A systematic review of digital removable partial dentures. Part I: Clinical evidence, digital impression, and maxillomandibular relationship record

J Prosthodont Res. 2022 Jan 11;66(1):40-52. doi: 10.2186/jpr.JPR_D_20_00116. Epub 2021 Jan 26.


Purpose: This study comprehensively reviewed the current status of digital workflows in fabricating removable partial dentures (RPDs) using evidence from clinical trials and case reports.

Study selection: We performed a systematic review of the literature on the materials and fabrication of RPDs using digital technologies published in online databases from 1980 to 2020. We selected eligible articles from the search results, retrieved information on digital RPDs from these, and conducted a qualitative analysis. We report evidence from clinical papers and case reports, digital impression-taking methods, and maxillomandibular relationship (MMR) records.

Results: A case report electronically published in 2019 introduced a clasp-retained RPD fabricated via a full-digital workflow without a gypsum definitive cast. Computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing of double-crown-retained RPDs with nonmetal materials were described in some case reports. Intraoral scanners were used to obtain digital impressions and MMR records in the fabrication of digital RPDs, which have potential advantages for reducing the number of clinical appointments and simplifying laboratory procedures. Evidence from clinical trials is scarce; a randomized controlled trial reported higher patient satisfaction with digital clasp-retained RPDs than with conventional RPDs.

Conclusions: Full-digital RPDs can be fabricated without a gypsum definitive cast. However, the indication for full-digital RPDs is limited to cases with Kennedy Class III/IV partially edentulous arches with several missing teeth. Challenges in digital impression-taking and MMR recording remain to be solved to extend these indications. More evidence from clinical trials is required to evaluate the efficacy and usefulness of digital RPDs.

Keywords: CAD/CAM; Digital dentistry; Impression; Intraoral scanner; Maxillomandibular relationship record; Removable partial denture.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Computer-Aided Design
  • Denture, Partial, Removable*
  • Humans
  • Mouth, Edentulous*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic