A few days ago I wrote about part one of my front tooth implant experience, which involved extracting the fractured tooth and bone grafting. Today I have moved on to part 2, getting my “flipper” tooth. To my knowledge it’s more common than not that one would get a flipper on the same day as the extraction and bone grafting, however as noted previously my flipper was not ready on the day of my appointment and I opted to continue as planned rather than reschedule.
So what exactly is a flipper? A flipper is a lightweight, removable denture that is used as a temporary replacement while waiting for the gums and bone to heal and become strong enough to support an implant. They are primarily made of acrylic resin and the false teeth from plastic or porcelain. There are also some oral health benefits in addition to the obvious aesthetic improvement, such as helping to diminish bone loss, minimizing teeth shifting, and protecting the site of the extracted tooth to aid in healing. In addition, they can also improve one’s ability to bite or chew food while awaiting an implant [source: HowStuffWorks].
Getting the flipper placed was painless due to the molding done a few weeks earlier. The dentist made some precautionary adjustments to the flipper where he thought it might irritate my gums based on how it fit. There is no metal in my flipper, it’s held in place by plastic molding which wraps around the adjacent teeth on either side. I have not worn it a lot yet as the dentist told me to minimize the use during this first week while my gums are still healing from the extraction to help avoid bacteria, but so far I am happy with it and optimistic that it won’t take too long to adjust to this new lifestyle. It was, however, very strange going shopping for denture cleaner at the store today.
Here are some pictures from today:
With the flipper in place: