Cast Partial Denture: An Underutilized Armament Of Dentist’s Arsenal

 

Farhan Raza Khan                          BDS, MS, MCPS, FCPS

 

In last two decades, dental institutions in most part of the world have witnessed a major shift in their curriculum. From a restorative driven dental education, it has become a preventive one.1 This has resulted in more hours of teaching reserved for oral hygiene, sealants, fluorides and preventive aspects of dentistry. Undoubtedly, the potential benefits of such education and training is pivotal in managing the burden of disease in given communities. However, the downside of prevention focused dentistry is that the skill-intensive discipline of dentistry is gradually losing its strong base. The inculcation of right procedural skills in the budding dentists somehow suffers.

The greatest victim of the aforementioned evolution is the discipline of removable prosthodontics. The factor that has made removable prosthodontics further lose its ground is the rise of dental Implantology. The predictable results offered by Implantology along with its promise of offering fixed solution for missing teeth in a variety of clinical situations has attracted both patients and clinicians alike. Exploring the situation further reveals that it’s not the complete denture prosthetics that has suffered but the cast partial dentures that have been most adversely affected. In other words, the cast partial prosthodontics is heading to become a dying disciple in the dental institutions of Pakistan.

If cast partial dentures are not properly taught in the dental schools then it’s expected that this remarkable modality of treatment will remain underutilized by the dentists in their practical life.2 It’s imperative to understand that neither all patients with missing teeth are suitable candidate of fixed prosthodontics (also known as crown & bridge work) nor can they afford implant dentistry. In this backdrop, the cast partial dentures have their definite

Received: September 28 2015, Accepted: September 30 2015

place in most of the dental rehabilitation treatment plans.

With ever increasing population of Pakistan and an improving life expectancy; the need of removable prosthodontics service is expected to rise in future. Our dental academicians would agree that didactic and clinical teaching of cast partials to the future generation of dentists is essential but what are the measures that can be taken to revive cast partial prosthetics in academic dentistry? The answer to this question is lies in adopting the following measures:

  1. Establishment of casting laboratories in dentalcolleges and ensure that they function.
  2. Recruitment and retention of prosthodontics facultyin teaching institutions
  3. Reserving adequate patient contact hours forstudents to develop skills, knowledge and judgment required for teaching and practicing removable prosthodontics.
  4. Dental schools to set a minimum number of castpartial dentures made by the student as an eligibility requirement to appear in the professional examination.
  5. Lastly, having competent laboratory techniciansemployed at dental schools to support prosthodontics department should not be overlooked.

It’s important for dentists in their formative years to learn the professional communication, cooperation and respect with their laboratory personals. It’s only with a team approach; a successful dental practice is made possible.

REFERENCES

  1. Petropoulos VC, Rashedi B. Removable Partial DentureEducation in U.S. Dental Schools. J Prosth. 2006; 15: 62–68.
  2. Institute of Medicine: Dental Education at theCrossroads: Challenges and Change. Washington, DC, National Academy, 1995.

 

1. Assist Prof. & Program Director Operative Dentistry Aga Khan University Karachi, 74800 Pakistan

Corresponding author: “Dr Farhan Raza Khan ”  < farhan.raza@aku.edu   >