May 18

Are Dental Flippers Necessary When Child Actors Lose Teeth?

Dental Flippers by Dr. Smith

Dental Flippers by Dr. Smith

If your child loses a tooth, a talent agent or talent manager might recommend that you look into dental flippers.

Of course, if you are just trying to start an acting career for your child, you may not even know what dental flippers are.

As we were driving from South Carolina to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career for my daughter, I heard a scream from the back seat.  I turned to see what the problem was and saw blood on my daughter’s hands and face.

I was relieved to discover that the blood was just from my daughter’s front tooth!

One of her front baby teeth popped out when she bit down on a piece of gum. The tooth had not even been loose, so it was unexpected and resulted in a lot of blood.

I soon started to think about how losing her front tooth might affect her acting career.

I knew it was probably not a good thing, but how bad was it?

It seemed silly to be worrying about a natural event like losing a tooth. But a front tooth can make a big difference in how a child looks, especially in photographs.

My daughter was young-looking and fairly small for a six-year-old, but with a missing front tooth, how could she pass for a three or four-year-old?

How would her manager feel about it?

When we first visited my daughter’s talent manager, he noticed the missing tooth right away.  I asked him if it would be a problem.

He seemed a little disappointed, but told me not to worry about it.  He casually mentioned that a flipper would fix it, but that I did not need to spend the money on one unless the topic came up.

Losing a tooth is pretty common for a six-year-old, though some kids don’t lose them until they turn seven or eight.

Would a missing tooth affect my daughter’s ability to get a talent agent?

Since my daughter got a talent agency without any problem with the missing tooth, I did not think much more about it.

But when we visited someone about print work, the agent pointed to her mouth with a loud sigh and whispered to the other agent about it.

At that point, I decided to look into dental flippers. I soon had the information I needed, and off we went to get one.

So, “Are dental flippers necessary when child actors lose teeth?

There are a mixture of opinions on the topic of dental flippers.  The general consensus seems to be that they are not really necessary for children who lose their baby teeth.

So, what is a dental flipper?

A dental flipper is a plastic and metal device that holds one or more fake teeth and fits into a child’s mouth so as to make it look like the child is not missing any teeth.

Many show business industry professionals will tell you that you don’t need to get a flipper for your child if they lose a [baby] tooth.

However, the fact remains that many parents do get dental flippers for their child actors.

If your child has a flipper, the missing tooth just is not an issue at all.

While many people find the ‘jack-o-lantern‘ grin of a young child who has lost baby  teeth quite endearing, at the same time it is typically not what is most desirable in show business.

Does this mean that your child won’t get a job with a missing front tooth? No.  And sometimes advertisers are even looking for a child with a missing tooth.

Does it mean that your child will have a harder time getting a job?  Maybe. Maybe not.

If an advertiser wants a beautiful child with a beautiful grin, the missing tooth could be an issue.  If your child has more of a “charactery” look, it is probably less of an issue.

For film and tv, a missing tooth is rarely a problem, unless the child is supposed to be beautiful in a pageant sort of way or perhaps if the child is supposed to be three or four years old.

If the casting director, director, and producers love your child for a role, it is probably not going to be a problem at all!  And if it is, it is possible the production company will even get a flipper for your child.

So the answer to this is really no, but you can cover all the bases and get a dental flipper if you want to and have the funds to pay for it.

If your child wears a dental flipper into an audition, make sure to inform the casting director about the missing tooth/teeth just in case they want the toothless look.

Your child can also go in to auditions without the flipper, but make sure to let the casting director know that the child has a flipper in case it is an issue. You can note this on the paper work you fill out at the audition.

So, where do you go to get dental flippers?

The expert on dental flippers is Dr. Robert Smith who works primarily from an office in Hollywood (though he also has an office in Woodland Hills).  You can view Dr. Smith’s pictures and information on dental flippers to help you get a better understanding of exactly what they look like and how they work.

Many other dentists are now offering dental flippers, so you can certainly call and check around in your area.  And you can ask other parents of child actors to see if they have recommendations other than Dr. Smith.

Make sure the dentist really knows what a flipper is and that they are in the business of creating dental flippers for kids. You don’t want to be the first one to get one from them.

It is very important that dental flippers fit correctly, or a child won’t be able to talk properly or without having it fall out. It is also important that the flipper can be adjusted to accommodate the growth of permanent teeth and the loss of additional teeth.

At the time our dental flipper was purchased, the cost was $350.  The cost is now probably higher, so you need to ask the dentist.  This cost included several adjustments for proper fitting as the permanent teeth came in.

Additional teeth can be added to a flipper for an additional charge (though much less than the initial charge). When finding out what the cost will be for a flipper, be sure to ask about the cost for adjustments and adding additional teeth. And make sure that the dentist can add extra teeth if necessary.

For more information related to your child and a show business career, be sure to subscribe to Your Young Actor’s Newsletter.


Debbie Sikkema

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  1. Sean@Atlanta Cosmetic Dentistry

    A dental flipper, now that’s not something I have ever heard of… that’s pretty neat. I never thought about that before (what would happen if a child actor lost their tooth).

  2. Debbie Sikkema

    Yes, and since you are in Atlanta, there are quite a few child actors around who may just need one!

  3. JaneRadriges

    The article is usefull for me. I’ll be coming back to your blog.

  4. Orlando Family Dentistry

    Yeah, dental flippers are an interesting subject. I’ve actually heard of them in some of the local pageants around here.

  5. g

    Yes, definitely dental flippers are necessary when teeth is lost. There is no other way if you loose your teeth 🙄

  6. Blane@Whitening Pen

    I would tend to think it depends on the acting work, but would anticipate that the gigs that find it to be endearing would be the exception.

  7. Debbie Sikkema

    Because “real” is the trend in today’s television and film casting, missing teeth are a normal and real part of life. So, it really can be OK to have a missing tooth or teeth if that is normal for the age of the child. Still, you are right, the preference in many cases is to have a full set of beautiful teeth, particularly in commercials. It also depends on the role — if you are playing the beautiful leading lady (girl) or the handsome leading man (boy), missing, crooked, and yellow teeth are typically not desirable. But for a character actor (to play the villain, the bully, the homeless or abused child) a missing tooth or teeth could be a PLUS. For a cute six- or seven-year-old child, a missing tooth might be appropriate and even desirable. But for a child of 6 trying to portray a three- or four-year-old, a missing tooth would probably NOT be a good thing.

  8. Mary@Web Marketing Services

    Thanks. Now I know what to do with my daughter’s situation 🙂

  9. Tiffany Grace

    It is very interesting. Very much I like it

  10. jessica @ tips for quick weight loss

    Thanks for the useful post. I look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  11. richard@get white teeth

    You are right. Dental flippers are surely needed if anyone lost their teeth. And you have a wonderful blog. Thanks for this useful and informative article.

  12. Chandler Dentistry

    Nice idea!I’m sure parents out there who wish an acting for their young ones would love this post.I’ll take note of this too, who knows my future baby will be an actor someday.

  13. Mark @ teeth whitening cost

    I never thought children missing teeth by normal means could be a problem before but I can well understand it could be a problem if they are involved in television or movies. Very interesting to say the least and the article was very informative. Many thanks, Mark.

  14. heather@dental assistant training

    I do not think that they are necessary for child actors it takes away from the natural cuteness look of a child.

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  16. Maureen@Shawnessy Dentists

    I’d say yes – if you want your kids in “A level” acting, you want them to look as good as possible.

    Thank you for this post! it was a pleasure to read!

  17. dental handpiece repair

    Love the post. Does this mean that your child won’t get a job with a missing front tooth?

  18. BGT@Beginners Golf Tips

    It’s normal for kids to lose their front teeth, just like the way we experienced it before. I don’t think it’d be a big problem even if he is a child actor. But if you can afford to buy dental flippers, why not? As long as it’s affordable and comfortable for your child. :mrgreen:

  19. Chad Wilson

    It is a very good idea. Buying a dental flippers to hide a missing front tooth while waiting another one to appear.
    .-= Chad Wilson´s last blog ..Use Of Professional Teeth Whitening Products =-.

  20. Teeth Whitener Reviews

    I think dental flippers are necessary, because they help children!

  21. Dave @ Wisdom Teeth Provo

    At six years old I would think a talent agency would love an actor with a missing tooth. At that age it is cute, and six year olds are losing teeth all the time.

  22. waqas@flights to australia

    Yes i Think it is quite necessary.anyhow i found this post quite informative.I hope you will share something more useful stuff.

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    Very nice blog i am regular visitor of this blog.thank you very much for nice post.

  24. Lilly@ Dentist West Los Angeles

    Thanks for the info! I had never even heard of a dental flipper.

  25. Manny @ Best Toothpaste to Whiten Teeth

    Who knew actors had to deal with this stuff?

  26. Matt Peters

    That is an interesting thing that I never thought of before. Dentistry has really progressed to help you have the smile that you want no matter the circumstance.


    Hi youryoungactor.com Admin

    Hrmm that was weird, my comment got eaten. Anyway I wanted to say that it’s nice to know that someone else also mentioned this as I had trouble finding the same info elsewhere. This was the first place that told me the answer. Thanks.

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  31. Janis@Subnet calculator

    Definitely could have helped me when I lost my front tooth.

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  33. Ginger Sanders

    Thanks so much for the post. I don’t want to get my son a flipper, I think that he should be proud of who he is and how he’s growing. Luckily, his Salt Lake City dentist, our talent agent, this article, and my son all agree with me. I love my son’s gap-toothed grin, and so will the casting agencies.

  34. Debbie Sikkema

    Hi Ginger,
    Yes, kids really are adorable with their teeth missing. It is a shame that sometimes in the entertainment industry, they don’t want the snaggle-tooth grin, though in many cases, it is not a problem. Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog!

  1. Will Braces Interfere with the Career of Your Child Actor? | Your Young Actor

    […] I previously discussed another removable dental appliance called a flipper that is common in children pursuing a career in show business (See “Are Dental Flippers Necessary When Child Actors Lose Teeth?“) […]

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