Designing cobalt chromium removable partial dentures for patients with shortened dental arches: a pilot survey

M Z Nassani, H Devlin, B Tarakji, J F McCord
Journal of Oral Rehabilitation 2011, 38 (8): 608-14
The aim of this survey was to investigate the quality of prescription for the fabrication of cobalt chromium removable partial dentures (RPDs) that are used to extend the shortened dental arches (SDAs). A survey of four commercial dental laboratories located in northern England was conducted. The target of this survey was cobalt chromium RPDs that were requested to restore SDAs comprising the anterior teeth and 2-4 premolars. Dentists' prescriptions were scrutinised, and a special data collection form was completed accordingly. A total of 94 dentists' prescriptions and associated SDA casts were examined. Almost all the requested cobalt chromium RPDs were clasp-retained RPDs (97%). Scrutinising the 91 prescriptions for clasp-retained cobalt chromium RPDs showed that dentists' prescriptions did not have any instructions about the design of the partial denture in a considerable proportion of the cases (32%). Teeth to be clasped were identified clearly in 45% of the prescriptions. A majority of the dentists (64%) failed to provide any instructions about the design of the rests to be placed on the most posterior premolar abutment teeth. A considerable proportion of the dentists delegated the task of selecting the type of the major connector to the dental technician (41%). Only 21 (23%) of the examined casts had clearly defined rest seat preparation. The outcome of this pilot survey shows inadequate quality of prescription in designing RPDs for patients with SDAs. This finding has an ethical and clinical bearing and does not fit with current legal guidelines relevant to designing RPDs.

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