The choice of connector lies between plate, a bar or a combination of bars, which may cross the palate in various positions. Many opinions have been expressed concerning the acceptability to the patients of the various forms of palatal connectors but there have been few investigations. The aim of this study is to compare subjective patients' reactions to three maxillary major connectors: metal bar, metal plate, and acrylic connectors and to establish the most acceptable and the least acceptable maxillary major connectors. Fifteen consecutive patients attending the prosthetic out-patient clinic of Dental Center, University College Hospital, Ibadan who had never worn dentures were recruited into the study. Three dentures each with a different maxillary major connector design were fabricated for each patient. A questionnaire was administered to ascertain their reactions to each of the three denture designs.
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Components of a typical removable partial denture are illustrated in Figure Figure A, Framework for mandibular removable partial denture with the following components: 1, lingual bar major connector; 2a, minor connector by which the resin denture base will be attached; 2b, minor connector, proximal plate, which is part of clasp assembly; 2c, minor connector used to connect rests to major connectors; 3, occlusal rests; 4, direct retainer arm, which is part of the total clasp assembly; 5, stabilizing or reciprocal components of clasp assembly includes minor connectors ; and 6, an indirect retainer consisting of a minor connector and an occlusal rest.
B, Maxillary removable partial denture with resin denture bases supporting artificial posterior teeth. Bases are attached to metal framework by ladderlike minor connectors similar to those seen in 2a. C, Mandibular bilateral distal extension removable partial denture with resin denture bases supporting artificial posterior teeth.
When a prosthesis that can be removed from the mouth is used, the prosthesis must extend to both sides of the arch. This enables transfer of functional forces of occlusion from the denture base to all supporting teeth and tissues within an arch for optimum stability.
It is through this cross-arch tooth contact, which occurs at some distance from the functional force, that optimum resistance can be achieved. This is most effectively accomplished when a rigid major connector joins the portion of the prosthesis receiving the function to selected regions throughout the arch.
The chief functions of a major connector include unification of the major parts of the prosthesis, distribution of the applied force throughout the arch to selected teeth and tissue, and minimization of torque to the teeth. A properly designed rigid major connector effectively distributes forces throughout the arch and acts to reduce the load to any one area while effectively controlling prosthesis movement.
The principle of leverage is connected with this component part. A rigid major connector will limit movement possibilities by acting as a counteracting lever. This phenomenon is referred to as cross-arch stability. Cross-arch stability becomes more important in situations associated with high potential for greater prosthesis movement e. In this chapter, major and minor connectors are considered separately as to their function, location, and design criteria.
Other components are presented in designated chapters. A major connector is the component of the partial denture that connects the parts of the prosthesis located on one side of the arch with those on the opposite side. It is that unit of the partial denture to which all other parts are directly or indirectly attached. This component also provides cross-arch stability to help resist displacement by functional stresses.
The major connector may be compared with the frame of an automobile or with the foundation of a building. It is through the major connector that other components of the partial denture become unified and effective.
If the major connector is flexible, the ineffectiveness of connected components jeopardizes the supporting oral structures and can be a detriment to the comfort of the patient.
Failure of the major connector to provide rigidity may be manifest by traumatic damage to periodontal support of the abutment teeth, injury to residual ridges, or impingement of underlying tissue. Major connectors should be designed and located with the following guidelines in mind:. Appropriate relief beneath the major connector avoids the need for its adjustment after tissue damage has occurred. In addition to being time consuming, grinding to provide relief from impingement may seriously weaken the major connector, which can result in flexibility or possibly fracture.
Major connectors should be carefully designed for proper shape, thickness, and location. Alteration of these dimensions by grinding can only be detrimental.
Relief is covered at the end of this chapter and is expanded in Chapter Margins of major connectors adjacent to gingival tissue should be located far enough from the tissue to avoid any possible impingement. At the inferior border of the lingual bar connector, the limiting factor is the height of the moving tissue in the floor of the mouth. Because the connector must have sufficient width and bulk to provide rigidity, a linguoplate is commonly used when space is insufficient for a lingual bar.
Relief is provided for soft tissue under all portions of the mandibular major connector and at any location where the framework crosses the marginal gingiva. The inferior border of mandibular major connectors should be gently rounded after being cast to eliminate a sharp edge. In the maxillary arch, because no moving tissue is present in the palate as in the floor of the mouth, the borders of the major connector may be placed well away from gingival tissue.
Structurally, the tissue covering the palate is well suited for placement of the connector because of the presence of firm submucosal connective tissue and an adequate, deep blood supply.
However, when soft tissue covering the midline of the palate is less displaceable than the tissue covering the residual ridge, varying amounts of relief under the connectors must be provided to avoid impingement of tissue. The amount of relief required is directly proportional to the difference in displaceability of the tissue covering the midline of the palate and the tissue covering the residual ridges.
The gingival tissue, on the other hand, must have an unrestricted superficial blood supply to remain healthy. Minor connectors that must cross gingival tissue should do so abruptly, joining the major connector at nearly a right angle Figure In this way, maximum freedom is ensured for gingival tissue. All adjoining minor connectors should cross gingival tissues abruptly and should join major connectors at nearly a right angle. Except for a palatal torus or a prominent median palatal suture area, palatal connectors ordinarily require no relief.
Intimate contact between the connector and the supporting tissue adds much to the support, stability, and retention of the denture. Except for gingival areas, intimacy of contact elsewhere in the palate is not detrimental to the health of the tissue if rests are provided on abutment teeth to prevent tissue-ward movement.
An anterior palatal strap or the anterior border of a palatal plate also should be located as far as possible posteriorly to avoid interference with the tongue in the area of the rugae. It should be uniformly thin and its anterior border should be located to follow the contours between the crests of the rugae.
The anterior borders of such palatal major connectors therefore will be irregular in outline as they follow the contours between the rugae. The tongue may then pass from one ruga prominence to another without encountering the border of the connector. When the connector border must cross a ruga crest, this should be done abruptly, while avoiding the crest as much as possible. The posterior limitation of a maxillary major connector should be just anterior to the vibrating line.
A useful rule applied to major connectors and throughout partial denture design is to try to avoid adding any part of the denture framework to an already convex surface.
Characteristics of major connectors that contribute to the maintenance of health of the oral environment and the well-being of the patient may be listed as shown in Box The six types of mandibular major connectors include the following:.
Figure Mandibular major connectors. A, Lingual bar. B, Linguoplate. C, Sublingual bar. D, Lingual bar with continuous bar cingulum bar. E, Cingulum bar. F, Labial bar. The lingual bar and the linguoplate are by far the most common major connectors used in mandibular removable partial dentures. The basic form of a mandibular major connector is a half-pear shape, located above moving tissue but as far below the gingival tissue as possible. It is usually made of reinforced, 6-gauge, half-pear—shaped wax or a similar plastic pattern Figure Figure Sagittal section showing half-pear shape of lingual bar.
A taper of the superior border of the bar to the soft tissues above will minimize interference with the tongue and will be more acceptable to the patient than would a dissimilar contour. Tissue relief is necessary to protect the soft tissue of the floor of the mouth. The major connector must be contoured so that it does not present sharp margins to the tongue and cause irritation or annoyance by an angular form. The superior border of a lingual bar connector should be tapered toward the gingival tissue superiorly, with its greatest bulk at the inferior border, resulting in a contour that has a half-pear shape.
Lingual bar patterns, both wax and plastic, are made in this conventional shape. However, the inferior border of the lingual bar should be slightly rounded when the framework is polished.
A rounded border will not impinge on the lingual tissue when the denture bases rotate inferiorly under occlusal loads. Frequently, additional bulk is necessary to provide rigidity, particularly when the bar is long or when a less rigid alloy is used. This is accomplished by lining the ready-made form underneath with a sheet of gauge casting wax rather than altering the original half-pear shape.
The inferior border of a lingual mandibular major connector must be located so that it does not impinge on the tissue in the floor of the mouth because it changes elevations during the normal activities of mastication, swallowing, speaking, licking the lips, and so forth. Yet at the same time, it seems logical to locate the inferior border of these connectors as far inferiorly as possible to avoid interference with the resting tongue and trapping of food substances when they are introduced into the mouth.
In addition, the more inferiorly a lingual bar can be located, the farther the superior border of the bar can be placed from the lingual gingival crevices of adjacent teeth, thereby avoiding impingement on the gingival tissue. At least two clinically acceptable methods may be used to determine the relative height of the floor of the mouth and locate the inferior border of a lingual mandibular major connector.
The first method is to measure the height of the floor of the mouth in relation to the lingual gingival margins of adjacent teeth with a periodontal probe Figure Recording of these measurements permits their transfer to both diagnostic and master casts, thus ensuring a rather advantageous location of the inferior border of the major connector.
The inferior border of the planned major connector can then be located at the height of the lingual sulcus of the cast resulting from such an impression. Of the two methods, we have found measuring the height of the floor of the mouth to be less variable and more clinically acceptable. Figure A, Height of floor of the mouth tongue elevated in relation to lingual gingival sulci measured with a periodontal probe.
B, Recorded measurements are transferred to a diagnostic cast and then to a master cast after mouth preparations are completed. The line connecting marks indicates the location of the inferior border of the major connector. If periodontal surgery is performed, the line on the cast can be related to incisal edges of teeth and the measurements recorded for subsequent use. C, Impression made with functional movement of the tongue to demonstrate maximum shortening of the floor of the mouth.
This allows visualization of the anatomic feature that establishes the inferior extent of a major connector. If a stock tray causes impingement on this functional position, an individualized or custom tray may be used for the same purpose. If the rectangular space is bounded by the lingual bar, the anterior tooth contacts, and the cingula, and the bordering minor connectors are filled in, a linguoplate results Figure Figure View of mandibular Class I design with contoured linguoplate.
Linguoplate is made as thin as possible and should follow the lingual contours of the teeth contacted. Doing so will often result in a scalloped superior margin. In this example, the straight superior margin can be bulky at the cingulum region, causing tongue discomfort. A linguoplate should be made as thin as is technically feasible and should be contoured to follow the contours of the teeth and the embrasures Figure The patient should be aware of as little added bulk and as few altered contours as possible.
The upper border should follow the natural curvature of the supracingular surfaces of the teeth and should not be located above the middle third of the lingual surface, except to cover interproximal spaces to the contact points.
The half-pear shape of a lingual bar should still form the inferior border that provides the greatest bulk and rigidity.
Removable Partial Denture – Major Connector
A component of the partial denture that connects the parts of the prosthesis located on one side of the arch with those on the opposite arch. It provides cross-arch stability to help resist displacement by functional stresses. All other parts of the partial denture are directly or indirectly attached to the major connector. Is a modification of the lingual bar. The sublingual bar essentially the same as that of a lingual bar, but placement is inferior and posterior to the usual location of a lingual bar, lying over and parallel to the anterior floor of the mouth. Is a modification to the lingual plate with a hinged labial bar.
Acceptability of maxillary major connectors in removable partial dentures
5: Major and Minor Connectors
Components of a typical removable partial denture are illustrated in Figure Figure A, Framework for mandibular removable partial denture with the following components: 1, lingual bar major connector; 2a, minor connector by which the resin denture base will be attached; 2b, minor connector, proximal plate, which is part of clasp assembly; 2c, minor connector used to connect rests to major connectors; 3, occlusal rests; 4, direct retainer arm, which is part of the total clasp assembly; 5, stabilizing or reciprocal components of clasp assembly includes minor connectors ; and 6, an indirect retainer consisting of a minor connector and an occlusal rest. B, Maxillary removable partial denture with resin denture bases supporting artificial posterior teeth. Bases are attached to metal framework by ladderlike minor connectors similar to those seen in 2a. C, Mandibular bilateral distal extension removable partial denture with resin denture bases supporting artificial posterior teeth. When a prosthesis that can be removed from the mouth is used, the prosthesis must extend to both sides of the arch. This enables transfer of functional forces of occlusion from the denture base to all supporting teeth and tissues within an arch for optimum stability.