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J Oral Rehabil. 2010 Feb;37(2):143-56. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2842.2009.02039.x. Epub 2009 Dec 10.

The future of complete dentures in oral rehabilitation. A critical review.

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  • 1Department of Prosthetic Dentistry, Institute of Odontology, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden.


Based on available investigations and current trends in oral rehabilitation published in the dental literature, an attempt is made to describe the possible future role of complete dentures. For edentulous patients, complete dentures have for long been the only prosthodontic treatment option. Whereas a large number of edentulous patients report satisfaction with denture usage, a smaller number are unable to adapt; for such patients, sophistication of clinical and technical processes or quality of denture-supporting tissues, appear to have little influence on patient-perceived outcomes. Since the 1980s, osseointegrated dental implants have dramatically improved the therapeutic possibilities, especially so for maladaptive patients. Those able to access such treatment can expect significant improvements in oral functional status and quality of life. While there is a downward trend in edentulism in several countries, it is region-specific, confirming the overriding influence of socio-economic factors on health status. In most societies, despite ageing populations, the need for complete dentures is not likely to reduce in the near future. Whereas a two- or even a one-implant overdenture for the edentulous mandible is increasingly regarded as a minimum standard of care in many developed countries, its routine prescription for the majority in the world who are disadvantaged is unrealistic; for them, even 'low-tech' therapies like conventional dentures are beyond their reach. Improving the conventional management of edentulous patients is a necessity and requires a keener focus by researchers, educators and clinicians in the developed world on the needs of populations with fewer resources.

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