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.