Tag Archives: dental flipper

Dentist Insisting I Get a Dental Implant

I recently lost a tooth. That is stressful enough but my dentist is insisting I get a dental implant. It isn’t that I don’t want one. I just honestly can’t afford one. They are way out of my budget. He’s insisting it is the only good option. Is that true? If so, do I just have to leave a gaping hole in my smile?


Dear Kelly,

It really galls me when dentists give ultimatums like this or make patients feel like they don’t care about their teeth just because they do not go into debt for a treatment.

I’m going to tell you right away that you will probably be better served by going with a different dentist. You want one who follows his ethical obligation to give you all the options available to you. Not everyone can do the ideal treatment.

While it is true that a dental implant is currently the best tooth replacement option, there are other choices.

The next best option would be a dental bridge. This suspends a false tooth between two dental crowns. That means the adjacent teeth will have to be crowned, but it is a permanently attached solution.

The next option is a removable partial denture. This will have a false tooth and use clips to attach it to your adjacent teeth. As the name suggests they are removable, so they won’t be as steady as a dental bridge, but will suffice.

The cheapest option is a dental flipper, but this is only meant as a temporary option while you save up for a better replacement.

I am going to suggest you do an internet search for an affordable dentist and go to them to get your replacement. Most dentists who promote themselves as affordable try to keep their fees reasonable and also offer some type of payment plan.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Dental Flipper for a Toddler

My son, who is 3 years old fell and lost his two front teeth as a result. I spoke with my pediatric dentist about getting him a dental flipper and he refused. I looked online for the do it yourself kind, but they only make those for adults. What would you recommend for me to get him a flipper? I am worried about his teeth shifting.


Dear Morgan,

young boy smiling with toothbrush

I wish your pediatric dentist would have explained things rather than just refuse. Parents are always better off knowing the reasoning behind the recommendations and decisions their child’s caregiver is putting forth.

Reasons Children Can’t Have a Dental Flipper

You noticed that there were only DIY flippers for adults. That is because it is dangerous for children to use a Dental Flipper.

First, they are removable. Just as we are careful with the size of toys we let our children play with, we try to do the same thing with any type of removable device. Otherwise, it is a choking hazard.

Second, they are removable. No, I didn’t make a mistake typing that twice. It is a rare toddler or even older child who will keep in an orthotic device. It is much more likely it will be removed and lost in a short period of time.

Third, they stay in by clasping onto other teeth. Your son’s jaws and teeth are in a constant state of growth right now. This means he will outgrow the flipper quickly and often.

The Really Good News

I know you are worried about your son’s teeth shifting which can lead to overcrowding of his adult teeth. That shows you pay attention to your son’s dental health. The good news is, with his front teeth that won’t be an issue.

When we talk about the importance of tooth retention in children, it is with their baby molars. This is because the adult molars don’t come in until the child is around 12-years-old. In that amount of time and given the placement, the teeth will shift.

If it ever happens that a child of yours does need to have a molar removed, getting a space maintainer will be important.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Is my child too young for a flipper?

My three year old daughter lost her two front teeth after she experienced a nasty fall on our front sidewalk. We recently moved to a new community and were testing the waters with a new dentist. When we visited with him about her losing her front teeth, I asked about flippers, or some form of cosmetic teeth. The dentist rudely informed me that she was too young for a flipper and and will not cooperate for that sort of procedure. Do you agree? I assume a procedure like this wouldn’t be covered by our medical coverage, and the kits which can be purchased online are all made for adults. I am just concerned about future repercussions of this and taking any more time than we already have to address the issue. Thank you for your input!

Dear Mary,
How awful that your young daughter experienced such a fall! It is also unfortunate that the dentist you visited gave you such a response. Nonetheless, he is correct. It would be nearly impossible for a child the age of your daughter to understand the importance of complying with a procedure for a flipper. In addition, there are other issues to consider for a child of this age.

Issues With Young Child Receiving a Flipper

Safety is a major concern. Just as it is hazardous to allow young children to play with small toys, or toys with small parts that have the potential to come loose and cause them to choke, something like a flipper has the potential to also come loose and is also a choking hazard.

Functionality is also a consideration. Metal clips or plastic parts clip or press against the other teeth in order to hold a flipper in place. Because a child’s mouth and teeth are constantly developing and changing at this age, it would be impossible for an appliance such as this to stay in place for any lengthy period of time.

Positive Points to Consider with Premature Loss of Front Teeth

Fortunately, there are some positive points to consider in this situation. To start with, your daughter’s baby teeth won’t move because of missing front teeth. When baby teeth change position, it is a result of missing back teeth lost too early. When this is the case, a space maintainer is often a necessity. A second consideration is that, at this age, children are not self-conscious about missing teeth. Children of all ages are missing teeth, either because they haven’t grown in yet, or because they have lost their baby teeth and their permanents have yet to grow in. Therefore, it is quite common to see a child without all of his or her teeth.

Overall, this is not an issue to worry about.

This post was brought to you by Phoenix pediatric dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck.

Dentist Suggesting Implants for Child?

My son had several failed root canal treatments on a tooth damaged in an accident. He’s going to lose the tooth and I was looking into replacement options. My dentist suggested dental implants were the best tooth replacement. My son’s only ten-years-old so I’m not too keen on the idea of another surgery for him after an extraction. Couldn’t I do something like a dental bridge instead?


Dear Abigail,

A woman and her dentist smiling

I’m a little concerned here. Are you certain your dentist understood this procedure was for your ten-year-old son? While a dental implant is a fantastic replacement option for an adult, children are absolutely NOT candidates for dental implants. They can’t get them. Their jaws are still growing and developing. The implants stay fixed and will not grow and shift with their jaw the way their natural teeth will.

The standard procedure is to get a temporary tooth replacement until the child’s development is completed and then switch it out for a dental implant when his body is ready.

What’s the Right Temporary Replacement for a Child’s Tooth?

What about your suggestion of a dental bridge? You’re correct that it wouldn’t require surgery. However, it does require your dentist to grind down your son’s two healthy adjacent teeth. I’d hate for him to lose tooth structure unnecessarily. This wouldn’t be a temporary solution. A dental bridge is a permanent restoration, though it will likely have to be replaced many times over the years as he grows.

dental flipper
A Dental Flipper

Ideally, you’d want an inexpensive solution which won’t affect any of his other teeth while he finishes growing. In that case, I’d recommend a dental flipper. It’s a respectable restoration. His friends won’t know it’s fake unless he thinks it’s cool and shows them. Yes, it is removable and he could lose it. But, truthfully, you could purchase several dental flippers for the cost of one bridge. If your son does misplace one, it could be a good lesson in responsibility where he has to mow neighborhood lawns to pay back the money he owes you for the replacement.

Then, when he’s stopped growing, you can take him to a skilled implant dentist. If your dentist actually was suggesting a dental implant for a ten-year-old, it means your dentist is incompetent. Following through with his advice would have put your son at great risk. You need to find a new dentist—double quick.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentists Drs. Kevin and Hillary Peck.

What the Real Reason My Toddler Can’t Get a Dental Flipper?

My son lost a tooth prematurely. He’s only three and it’s a front tooth. I’ve been told children’s teeth shift if the spaces are left open. I asked my pediatric dentist to provide him with a dental flipper. Instead, the dentist started shouting. He said it was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard. No child can sit still for a flipper. I’m not only offended, I’m sure with sedation it could be done. Unless you give me a better reason, I’m going to a different dentist.

Marilyn H. – Michigan


I’m sorry your dentist was rude. That’s not a great way to build trust with patients, especially when you’re talking about their child’s dental health. While I’m sure you could work with sedation, the pediatric dentist is right, a dental flipper is a bad idea. Here’s why.

1. A child’s mouth is constantly growing. The flipper won’t fit for long. You’d have to keep making a new one.
2. It’s a choking hazard. Flippers are removable appliances. Even if he didn’t pull at it, which is highly unlikely, it could just slip out and he’ll partially swallow it.

I have some great news for you, though. The only teeth where you have to worry about shifting are the back teeth. In those cases, we’d place a space maintainer to prevent the shifting. Also, your child’s age means he won’t be self-conscious about the tooth loss. In fact, he might be proud he’s the first among his friends to lose a baby teeth.

You didn’t mention how he lost his tooth. If it was due to trauma, it might be a good idea to have the adult tooth checked for damage. In the unlikely event the adult tooth is damaged, don’t panic. There are plenty of options for his adult tooth. Dentistry has developed tremendously. Even if he completely lost the adult tooth (and again, unlikely, so don’t panic), we now have dental implants that mimic having a natural tooth exactly, even down to the tooth root.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.

I can’t afford a dental implant

I have a problem and I don’t know what to do. I am having a tooth extracted. My dentist says I have to get a dental implant. However, between the surgery and the restoration, I just can’t afford it. What do I do? I don’t want to leave an empty space in my mouth.

Yvette L. – Maryland


What your dentist is doing is unethical.  He is supposed to give you all your options, not just insist on the ideal treatment. Everybody is on a different budget.

There are other more affordable dental options for your situation. If you can’t afford a dental implant, maybe you can afford a dental bridge or a removable partial denture. If even those are out of your reach, you could get a dental flipper. They are meant to be temporary, but it can fill in if you’re in a pinch and need to save up for a more permanent solution.

I hope this helps.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Kevin Peck.