A removable partial denture is for someone who has some missing teeth (partially as opposed to completely missing all of the teeth) but who still desires to have replacement teeth for functional or aesthetic reasons, and who cannot have a bridge (a fixed partial denture) for any number of reasons, such as a lack of required teeth to serve as support for a bridge or due to financial limitations.
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The reason why this type of prosthesis is referred to as a removable partial denture is because patients can remove and reinsert them when required on a daily basis without professional help. Conversely, a ‘fixed’ prosthesis can and should be removed only by a dental professional if needed but mostly is to stay in the mouth permanently instead. The majority of RPD is made of cast metal with acrylic, so sometimes they are called cast partial denture.
However, we can have non-metal but still strong removable partial dentures to improve aesthetics nowadays. A removable partial denture is considered a compromised option compared to a bridge or dental implants because they have to be removed for cleaning on a daily basis: not as hygienic, bulkier, and food-trapping just to name a few disadvantages.