Purpose The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of implant location on load distribution in the abutment tooth, implant and residual ridge with a distal-extension implant-supported removable partial denture (ISRPD). Methods A mandibular unilateral distal-extension edentulous simulation model was used. Implants were inserted at the second premolar (mesial implant) and second molar (distal implant) positions in the edentulous area. An experimental ISRPD was fabricated of acrylic resin with a cobalt-chromium alloy framework. Loads on the implants and abutment tooth were measured with piezoelectric force transducers. The load on the residual ridge was measured with pressure-sensitive film. A vertical load of 100 N was applied at the first molar region. Measurements were made under the following three conditions: with conventional removable partial denture (CRPD), with mesial-implant-supported removable partial denture (MISRPD), and with distal-implant-supported removable partial denture (DISRPD). In each condition, the unused implants were made inactive by eliminating contact with the inner surface of the denture. Results The load on the abutment tooth was greatest with DISRPD, followed by CRPD and MISRPD (P < 0.01). The load on the implant was greater with DISRPD than with MISRPD (P < 0.01). The load on the residual ridge was lowest with DISRPD, followed by MISRPD and CRPD (P < 0.01). Conclusions This experimental study provided quantitative data regarding the effect of implant location on load distribution with ISRPDs. Further investigation regarding the effect of denture design on the load distribution is needed for determining the proper implant location of ISRPD.
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