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Why Resin Unilaterals over Metal

While we ordinarily do not usually recommend metal unilateral partials, they are, and will likely continue to be a part of the removable lab experience. Problematic and arguably dangerous, they are often under-retentive, unstable, and not particularly hygenic. We have over the yars sought for an effective solution to these problems that will assure seccess in these seemingly simple but surprisingly complex appliances. By first studying, then identifying the problem areas, we have finally developed a highly successful alternative to traditional metal unilaterals.

The inherent problem with conventional metal unilaterals is the inclination of the two abutment teeth. Simply said, the abutment teeth tilt towards each other over time to "close the space" created by the void of a missing tooth. This tilt creates some significant problems. One common problem is that metal unilaterals create food traps. The interstitial space between the metal guide plane and the tooth create uncomfortable food traps that compromise hygiene in the process. Figures 1 and 3.

Another involves trying to find undercut for retention for the tip of the flexible metal clasps. As the teeth drift towards each other, the undercut available for the tip of the clasps deteriorates. Creative clasping can solve this but complicates the case and does not solve the food trap issue.

Resin Unilaterals solve both of these problems by gaining all of its retention at the origin of the clasp on both the buccal and lingual surfaces of both abutment teeth while closing the inherent food traps. Figures 2 and 4. This provides the patient with a very retentive, stable, aesthetic appliance that is very comfortable and eliminates food traps. In addition, the space occlusally created naturally from the tilt of this teeth can be used as an occlusal rest with resin recreating normal occlusion with the opposing arch. All these attributes and the fact that this material is incredibly strong, make the resin unilateral the perfect replacement for conventional metal unilaterals.

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