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Definition: The relationship between the biologic behavior of oral structures and
the physical influence of an R P D.

Bio ------ pertaining to living systems-----inflammation, Caries, b.


Mechanical ----- related to forces and its application to object-----

looseness of teeth , bon resorption……etc

Mechanics may be classified into two general categories: Simple & complex.

Complex machines are combination of many simple machines.

There are six simple machines

1 - lever 4-screw

2 - inclined plane 5 –wheel

3 – wedge 6 – axle & pulley

A removable partial denture in the mouth can perform the action of two simple
LEVER : The lever is a rigid bar supported at some point along it is length.

There are three types of lever:

Classification is based on location of fulcrum (support), resistance, and

direction of effort (force).

The first type: the fulcrum (F) is in center of the bar, resistance (R) is at one and the
force (E) is at opposite end (called cantilever).

A cantilever: It is a beam supported only at one end, when force is directed against
unsupported end of beam cantilever can act as first class lever.

The second-class lever: the fulcrum at one end, the force at opposite end & the
resistance in center. This type is seen as indirect retention in R P D.

The third class lever: the fulcrum t one end & the resistance at opposite end & the
force in the center. This type is not encountered in R P D. (e.g. tweezers)

Mechanical advantage = Effort arm / Resistance arm

The length of fulcrum to resistance is called Resistance arm, while the length of
lever from fulcrum to the point of application of force is called Effort arm.


Every effort should be done to avoid class I lever (cantilever). To avoid this
cantilever (lever class I) we can made either lever class II or using stress release
direct retainer.

a) Lever class II

Where the fulcrum at one end, the force at opposite

end & the resistance in center. This type called equipoise
force system.{see direct retainer}

In this class, the occlusal rest (F) located mesially,

while the retentive tip (R) positioned distally, and the saddle
(E) located distal to the retentive tip i.e. the (R) located in
between the (F) & (E).

b) Stress release direct retainer

In general, if stress release is desirable, a mesial rest with a mesial

undercut or distal rest with distal undercut should be used. A clasp with distal rest
and a wrought wire clasp arm engaging the mesial undercut is the exception.
This can explain the difference between location of rest and retentive tip
mesially in gingivally approaching clasp as (McCr), and distally location as (Stew).
The both authors depending on the concept of stress release.
Inclined plane
Inclined plane is nothing but two inclined surfaces in close alignment to
one another. The direct retainers and the minor connectors slide along the guide
plane of the teeth and can act as inclined planes if no prepared correctly.
When a force is applied against an inclined plane it may produce two
 Deflection of the object, which is applying the force (Denture).
 Movement of the inclined plane itself (tooth) .These results should
be prevented to avoid damage to the abutment teeth.


nature of the supporting tissues)
A. TOOTH BORNE (tooth supported or dentoalveolar supported).
1. Abutment teeth border all edentulous areas where tooth replacement
is planned.
2. Functional forces are transmitted through abutment teeth to bone.
B. TOOTH - MUCOSA BORNE (tooth and mucosa supported, den to-
alveolar and muco-osseous supported or extension base ).
1. Exhibits one or more edentulous areas which are not bordered by
abutment teeth (extension base RPDs).
2. forces are transmitted through abutment and mucosa to bone.
3. The majority of these are distal extension RPDs.
4. This category may apply to tooth bordered situations when excessive
abutment tooth mobility is present or when long span tooth bordered
edentulous areas are present precluding primarily tooth support.
C. MUCOSA BORNE. (muco-osseous supported)
1. Regardless of the natural teeth present, support is derived entirely
from the mucoosseous segment.
2. This category includes prostheses fabricated from hard or
combinations of resilient and hard denture base materials such as
stayplates which function as interim or transitional prostheses.
3. These prostheses usually do not contain a metal framework and
usually should not be considered definitive treatment.
1. Structurally sound.
2. Anatomically favorable.
a. Root surface area. d. Presence of divergent
b. Root morphology. roots.
c. Presence of multiple e. Crown to root ratio.
roots. f. Axial inclination.
1. Normal (absence of periodontal disease).
a. Gingival indices within normal limits.
b. Absence of increasing mobility or hyper mobility.
2. Anatomically favorable.
a. orrnal epithelial and connective tissue attachment.
b.Adequate zone of attached gingiva.
1. Favorable bone index.
2. Anatomically normal.
a. Bone height. mineralization.
b. Degree of c. Presence of lamina dura.


1. Normal.
2. Keratinized.
3. Firmly bound.
1. Normal sub mucosa serves as an "hydraulic cushion".
2. Firmly bound and dense.
1. Cortical bone.
2. Favorable bone index.
3. Presence of muscle attachments which direct tension to bone (or the
equivalent in terms of resistance to pressure induced resorption).

1. Horizontal hard palate.
a. Keratinized mucosa.
b. Presence of fatty (anterior) and glandular (posterior) submucosa
(excluding midline suture).
c. Cortical bone.
2. Posterior ridge crest.
a. Keratinized mucosa.
a. Presence of dense firmly bound submucosal connective tissue
which may contribute to clinically observed resistance to pressure
induced resorption.

Maxillary primary (10) supporting areas are the horizontal hard palate

and posterior ridge crest.

The periphery of the denture bearing area is non-contributory (N/C).

The midline suture often requires relief (R)

and the anterior ridge crest serves as a secondary (2°) supporting area.

1. Buccal shelf. A primary force bearing area which is comprised of
cortical bone. It extends from the base of residual ridge in the poste-
rior part of the mandible to the external oblique ridge.
a. Presence of submucosa.
b. Cortical bone.
a. Buccinator muscle attachment. The longitudinally directed fibers
apply tension to the underlying bone but do not dislodge the
denture base during contraction.
2. Pear-shaped pad. The most distal extension of keratinized tissue
covering the ridge crest. It is formed by the scarring pattern
following the extraction of the most distal mandibular molar. It
should be differentiated from the m~e posterior retromolar pad
during clinical examination.
a. Keratinized mucosa.
a. Presence of dense firmly bound submucosa.
a. Medial tendon of the temporalis muscle inserts lingually in the
area of the apices of the mandibular third molars and applies
tension to the underlying bone.
Mandibular primary (10) supporting areas are
the buccal shelf and pear-shaped pad.
The anterior facial incline of the ridge is non-contributory (N/C).
The lingual ridge inclines may require relief (R)
and the genial tubercle area
and ridge crest serve as secondary (2") supporting areas.
Stresses acting on a partial denture are transmitted to the teeth, and
tissues of the residual ridges. The stresses, which tend to move the denture in
different directions, may be summarized as follows:
1- Masticatory stresses.
2- Gravity tends to displace a maxillary denture downwards.
3- Sticky food tends to pull the denture occlusally away from the tissues.
4- Muscle pull and tongue action tend to displace a denture from its
5- Intercuspation of teeth may tend to produce horizontal and rotational
stresses unless the occlusion is balanced.


The Supporting structures for removable partial are structurally adapted

to receive and absorb forces within their physiological tolerance. The ability of
these structures to tolerate forces is largely dependent upon the magnitude, the
duration and the direction of these forces in addition to the frequency of force

The magnitude of forces acting on partial dentures depends on age and

sex of the patient, the power of the muscles of mastication and the type of
opposing occlusion.

Natural teeth are better able to tolerate vertical directing forces acting
on them. This is because more periodontal fibers are activated to resist the
application of vertical forces. On the other hand, lateral forces are potentially
destructive to both teeth and bone. Lateral forces should be minimized in order
to be within the physiologic tolerance of the supporting structures.
I- Vertical forces
A) Tissue-ward movements B) Tissue-away movements
II- Horizontal forces:
A) Lateral movements B) Antero-posterior movements.
III- Rotational forces:
They are due to the variation in compressibility of supporting structures,
absence of distal abutment at one end or more ends of denture bases, and /or
absence of occlusal rests or clasps at any end of the bases.
1-Rotation of the anterior and posterior extension denture base around
coronal (transverse) fulcrum axis:
A) Rotation of the denture base towards the ridge around the fulcrum axis
joining the two main occlusal rests:
B) Rotation of the denture base away from the ridge around the fulcrum axis
joining the retentive tips of the clasps.
2-Rotation of all bases around a longitudinal axis parallel to the crest of the
residual ridge (Buccolingual or labiolingual).
3-Rotation about an imaginary perpendicular axis, this axis either near the
center of the dental arch in class I, or is the long axis of abutment tooth in class
II partial denture.

I- Tissue-ward movements
a) Tissue-ward forces are, “Vertical forces acting in gingival direction
tending to move the denture towards the tissues”.

They occur during mastication, swallowing and aimless tooth contact.

Biting forces falling on artificial teeth are transmitted to the soft tissues and
bone underlying the denture base.

b) The partial denture should be designed to resist this movement by

providing adequate supporting components. This function of the partial denture
is called “Support”.

Support is the function of partial denture which prevents movement of

the denture towards the tissues.

Support is mainly provided by:

a) Properly designed supporting rests placed in rest seats, which are
prepared on the abutment teeth,

b) Broad accurately fitting denture bases in distal extension partial

dentures. Therefore, the entire available ridge posterior to the abutment
teeth must be covered with the denture.

c) Rigid major connectors that are neither relieved from the tissues nor
placed on inclined planes also provide support.

d) Rigid portion of clasps placed over the survey line

II- Tissue-away movements

a) Tissue-away dislodging forces are, "Vertical forces acting in an
occlusal direction tending to displace and lift the denture from its position”.

Tissue-away forces occur due to: The action of muscles acting along
the periphery of the denture, gravity acting on upper dentures or by sticky food
adhering to the artificial teeth or to the denture base.

b) The partial denture should be designed to resist this movement by

providing adequate Retention.

Retention is “The function of partial denture which prevents the

denture from being displaced in an occlusal direction (away from the tissues)".

Retention in partial dentures is mainly provided by: {see direct retainer for

a- physical forces which arise from coverage of the mucosa by the denture.

b- Physiologic factors: Patient’s muscular control acting through the polished

surface of the denture.

c- Mechanical means such as clasps which engage undercuts on the tooth


In order to retain the denture, the anticipated intensity of occlusally

displacing force exerted during function should be less than the force
required for retaining the denture.
3) Horizontal movements:
A) Lateral movements

a) Lateral forces are “Horizontal forces developed when the mandible

moves from side to side during function while the teeth are in contact”.

Lateral movements have a destructive effect on teeth leading to tilting,

breakdown of the periodontal ligament and looseness of abutment teeth. The
application of lateral forces causes areas of compression of the periodontal
membrane, which leads to bone resorption. Hence lateral forces play a major
role in bone resorption,

b) Partial dentures should be designed to prevent the deleterious effects

of lateral forces by using stabilizing or bracing components.

Bracing is "The function of partial denture which resists lateral

movement of the appliance".

Stabilizing components are "Rigid components of the partial denture that

assist in resisting horizontal movement of the denture". They help in
distributing lateral stresses to all supporting teeth:

1. Bracing clasp arms placed at or above the survey line of the tooth.

2. Minor connectors in contact with axial (vertical) surfaces of abutment


3. Proximal plates.

4. Adequate extension of the flanges of the denture helps to stabilize the

prosthesis against horizontal forces.

5. Rigid portions of clasps.

6. Lingual plates.
7. Rests - When the walls of the rest seat are relatively parallel to the path
of placement (e.g. channel rests).

The magnitude of lateral forces could also be minimized by:

1. Reducing cusp angles of artificial teeth.

2. Providing balanced occlusal contacts free of lateral

The removable partial denture being anchored to both sides of one arch and
joined by a rigid major connector can provide cross arch stabilization to forces
acting in bucco-lingual direction.

B) Antero-posterior movements

a) Antero-posterior forces are "Horizontal forces which occur during

forward and-backward movement of the mandible while the teeth are in
contact". This may result in movement of the denture.

There is natural tendency for the upper denture to move forward and for
the lower to move backward.

b) Partial dentures should be designed to prevent the deleterious effects

of antero-posterior forces by

Forward movement of the upper denture could be resisted by:

1. Anterior natural teeth.

2. Palatal slope.

3. Maxillary tuberosity.

4. The natural teeth bounding the edentulous space.

The backward movement of the lower denture could be resisted by:

1. The slope of the retromolar pad.

2. The natural teeth bounding the saddle area.

3. Proximal plates.

VI- Rotational movements:

a)Rotational forces are “Forces acting on the partial denture either in
vertical or horizontal direction causing rotation (torque) of the denture base
around an axis.

In tooth supported removable partial dentures, the abutment teeth on

both sides of the edentulous area provide adequate support and resistance to
rotational forces through supporting rests and clasps placed on them.
In distal extension partial denture when vertical forces are applied the
difference in displaceability of the supporting structures often results in rotation
of the partial denture around a fulcrum axis and application of torque on
abutment teeth.

Rotational movements must be counteracted in the partial denture

design to minimize their destructive effect on both, teeth and the residual ridge.

Rotational forces acting on distal extension partial denture may result

in three possible rotational movements these are

I- Rotation of the denture base around the fulcrum axis (Torque).

II- Rotation about a longitudinal axis formed by the crest of the residual ridge
(Tipping movement).

III- Rotation about an imaginary perpendicular axis near the center of the
dental arch (Fish tail movement).

I-Rotation of the denture base around fulcrum axis joining the principal

Movement of the component parts of the denture lying on the opposite

side of the fulcrum axis occur in a direction opposite to that of the applied
force. This leads to rotation of the denture:

The fulcrum axis is an “imaginary line passing through teeth and

component parts of the partial denture around which the distal extension partial
denture rotates when a vertical force is applied”.

More than one fulcrum lines may identified for the same removable partial
denture depending on the direction and location for force application.

(a) Rotation of the denture base towards the ridge:

This movement results from occlusal stresses occurring during

mastication and occlusion of teeth. The free extension denture base moves
tissue-ward while other components on the opposite side of the fulcrum line
moves away from the tissues. This result in rotation of the denture about a
diagonal supportive fulcrum line joining two occlusal rests on the most
posterior abutments on either side of the dental arch

Tissue ward movement of the base could be limited by supporting

structures, which are:

1. Supportive form of the residual ridge,

2. Accurate and properly extended bases.

3. Artificial teeth set on the anterior two third of the base

Flexible clasps are preferred over rigid clasping to reduce stresses and
torque applied on abutments. If the clasps are rigid, the abutments tend to rotate
distally during tissue ward movement of the denture base resulting in
periodontal breakdown and looseness of teeth.

(B) Rotation of the denture base away from the ridge.

This movement occurs due to the pulling effect of forces applied by

sticky food, gravity on upper dentures and the elastic rebound of soft tissues
covering the edentulous areas.

Tissue-away rotation of denture base is counteracted by:

1- Indirect Retainers: which are the components of partial denture located

on the side of the fulcrum axis opposite to the distal extension base.

2- The retentive tip of the clasp arm.

3- Adequate coverage and extension of the base (direct indirect retention )

4- Effect of gravity on mandibular bases.

II-Rotation around a longitudinal axis formed by the crest of the residual

ridge (Tipping movement)

This rotation occurs due to application of vertical forces on one side of

the arch only. It causes twisting of the denture base.

This movement is counteracted by:

1- Cross arch stabilization (The action of clasps on the opposite side of the

2- Broad base coverage.

3- Proper placement of artificial teeth (teeth on the ridge or lingualized


4- Narrow teeth bucco-lingually.

5- The effect of rigid major connectors.

III- Rotation around an imaginary perpendicular axis near the center of

the dental arch
Application of horizontal or off-vertical force results in rotation around
an imaginary vertical axis located either about the axis of abutment in class II
or near the center of the dental arch, lingual to anterior teeth in class I.

It results due to the application of masticatory forces falling on distal

extension bases causing buccolingual movement of the base. This rotation is
called fishtail movement.

This movement is counteracted by :

1- Providing adequate bracing components in the partial denture.

2- A rigid major connector.

3- Broad base coverage.

4- Balanced contact between upper and lower teeth.

Forces accruing through a removable restoration can be widely

distributed, directed, and minimized by the selection, the design, and the
location of components of removable partial dentures and by developing a
harmonious occlusion.

Force Cause of the Force Counteraction of the force Function

I- Vertical Forces : Functional movements - Rests placed on abutments in - Support
1- Tissue-ward displacing during mastication, bounded saddles.
forces. swallowing and - Rests & proper base coverage in
occlusion of upper and free end bases.
lower teeth. - Maxillary connectors
2- Occlusally displacing Pulling effect of sticky - Retainers. - Retention
forces. food Gravity on upper - Adhesion & cohesion between
dentures. Muscles acting denture base & tissues
on periphery of denture
II- Horizontal Forces Side to side movement of - Rigid bracing clasp arms. - Bracing
1- Lateral forces. the mandible while teeth - Major connectors. (Stabilization
are in contact. - Balanced occlusion.
- Maximum extension of the flanges
2- Antero-posterior forces Forward and backward - Abutments adjacent to the denture. -
movement of mandible - Guiding planes. Stabilization
while teeth are in contact

III- Rotational forces : - Functional movements - Supporting rests. - Support

1- Vertical forces in gingival while teeth are in - Properly adapted bases.
direction in free-end saddles. occlusion. .

2- Vertical forces in occlusal - Sticky food, gravity on - Indirect retainers. -Indirect

direction in free-end saddles. upper dentures, elastic - Direct retainers. retention.
rebound of tissues under
the base.

Factors affecting stress generation and transfer

1- Length of span: - the longer edentulous span, the greater force will be
transmitted to the abutment. so the Posterior teeth should be preserved
as far as possible to reduce the length of the edentulous span

2- Quality of the supporting tissues:

 Form of the residual ridges: large well developed ridges, absorb

more amount of force than small, thin ridge.

 Type of mucosal covering : atrophic and flabby mucosa are not


3- Quality of clasp: - the more flexible clasp arm, the less force transmitted
to the abutment.
4- Clasp design: - a passive clasp when it is completely seated on the
abutment teeth will exert less stress on the tooth than the non passive.
A clasp should be designed so that the reciprocal arm contacts the
tooth before the retentive tip passes over the greatest bulge of the tooth
during insertion and it should be the last component to lose tooth
contact during removal of the prosthesis.
5- Length of the clasp.
Doubling the length increases the flexibility by five times. This
decreases the stress on the abutment tooth. Using a curved rather than a
straight clasp on an abutment tooth will aid to increase the clasp length
6- Material used in clasp construction
A clasp constructed of chrome alloy will exert more stress on
the abutment tooth than a gold clasp because of its greater rigidity. To
decrease the stress, the chrome alloy clasps are constructed with a
smaller diameter.
7- Abutment tooth surface: - the surface of a gold crown or restoration
offers more functional resistance to clasp arm movement than does of
enamel surface of a tooth therefore greater stress is exerted on the

8- Occlusal relationship of the remaining teeth and orientation of the

occlusal plane.
 Type of the opposing occlusion
 Harmony of the occlusion should be present.
 Improper occlusal relationship and a steep occlusal plane tend to
increase the amount of force acting on the denture. The force
applied on natural teeth is 300 pounds and the force acting on
artificial teeth is about 30 pounds. Poor occlusal relationship can
lead to supra-eruption of the opposing natural teeth.
9- Musculature of the patient.

10- Response of oral structures to previous stress. The periodontal

condition of the remaining teeth, need for splinting and the amount of
abutment support remaining are all a result of the previous stress
subjected on the oral tissues.
The forces directed to the supporting tissues will be partially absorbed
and partially transmitted to adjacent tissues.

The percentage of force absorbed or transmitted will vary depending

upon which tissue is involved.

Bone is the tissue which ultimately absorbs the greatest amount of the
force applied to both the muco-osseous and dento-alveolar segments.



a. Structurally sound vital teeth are capable of withstanding normal functional


b. Excessive forces may result in adverse effects.

 Structural failure (tooth fracture).

 Tooth movement.

 Pulpal irritation. Reversible pulpitis (hyperemia) or irreversible pulpitis,

c. Structurally compromised teeth may fail in response to normal functional


 Teeth with large intracoronal restorations.

 Endodontically treated teeth.


including gingiva, crevicular epithelium, junctional epithelium,

connective tissue attachment, cementum, periodontal ligament and alveolar

a. A normal periodontium permits some force absorption without damaging


b. Excessive forces may increase the width of the periodontal ligament and
result in increased tooth mobility.
c. Plaque induced inflammation may compromise the periodontium. It can lead
to apical migration of the crevicular epithelial attachment (functional
epithelium) and destruction of the fibroblasts and connective tissue of the
connective tissue attachment. In the presence of inflammation normal
functional forces may accelerate the rate of periodontal attachment loss.

3.Alveolar bone.

a. Pressure - tension theory. Bone tends to resorb in response to compressive

force and to be stimulated by tensional force. In order to preserve remaining
alveolar bone, it is important that functional forces be transmitted to bone
primarily as tension rather than pressure whenever possible.

In tooth borne situations the majority of functional forces are transmitted

as tension to bone through proper rest design and rest seat preparation. In tooth-
mucosa borne situations some of the vertical seating forces are transmitted as
tension to the bone through the rests. Horizontal forces are transmitted as a
combination of compressive and tensional forces to the alveolar bone (e.g.
those forces directed through bracing clasps, proximal plates and minor
connectors contacting proximal tooth surfaces and guiding planes). Vertical
displacing forces are transmitted to the bone as both compressive and tensional
forces (e.g. sticky foods or retentive clasps engaging undercuts).

b.Bone index or Bone factor. The response of bone to pressure varies in terms
of the rate of resorption depending on genetic, nutritional, hormonal and
biochemical and other intrinsic factors. The bone index is determined by
analyzing the previous response of bone to force.

c. Cortical vs. cancellous bone. Cortical bone is more dense, more highly
mineralized, less cellular, and less metabolically active. It tends to be more
resistant to pressure induced resorption than cancellous bone. Lamina dura is
cortical bone.

d. Excessive forces which increase compressive components of forces

transmitted to bone may increase the rate of bone resorption.

e. Periodontal disease. The presence of plaque induced periodontal disease is

associated with a loss of bone height. Moderate forces may accelerate the
disease process resulting in further bone loss, less bone support, and increased
mobility of the teeth.


a.Normal. firmly bound, keratinized tissues withstand mechanical forces within

physiologic limits.

b. Excessive mechanical forces may cause mucosal ulceration (e.g. denture

sore spots).


a. Provides an "hydraulic cushion" effect.

b. Increased thickness of the submucosa improves tolerance of the residual

ridge to applied forces.


a. Pressure-tension theory. The functional loading of a tooth-mucosa borne

denture base transmits force to the bone of the rnuco-oss ous segment almost
exclusively as pressure which tends to cause resorptive changes. Resorption
occurs in proportion to the intensity, duration, and direction of the applied force
and as influenced by the bone factor. With some longer span tooth borne partial
dentures or when excessive mobility of abutment teeth is present some force
may also be delivered through the mucosa to the underlying bone as pressure.

b. Bone index. The bone index of the alveolar bone surrounding natural teeth
may differ from that of the bone comprising the residual ridges. (Fig. 3-6)

c. Cortical vs. cancellous bone. The residual ridge crest is comprised mainly of
cancellous bone and is less resistant to resorption. The facial and lingual
inclines of the residual ridges are comprised of cortical bone and are more
resistant to remodelling. The rate of cancellous bone resorption has been
described as being approximately three times that of cortical bone.

d.Excessive forces may increase the rate of bone resorption.

e. Moderate forces may result in accelerated bone resorption when intrinsic

factors, local abnormalities or systemic disorders compromise the bone index
of the individual.

The reaction of tissue to coverage by the metallic components of a

removable partial denture has been the subject of significant controversy,
particularly in regions of marginal gingiva and broad areas of tissue contact.

These tissue reactions can result from

1) Pressure from lack of support,

2) lack of adequate hygiene measures,

3) prolonged contact through continual use of a prosthesis.

Pressure occurs at regions where relief over gingival crossings and

other areas of contact with tissue that are incapable of supporting the prosthesis
is inadequate. Impingement will likewise occur if the denture settles because of
loss of tooth and/or tissue support. This may be caused by failure of the rest
areas as a result of improper design, caries involvement, fracture of the rest
itself, or intrusion of abutment teeth under occlusal loading. It is important to
maintain adequate relief and support from both teeth and tissue. Settling of the
denture because of loss of tissue support may also produce pressure elsewhere
in the arch, such as beneath major connectors. Settling of a prosthesis must be
prevented or corrected if it has occurred. Excessive pressure must be avoided
whenever oral tissue must be covered or crossed by elements of the partial

Lack of adequate hygiene measures can result in tissue reactions

because of an accumulation of food debris and bacteria. Coverage of oral tissue
with partial dentures that are not kept clean irritates those tissue because of an
accumulation of irritating factors. This has led to a misinterpretation of the
effect of tissue coverage by prosthetic restorations. An additional hygiene
concern relates to the problem of maintaining cleanliness of the tissue surface
of the prosthesis.

The first two causes of untoward tissue reaction can be accentuated the
longer a prosthesis is worn. It is apparent that mucous membranes cannot
tolerate this constant contact with a prosthesis without resulting in
inflammation and breakdown of the epithelial barrier. Some patients become so
accustomed to wearing a removable restoration that they neglect to remove it
often enough to give the tissue any respite from constant contact. This is
frequently true when anterior teeth are replaced by the partial denture and the
individual does not allow the prosthesis to be out of the mouth at any time
except in the privacy of the bathroom during tooth brushing. Living tissue
should not be covered all the time or changes in those tissue will occur. Partial
dentures should be removed for several hours each day so that the effects of
tissue contact can subside and the tissue can return to a normal state.

Clinical experience with the use of linguoplates and complete metallic

palatal coverage has shown conclusively that when factors of pressure,
cleanliness, and time are controlled, tissue coverage is not in itself detrimental
to the health of oral tissue.

Controlling Stress by Design Considerations

1- Direct Retention :

1. Clasp
The retentive clasp arm is the element of RPD that is responsible for
transmitting most of destructive forces to the abutment teeth. A RPD should
always be designed to keep clasp retention to a minimum yet provide
adequate retention to prevent dislodgment of the denture by unseating
forces. It should also be remembered that the retentive clasp should be
designed such that it is active only during insertion and removal.

2. Forces of adhesion and cohesion

To secure the maximum possible retention through the use of forces of
adhesion, the denture base should cover the maximum area of available
support and must be accurately adapted to the underlying mucosa.

3. Frictional control
The RPD should be designed so that guide planes are created on as many
teeth as possible. Guide planes are areas on teeth that are parallel to the path
of insertion and removal of the denture. The plane may be created on the
enamel surfaces of the teeth or restorations placed on teeth. The friction of
RPD against parallel surfaces can contribute significantly to retention of the

4. Neuro-muscular control
The design and contour of the denture base can greatly affect the ability of
lips, checks and tongue to retain the prosthesis. Any over-extension of the
denture base either facially, lingually in the mandible or posteriorly onto the
soft palate will contribute to the loss of retention and the abutment teeth
bearing the direct retainers will be over stressed.
5. Clasp Position
a- Quadrilateral configuration

Four abutments are utilized for clasping. Quadrilateral configuration is

indicated in Class III particularly when there is a modification space on the
opposite side of the arch. A retentive clasp should be positioned on each
abutment adjacent the edentulous space. This result in denture being
confined within the outline of four clasps

b- Tripod Configuration
Tripod clasping is used primarily for class II arches. If there is a modification
space on the edentulous side the teeth anterior and posterior to the space are
clasped. If a modification space is not present. One clasp on the edentulous
side of the arch should be positioned as far posterior as possible and the
other, as far anterior as factors such as interocclusal space, retentive
undercut, and esthetic considerations will permit. By separating the two
abutments on the tooth-supported sides as far as possible, the largest possible
area of the denture will be enclosed in the triangles formed by the clasps.

c- Bilateral configuration

Most RPD with bilateral distal extension group in class I fall into bilateral
configuration. In the bilateral configuration the clasp exert little neutralizing
effect on the leverage induced stresses generated by the denture base. These
stresses must be controlled by other means.

6. Clasp design :
a- Circumferential clasp :
The conventional circumferential cast clasp originating from a distal occlusal
rest on the terminal abutment tooth and engaging a mesio-buccal retentive
undercut should not be used on a distal extension RPD. The terminal of this
clasp reacts to movement of the denture base toward the tissue by placing a
distal tipping, or torquing, force on the abutment teeth. This particular force is
the most destructive force a retentive clasp can exert. This clasping concept
must be avoided.

On the other hand if the circumferential clasp with mesial occlusal rest
approaches a disto-buccal undercut form the mesial surface of the abutment,
is acceptable. The effect on the abutment is reversed from that of the
conventional clasp. As the occlusal load is applied to the denture base, the
retentive terminal moves further gingivally into the undercut area and loses
contact with the abutment teeth. In this manner torque is not transmitted to
the abutment tooth.

b- Vertical projection or Bar clasp :

The vertical projection clasp, or bar clasp is used on the terminal abutment
tooth on a distal extension RPD when the retentive undercut is located on the
disto-buccal surface. As the denture base is loaded toward the tissue, the
retentive tip of the clasp rotates gingivally to release the stress being
transmitted to the abutment tooth.

c- Combination clasp :

When a mesio-buccal undercut exist on abutment tooth adjacent to a distal

extension edentulous ridge, the combination clasp can be employed to reduce
the stress transmitted to the abutment tooth. wrought alloy wire, by virtue of
its internal structure, is more flexible than a cast clasp. It can flex in any plane,
whereas a cast clasp flexes in the horizontal plane only. The wrought wire
retentive arm has a stress-breaking action that can absorb torsional stress in
both vertical and horizontal planes.

Flexible clasps produce the least stress and rigid cast circumferential clasps
produce the maximum stress in an abutment.

2- Indirect Retention

The indirect retention is essential in the design of class I and II RPD, by

using the mechanical advantages of leverage; it counteracts the forces
attempting to move the denture base away from the residual ridge by moving
the fulcrum farther from the force.

In class I prosthesis, the fulcrum line would be moved from the tips of
the retentive clasp to the most anteriorly located component, the indirect
retainer. Because the indirect retainer resists lifting forces at the end of a long
lever arm, it must positioned in a definite rest seat so that the transmitted
forces are diverted apically through the long axis of abutment tooth. The
indirect retainer also contributes to a lesser degree, to the support and
stability of the denture.

Class I : indirect retainer must always used.

Class II: it is not as critical as in class I but still required. Modification space
can provide indirect retention. A definitive occlusal rest seat anterior may
increase the effectiveness of indirect retention.

Class III : indirect retention is not ordinarily required except in :

- long lingual bar major connector to provide additional vertical support.

- Lingual plate major connector.
Class IV : is considered reverse of class I and II. The lever arm is anterior to the
fulcrum line, so the indirect retainer must be located as far posterior as
possible. Occlusal rests and clasp assemblies are placed on the most posterior
teeth for both direct retention and support.

3- Occlusion

The occlusal surfaces, or food table, of artificial teeth can transmit

various amounts of stress to the supporting structures. A large or broad
occlusal surface deliver more stress than does one that has been reduced in
bucco-lingual width. The number of teeth replaced may also be reduced to
decrease stress. Harmonious occlusion should be developed.

4- Denture Base

The denture base should be designed to cover as extensive an area of

supporting tissue as possible. The stress created by the partial denture in
function will thus be distributed over a large area, so no single area will be
subjected to stress beyond its physiologic limit. The denture base flange
should be made as long as possible to help stabilize the denture against
horizontal movements.

The distal extension denture base must always extend onto the
retromolar pad area in the mandible and cover the entire tuberosity of the
maxilla. Both structures are capable of absorbing more stress than alveolar
ridge anterior to them.

The type of impression used to record the residual ridge will influence
the amount of stress the residual ridge can effectively absorb. Several
techniques are used to make functional impression of the residual ridge. Each
technique is based on the theory that if the ridge were recorded in its
functional state rather than its resting form, when the denture base is actually
subjected to occlusal loading, the tissue would not displaced to any great
stint. The magnitude of stress transmitted to the abutment teeth, therefore,
would be minimal.

Denture base should be accurate and stable. The polished surface

should have the proper form and contour.

5- Major Connector

In the mandibular arch the lingual plate major connector that is

properly supported by rests can aid in the distribution of functional stresses to
the remaining teeth. It is particularly effective in supporting periodontally
weakened anterior teeth. The lingual plate also adds rigidity to the major
connector. The added rigidity contributes to the effectiveness of cross-arch

In the maxillary arch the use of a broad palatal major connector that
connects several of the remaining natural teeth through lingual plating can
distribute stress over a large area. The major connector must be rigid and
must receive vertical support through rests from several teeth.

It should distribute the occlusal load over a wide area and at the same
time produce the least amount of stress. There are three important principles
for design exclusively used for a major connector. They are:

 L-bar or L-beam principle.

 Circularconfiguration.

 Strut configuration.

L-bar or L-beam principle

The L-beam or L-bar or Linear beam theory states that the flexibility of
a bar is directly proportional to the length of the bar and inversely
proportional to its thickness.

When a load is placed on the bar or beam supported at its ends,

maximum stress is present in the centre and zero stress at the supported
A bar supported at both its ends can be divided into two parts namely
the parabolic and quartic parts. The parabolic part forms the middle2/4th of
the distance between the supports and the remaining l/4th on either sides of
the bar form the quartic part.

The parabolic part shows maximum stress concentration and the

quartic part shows minimum or zero stress concentration. Hence, if we design
a bar such that it has a smaller parabolic part and a larger quartic part it will
be less flexible. The material becomes more rigid (less flexible) without adding
bulk to the bar.

The next question is how do we do this? The answer is very simple. IT

we bend the bar on either side, the length of the bar lying in the quartic part
will increase.

Now apply this concept in the design of a major connector. The palate
has a flat vault and two lateral slopes.

If the slopes are shallow, the quartic part of the major connector also
decreases leading to increased flexibility of the prosthesis under occlusal load.
The major connector should be located and designed such that it lies over the
steeper slopes in the palate.

Hence, broad palatal major connectors, palatal strap major connectors

can be fabricated with lesser bulk of material (but with adequate rigidity)
because it extends in three planes (one central vault and two lateral slopes)
with the length of the quartic part (the two lateral slopes) being greater than
the parabolic part.

Circular configuration

The advantage of a circle is that it is a continuous unit without an end.

Any force acting on a circular bar can be easily distributed all along the
circumference. Hence, a circular bar is more rigid than a linear bar with the
same area of cross section. This concept can be used to reduce the bulk of the
major connector with a circular configuration anteroposterior double palatal
bar and closed horseshoe.
Strut configuration

According to this configuration,

a straight bar bent at its ends near the
support is more rigid because, the
bent slopes of the bar aid to transfer
the load acting on the horizontal

This is similar to the linear bar

theory (L-beam discusses stress
concentration but struts discuss stress

The major connector on a

narrow vault is more rigid than a major
connector extending over a shallow
vault. In other words, the major
connector extending in two different
planes has more rigidity.

This concept is seen in the

anterior plate of the double palatal
bar, where the slope of the rugae area acts as an additional strut.

6- Minor Connector

The most intimate tooth-to-partial denture contact takes place between

the minor connector joining the clasp assembly to the major connector and
the guiding planes on the abutment tooth surfaces. This close metal-to-
enamel contact serves two purposes:

1- It offers horizontal stability of RPD against lateral forces.

2- Through the contact of the minor connector and the abutment teeth, the
teeth receive stabilization against lateral stresses.
7- Rests

One of the most critical points of the rest seat is that the floor of the
preparation must form an angle of less than 90 degrees with the long axis of
the tooth. This permits the rest, whether occlusal, incisal or lingual, to grasp
the tooth securely and prevent its migra on. If more than 90 degrees, an
inclined plane action is set up and stress against the abutment tooth is

In class I and II RPD the rest seat preparation must be saucer-shaped,

completely devoid of any sharp angles or ledges. As the forces are applied to
the partial denture, the rest must be free to move within the rest seat to
release stresses that would otherwise be transferred to the tooth. The more
teeth bear rest seats, the less will be the stress placed on each individual

8- Splinting of abutment teeth :

Adjacent teeth may be splinted by means of crowns to control stress

transmitted to a week abutment tooth. splinting two or more teeth actually
increases the periodontal ligament attachment area and distributes the
stress over a large area of support. It also stabilizes the abutment teeth in a
mesio-distal or antro-posterior direction.

Splinting could be achieved by clasping more than one tooth on each side of
the arch using a number of rests for additional support and stabilization and
preparing guiding planes on as many teeth as possible to contribute to
horizontal stabilization of the teeth and the prosthesis. The multiple clasps
should not all be retentive.

Splinting is indicated for the following clinical conditions.

 Abutments with a tapered or short root.

 Terminal abutments located on the edentulous side of a distal

extension denture base.

 Fixed splinting is given if there is some loss of periodontal attachment,

after a periodontal disease and therapy.