Denture Care: How To Take Care Of Your Flipper

22 January 2016
 Categories: Dentist, Articles

If your dentist has recently fitted you with an acrylic partial denture, also known informally as a flipper, then you may have questions about the proper care of this device. Below is how you can take care of your flipper so it performs as designed, lasts for its intended lifespan, and doesn't cause any dental or oral health problems:

What is a dental flipper?

A flipper is a removable appliance designed to be used on a temporary basis for patients undergoing some type of restorative dental procedure, such as implants. Flippers are deliberately made lightweight and are not designed for permanent wear. However, proper care is important because they can be easily broken, and replacement costs can be up to five hundred dollars. In addition, as with any dental appliance that can be removed from a patient's mouth, a poorly-cleaned flipper can lead to decay in your natural teeth, gingivitis, and other related diseases.

Fortunately, taking good care of your flipper isn't difficult or expensive. It merely entails using the right supplies and self-discipline to protect your flipper and oral health.

Supplies you will need

  • Denture cleaning tablets - Any brand-name effervescent tablet should be effective, but be sure it is safe for use with acrylic oral appliances before using.

  • Chlorhexidine rinse - This product is available by prescription from your dentist or pharmacy and can also be used as a mouthwash. However, adhere to your dentist's instructions if you wish to use it as an oral rinse.

  • Denture case - A hard plastic case or container provides the best protection for your flipper should you need to remove it temporarily.

  • Firm-bristle toothbrush - While you should use soft toothbrushes on your natural teeth to avoid damaging your enamel, a firmer brush will work better for cleaning your flipper.

Your daily and weekly care routine

  1. Remove your flipper while eating if approved by your dentist - Flippers are primarily designed to maintain your smile and are important for aesthetic reasons. However, while some flippers are capable of being worn during eating, it is usually preferable to remove your flipper to avoid damaging it and to lessen the amount of food buildup on the appliance. Store the flipper in a hard plastic case while eating to prevent accidentally tossing it out or damaging it. If you do decide to eat with the flipper, avoid eating hard foods such as nuts, ice, steak, popcorn, hard candies and excessively-sticky items.

  2. Clean your flipper daily by brushing - Just because your flipper is not a natural part of your mouth doesn't mean it should be ignored. Instead, you should perform a thorough brushing of your flipper at least once per day to remove any bits of food or oily residue. To brush your flipper, hold it under warm running water and scrub it using a firm-bristled toothbrush. Be sure to scrub deep into crevices and around any other areas where food might accumulate, but be cautious not to apply too much pressure on thin areas. If you wear your flipper while eating, you should brush and rinse it after every meal whenever possible.

  3. Soak your flipper overnight in denture cleanser - Your flipper should be removed while you sleep to prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying between it and your oral tissues. However, never allow your flipper to dry out since that can cause weakening of the material. Instead, place your flipper in a clean drinking glass or bowl full of water and place a single denture cleaning tablet into the container. This will scour any missed particles of food and also kill microorganisms on the appliance.

  4. Clean your flipper with chlorhexidine once per week - To kill all potentially-harmful bacteria and yeast organisms that can cause oral stomatitis, soak your flipper overnight in a solution of fifty percent chlorhexidine and fifty percent distilled water. However, avoid soaking the flipper more often than that to avoid staining the acrylic.