Complete dentures are sometimes regarded today as an obsolete field without any practical importance due to the development of restorative dentistry. In the future, a smaller proportion of patients in the industrialized nations will in fact be edentulous but the typical edentulous age group will account for a greater proportion of the population in most industrialized countries. As life expectancy is predicted to increase, this will be associated with a longer period through which patients will need prosthetic restoration. From the point of view of the prosthodontist, it would be reasonable for the skills that are required for treatment with complete dentures to continue to have a place in teaching: firstly, because it is undisputed that there will still be edentulous patients who require treatment and, secondly, because they illustrate much of the elementary knowledge needed in dentistry. This includes large segments of the macroscopic anatomy of the oral cavity, dental function, gerontostomatology, patient management, biomaterials, impression techniques, oral esthetics and much more. The part of the course dealing with complete dentures is therefore designed to provide an introduction to the basics of restorative dentistry in general, together with dental function, sound production and esthetics.
Since dentistry overall has been ever increasingly digitized over the last two decades, classic and digital methods will be compared using the example of complete dentures.