How do I care for my dental flipper?

I recently received a flipper for a tooth I lost. A couple of questions, no one at my current dentist office explained anything about it, how do I store it? clean it? can I eat and drink with it? will I talk funny with it as long as I have it? and most importantly how do I know if it is fit correctly?? Thank you for all your help.
Melanie from Connecticut

Melanie,
Usually a flipper is made as a temporary tooth replacement while you are getting something more permanent made. But sometimes it is provided as a budget solution for missing teeth. If you are going to use it more long-term, you need to exercise some care to prolong its life.

Storage: You can store the flipper in a little plastic case similar to what dentists give patients for bleaching trays or orthodontic retainers. I would ask your dentist if he or she has some of these on hand, and, if not, if they can get you one maybe from an orthodontist or by ordering from a dental supply company. If that’s a problem, I think you can find something like that at a drug store.

Cleaning: You can clean it by simply brushing it. If you want to get more fancy, you can get denture cleaning tablets or powders which you would use in a glass or in your storage container.

Fit: Will you talk funny? You shouldn’t. It should snap into place and feel comfortable, secure,¬†and unobtrusive. If it doesn’t, check with your dentist for an adjustment. It shouldn’t get in the way of your normal bite or move around while you’re talking.

Flippers aren’t made to be strong enough to eat on, though some people try eating things. You can get away with that if the food is soft. But if you do that, excuse yourself immediately to a rest room, take the flipper out, and rinse it off and rinse your mouth. If you don’t, over not too much time you will get cavities in all those places where the flipper snaps against your teeth. Do this right away. If you wait 20 minutes, the damage has begun.

This blog sponsored by California implant dentist Dr. Robert Thein

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