PURPOSE : The fibre-reinforced composite space
maintainer (FRCSM) has been suggested as an alternative
to the band-and-loop space maintainer (BLSM). The aim of
this in-vivo study was to evaluate the clinical performance
and the reasons for failure of the two types of fixed space
maintainers over a six-month period.
METHODS : Twenty patients, ranging from 4-9 years old,
were selected for this study. They were randomly divided
into two groups (n=10) according to the type of space
maintainer that was placed. The patients were recalled on
a monthly basis for clinical evaluation over a period of six
months. The two-sample t-test and the non-parametric
Wilcoxon rank sum test were used for statistical analysis.
RESULTS : Both groups of space maintainers had a
50% failure rate. The main reason for BLSM failure was
bending of the wire with impingement on the soft tissue.
The FRCSM failed due to debonding and fracture of the
fibre loop. There was no statistically significant difference
between the failure rates (P=0.53).
CONCLUSION : The clinical performances of both space
maintainers were disappointing. Only 50% of fixed space
maintainers were still clinically acceptable according to the strict evaluation criteria used. Further research is
recommended on the loop-design FRCSM.