Occlusal performance is a substantial determinant of the quality of dental prosthetic restorations. In the follow-up (SHIP 1) to the Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP), a representative population of 3300 subjects was studied in the first exploratory evaluation of the occlusion of artificial teeth in the chewing center (first molar region) of partial dentures. A digital analysis of interocclusal records of habitual intercuspation position (ICP) was performed using the Greifswald Digital Analyzing System (GEDAS), a software package that identifies contact points as transparent areas. 562 subjects (280 men aged 61.7 ▒ 11.9 years and 282 women aged 60.7 ▒ 10.7 years) had maxillary removable partial dentures (RPDs), and 619 (271 men aged 65.0 ▒ 11.5 years and 348 women aged 62.4 ▒ 10.6 years) had mandibular RPDs. Most RPDs were retained with either attachment retainers (11.7% maxilla, 11.7% mandible), cast clasps (38.4% maxilla, 40.7% mandible), telescopes with double crowns (15.7% maxilla, 19.1% mandible), or wrought wire clasps (16.4% maxilla, 8.2% mandible). Some had a combination of different retention elements. The mean number of artificial teeth was 7.8 ▒ 2.9 in the maxilla and 7.5 ▒ 3.0 in the mandible. Only the artificial teeth (first molars) in mandibular partial dentures showed differences in the frequency of occlusal contacts between groups (chi-square test). Of these, telescopic crown-retained RPDs had the highest frequency of occlusal contacts (74.4% at tooth 36 and 77.1% at tooth 46), and wrought wire-retained RPDs had the lowest (48.4% at tooth 36 and 45.2% at tooth 46). The results for RPDs with a free-end saddle were comparable and analogous; contact frequencies for those with an interdental saddle did not differ significantly. Notably, the overall frequency of occlusal contacts was greater for tooth 46 (62.9%) than for tooth 36. In conclusion, when replacing teeth in the chewing center, particularly in the mandible, telescopic crown-retained RPDs offer a distinct advantage in terms of occlusal contacts and thus provide better occlusal stability.
Keywords: occlusion, partial denture, attachment, artificial teeth, population-based study