The minimum number of teeth needed to satisfy functional demands has been subject of several studies. However, since functional demands can vary from individual to individual, this number cannot be defined exactly. It has been demonstrated that shortened dental arches comprising the front teeth and the premolars, can meet the requirements of a functional dentition.
The shortened dental arch concept may be considered a strategy to reduce the need for complex restorative treatment in the posterior regions of the mouth. It implies that the prompt replacement of absent molars by a removable partial denture leads to overtreatment and discomfort.
The shortened dental arch concept is based on circumstantial evidence, and not contradict current theories of occlusion and fits well in a problem-solving approach.