With the rise of dental implants, many patients are electing to have teeth extracted rather than spending time and money on a losing battle. Since implants can take months to heal before a crown is placed, there is now a question on what to do with the missing spaces in the meantime. While you can elect to leave these areas open in the interim, this is not an option when the implant is placed in the smile zone. For these situations, you may be made a flipper- or temporary denture.
Flippers are also known as stay plates or temporary partial dentures. They are made of a hard, pink acrylic resin that supports the prosthetic teeth. They may also have a series of metal clasps that hold the frame firmly in place. Flippers differ from permanent dentures primarily in the way they rest on the teeth and gums. Partial dentures are fitted to the mouth so that the teeth serve as the primary supporting structures. If the gums have to be utilized in holding the denture, very specific areas are used, as to not cause any lasting damage. In contrast, flippers rest entirely on the gums and soft tissues. Over time, the constant pressure on gums can cause the underlying bone to resorb or irritate the periodontal tissues. With this in mind, they are inappropriate as permanent appliances. However, they can be a great interim solution in implant placement.
Flippers are created by a dental laboratory and take about two weeks to complete. They typically blend seamlessly with the natural tissues and aren't noticeable as "denture teeth." If you would like to know more about flippers and how they can be a part of your implant treatment, please give our office a call!