The need for flexible thermoplastic denture base materials has increased due to patient demand for better esthetic outcomes. Designs aimed at improving esthetic outcomes can cause difficulties for prosthodontists, however, from the viewpoint of function and maintenance. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate vertical displacement in unilateral extension base denture models, comparing that obtained by flexible removable dentures with that by conventional metal clasp dentures. Models of unilateral extension base flexible removable dentures for mandibular defects were prepared. Periodontal ligament and jaw mucosa were simulated using a silicone impression material. Four types of flexible removable denture, with or without a metal rest, and two metal clasp dentures made of acrylic resin as a conventional design were used as dental prostheses. The amount of vertical displacement in the defect areas was measured under a load of 50 N at the first and second molars. Among the 6 types of dentures investigated, the amount of vertical displacement was greater with flexible removable dentures than with metal clasp dentures. This vertical displacement tended to decrease significantly, however, with the use of a metal rest with the flexible removable dentures. Esteshot with a metal rest, in particular, showed the smallest amount of displacement in the flexible removable dentures (first molar, 0.265±0.007 mm; second molar, 0.423±0.008 mm). These results indicate the importance of the application of rests in unilateral extension base flexible removable dentures. It may be useful to employ a metal rest in conjunction with a flexible removable denture to reduce load on the underlying mucosa, as is done with conventional partial dentures.
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