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Patient Comfort, Preferences, and Satisfaction with Standard Versus Alternative Polymer Removable Partial Dentures (RPDs): A Clinic REFRAME Study

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Patient Comfort, Preferences, and Satisfaction with Standard Versus Alternative Polymer Removable Partial Dentures (RPDs): A Clinic REFRAME Study

Sara Chen, DMD1; Anna Manzotti, DDS, MDS1; Fatemeh S. Afshari, DMD, MS1; Bin Yang, DMD, MSc, PhD1; Judy Chia-Chun Yuan, DDS, MS1; Cortino Sukotjo, DDS, PhD1; Stephen D. Campbell, DDS, MMSc1; Bianca S. Shemper, PhD2

1Department of Restorative Dentistry, College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA; 2Solvay Specialty Polymers, Alpharetta, GA, USA


INTRODUCTION: Removable partial dentures (RPDs) are widely used in clinical practice; however, a significant need exists for novel materials and manufacturing technologies to decrease undesired features associated with current RPDs. Advanced medical-grade polymers can potentially serve as alternative precision-fit RPD frameworks while utilizing digital workflows.
METHODS: Patient satisfaction on comfort, speech, esthetics, function, and preferences were evaluated for 2 Ultaire® arylketone polymer framework RPDs. The standard design followed a conventional metal framework design, while the alternative followed a design that optimized the polymer’s properties. Twenty patients ≥18 years old, with ≥3 missing teeth and stable oral health were enrolled; 3 discontinued. Patients were blinded with randomized assessment order for two RPD designs. Patient satisfaction was measured on a Likert scale (1=very dissatisfied, 5=very satisfied) and frame preference was assessed using a questionnaire on overall preference, comfort, and fit.
RESULTS: Of patients who reported a 4 or 5 on the Likert, 64.7% and 62.5% of patients reported overall satisfaction with the standard versus alternative RPD design. Patients preferred the alternative design to the standard for comfort (81.3% vs. 76.5%), weight (93.8% vs. 82.4%), color (81.3% vs. 76.5%), and esthetics (87.5% vs. 58.8%) while the standard design was preferred over the alternative for speech (88.2% vs. 81.3%) and chewing (82.4% vs. 81.3%). The questionnaire results indicated that more patients reported an overall preference for the alternative (53.3%) versus standard design (46.7%).
CONCLUSIONS:Arylketone polymer optimized RPD designs are viable alternatives to currently available standard RPD designs and may be preferred by patients across multiple factors.


Arylketone polymers (AKPs) are lightweight, high performance polymers that provide superior mechanical properties and biocompatibility in a variety of demanding engineering applications. AKPs may offer significant cost savings, eliminate risk of metal sensitivity, and be utilized in a digital workflow. This study was conducted to assess patient satisfaction with comfort, speech, esthetics, chewing ability, and overall satisfaction while wearing AKP removable partial dentures (RPDs) created following either a conventional metal framework design versus an alternative design which optimized the properties of the polymer.


1. The proportion of patients with an overall satisfaction rating of 4 or 5 on a Likert scale resulted in 64.7% satisfaction of the standard polymer RPD and 62.5% satisfaction of the alternative design.
2. Patients preferred the alternative design to the standard design with regard to comfort (81.3% vs. 76.5%), weight (93.8% vs. 82.4%), color (81.3% vs. 76.5%) and esthetics (87.5% vs. 58.8%).
3. Overall, patients preferred the alternative polymer RPD design, at 53.3%, to the standard polymer RPD design at 46.7%.
4. According to the clinician’s perspective, further improvement in ease of fit may be necessary and obtained through proper design adjustments.
5. Arylketone polymer RPDs may be a viable alternative RPD framework material in terms of patient satisfaction relative to comfort, esthetics, speech, and chewing ability. Additional data will be collected in future post-market clinical trials to assess long-term patient satisfaction of the arylketone polymer alternative RPD versus conventional metal framework designs and effects of the alternative design on oral health.


U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2011, June 21). Applying Human Factors and Usability Engineering to Medical Devices. Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff. Retrieved Feb 3, 2016, from http://www.fda.gov/ucm/groups/fdagov-public/@fdagov-meddev-gen/documents...


This study was funded by UIC Department of Restorative Dentistryand Dental Solutions, LLC. Editorial, design, and productionsupport was provided by MedValScientific Information Services,LLC, and was funded by Solvay Dental 360™.

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