A removable partial denture (RPD) is a denture for a partially edentulous patient who desires to have replacement teeth for functional or aesthetic reasons and who cannot have a bridge (a fixed partial denture) any reason, such as a lack of required teeth to serve as support for a bridge (i.e. distal abutments) or financial limitations.
This type of prosthesis is referred to as a removable partial denture because patients can remove and reinsert it when required without professional help. Conversely, a “fixed” prosthesis can and should be removed only by a dental professional.
RPD may be used when there is a lack of required teeth to serve as support for a bridge (i.e. distal abutments) or financial limitations. A single-tooth RPD known as a “flipper tooth” may be used temporarily after a tooth is extracted, during the several months it takes to complete the placement of a dental implant and crown.