Improvements in oral health including increased retention of natural teeth have given rise to a partially dentate older population. Replacement of missing natural teeth is important to improve function, aesthetics and quality of life for this patient group. A variety of options are available to replace missing teeth in partially dentate older adults, including fixed, removable and implant retained prostheses. This article will discuss the provision of removable partial dentures including treatment planning and denture design. When planning removable partial dentures, careful attention must be paid to stabilising the patient prior to delivering any prosthesis. Partial dentures should be designed to minimise the potential for plaque accumulation with carefully designed metal based frameworks. Acrylic resin can also be utilised with attention to detail to minimise the risk of damage to delicate supporting tissues. Removable dentures have the advantage that they can be readily added to in the event of further tooth loss which may be particularly relevant for older adults. Partial dentures which optimise support, retention and stability can function very successfully and significantly improve patients' oral health related quality of life.
Keywords: Denture; denture retention; denture stability; hygienic design; quality of life; tooth support; tooth surface loss; treatment planning.