A flipper in dentistry is a slang term for partial denture. It is made of a thin pink (gum colored) acrylic material and it has a fake tooth/teeth on it. It is worn in the mouth and taken care of just like a removable partial denture.
A flipper is used to temporarily replace one or two extracted teeth during the healing phase of the surgery. It is also sometimes used during the healing phase from dental implant surgery. The reasons the flipper are worn ... 1) To keep the space open where the tooth was extracted so the teeth on either side do not close it in... and 2) For esthetics if the missing tooth was in the smile line and for chewing purposes if the missing tooth was in the back of the mouth.
Depending on the individual, flippers can made with reinforcement wire making them more durable so they can be worn for longer periods of time. For instance, if someone had their upper front tooth extracted and they were not going to replace it with an implant or bridge, rather than go without a tooth, they could possibly wear a reinforced flipper instead.
Sometimes, depending on the individuals diet and lifestyle, they may be able to wear a flipper appliance indefinitely or until it wore down and needed to be replaced by a new one.
Every case is a little bit different and it all depends on what the patient chooses as a replacement option for the tooth/teeth that were removed.
I hope this information is helpful. If you feel comfortable sharing your story here, there are others who could probably relate to it..... sometimes that can make the unknown a little bit easier ;-)
Originally Posted by MsBees
Could you please tell me what a flipper is? I've heard this term used before and think I may be headed in that direction.