Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry

Computer-aided technology for fabricating removable partial denture frameworks: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Published:February 11, 2021DOI:


      Statement of problem

      A consensus that establishes the indications and clinical performance of removable partial denture (RPD) frameworks designed and manufactured with computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD-CAM) systems is lacking.


      The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to evaluate the currently published literature investigating different CAD-CAM methods and techniques for RPD manufacturing and their clinical performance.

      Material and methods

      A comprehensive search of studies published up to September 2019 was performed in PubMed/MEDLINE, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, and SciELO databases according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA Statement) criteria and was registered and approved in the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO: CRD42020152197). The population, intervention, comparison, outcome (PICO) question was “Do the CAD-CAM frameworks have similar performances to those fabricated by conventional techniques?” The meta-analysis included clinical and in vitro studies based on the effect size and test of Null (2-Tail) with 95% confidence interval (CI). Clinical and in vitro studies were selected and analyzed separately.


      A total of 15 articles out of 358 were selected. For clinical studies, quantitative analysis with a sample of 25 participants showed a mean discrepancy between occlusal rests and rest seats of 184.91 μm (95% CI: 152.6 μm-217.15 μm) and heterogeneity (I2) of 0%. Clinical data considered that frameworks were acceptable for continuity of treatment. The predominant materials were cobalt-chromium (Co-Cr) and polyetheretherketone (PEEK), and studies using Co-Cr reported that the structure required adjustments. In addition, it has been reported that the indirect technique was time-consuming and selective laser melting (SLM) can be costly. PEEK structures have been more widely accepted because of improved esthetics. Quantitative data from the in vitro studies revealed that the additive manufacturing technique (2.006 mm: 95% CI: -2.021 mm to 6.032 mm) was not significantly different from the indirect technique (0.026 mm; P=.455; random: I2: 98.402%).


      Clinical studies and in vitro research on CAD-CAM planning and manufacturing of removable prosthesis frameworks are still sparse. However, preliminary data indicate a similar fit and esthetic improvement when compared with the conventional technique.
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