Purpose: This study comprehensively reviewed the current status of the digital workflow of removable partial dentures (RPDs) and summarized information about the fabrication methods and material properties of the dental framework, artificial teeth, and denture base.
Study selection: We performed a systematic review of the literature published in online databases from January 1980 to April 2020 regarding RPD fabrication and materials used in the related digital technology. We selected eligible articles, retrieved information regarding digital RPDs, and conducted qualitative/quantitative analyses. In this paper, the computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) framework, artificial teeth, and denture base materials are reported.
Results: A variety of materials, such as cobalt-chromium alloy, titanium, zirconia, and polyether ether ketone, are used for dental CAD/CAM frameworks. The mechanical strength of the metal materials used for the CAD/CAM framework was superior to that of the cast framework. However, the fitness and surface roughness of the framework and clasp fabricated using a selective laser melting (SLM) method were not superior to those obtained via cast fabrication. Most material properties and the surface roughness of poly methyl methacrylate (PMMA) discs used for digital RPDs were superior to those of heat-cured PMMA.
Conclusion: The use of a CAD/CAM framework and PMMA disc for digital RPDs offers numerous advantages over conventional RPDs. However, technical challenges regarding the accuracy and durability of adhesion between the framework and denture base remain to be solved. In digital fabrication, human technical factors influence the quality of the framework.
Keywords: Artificial teeth; CAD/CAM framework; Denture base resin; Digital dentistry; Removable partial denture.