bi-annual check-up.

One of the best dentists in the Tucson area is Dr. Dalesandro, who has the experience you want to help you with gum disease or any other dental problems; call today for your next appointment.

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