The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an oral rehabilitation by removable partial denture (RPD). Between 1983 and 1994, 629 patients were provided with an RPD at the Dental School of the Université catholique de Louvain. All the RPDs were constructed with a cobalt-chromium framework. All the treatments were provided by dental students under the supervision of clinical instructors. At recall time (1998-2000), 269 patients could not be reached neither by telephone nor by mail and 27 had died. Consequently, 333 patients were called for clinical examination and 254 of these (76.3%) actually attended. For a total of 292 RPDs fitted for these 254 patients, 218 (74.7%) were still being worn at the time of the check-up. Seventy-four dentures were considered to be 'failures', either because they were replaced by another RPD or by a complete denture, or because they had actually never been worn. The statistical analysis (Mantel-Haenszel and Kaplan-Meier) shows that the number of failures is significantly higher at the lower jaw compared with the upper jaw. Most of the failures are attributable to RPDs with free-end saddles and, in particular, to class I mandibular dentures. The patients are wearing their denture(s) mostly continuously (63.6%) and award a high degree of satisfaction to their denture. In general, the results recorded may be considered as very satisfactory, all the more so as we have no regular recall procedures established at our school and as check-up asked for spontaneously by the patients in the course of the period of observation are most of the time occasional or non-existent.