US 2630117 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 3, 1953 c. F. COLEMAN 2,630,117
MOUTH PROTECTOR Filed Feb. 18. 1952 IN V EN TOR.
C2455: ff 60mm ATTORNEY Patented Mar. 3, 1953 UNITED PATENT OJ FFI-CFE MOIITH PROTECTOR Clarence'FaColeman, Mishawaka, 1nd.
.flpplicatioml iebruary .18, 1952,.Serial.No. 2'Z2;048
Claims. f(Cl. 128-136) ,II'his invention relates to :an improved .con-
hockey players and othersathleteswm are likely to sustain injury "to their teeth .and mouth.
Devices of thisna'turehave been available for some time, but .to myiknowledge none has been completely satisfactory. Among the objections were "that they fitted ipoorly, presented 'an "unsightly appearance, were'bulky'in themouth, and failed to remain in place when the'mouth was open, "or under severe jolts 'andshocks.
A primary object of my invention "is 'to offer goodprotection to the lips 'to prevent :their being cut by the teeth, and to prevent the teeth from being broken or chippedby clashing together -under impacts. Another object is to obviate the aforementioned objectionsfby providing :a tooth guardthatis-comfortdble "to wear, 'CTOES'IIOtiiI'ltBY- fere with breathing, and which does not "make the wearer look unnatural. Another object of my invention .is to produce :an improved guard construction which, in :addition to the -foregoing advantages-will remain securely in place whether the mouth'is open or closed. it is generally true that before impact an-athlete will close his mouth tightly, lbut football players "for example, often.
run hard with their mouths open to facilitate breathing, and fit .is essential that the guard re main "in place under such circumstances. "These and other objectswill become apparent from the following specification when read in conjunction with the drawings in which: I
Fig. '1 is a topviewpo'f .my improved tooth guard construction, ,lookingjinto rthe "toothnavities.
Fig. Z-is aside view :oI :my-improvedftooth guard construction.
Fig. :is .a :bottom viewn'ffthe guard showing the indentations firito which the .occlusals of the lower teeth .fit.
Fig. 14 :is 'a sidevievv, partially .in .cross-ssection, of the guard in position in the mouth of the wearer.
Fig. 5-is a cross-'sectiona21"view taken along the line 55 of Fig. .1.
The tooth guard constituting my invention comprises a soft rubber-like plastic :shell and an integral rigid arcuate palatal piece-adapted snug- 1y to enoase the upperiteeth. The-integral palatal piece imparts rigidity to the soft, resilient shell soithat it will lock into the upper jaw. ,I afind thatlby completely 'encasing the M13138! teeth with my protector adequate protection .is also provided for the lower teeth. I have provided indentations corresponding to the impression of the cusps of i beneath the "surface of the resilient shell.
theloweriteethin'theEundersurfaceof the occlusal covering ,portion or .the shell; thus when the mouth snaps shut due .to impact, the occlusals of the lower teeth findlodgement in 'theimpressions, which cushions themagainst-the blow. The upper .iiront teeth naturally project beyond the lower teeth and .by providing wa=cushion over the outer and occlusal surfaces of the uppers, the lowers are automatically protected.
Referring to .the drawings, the guard comprises a (resilient arcuateeshaped shell designated at 9 and arigid arcuatepalatal piece 10 integral therewith. The shell 9 .is adaptedito encasethe upper teeth as shown in Fig. 4 with the frontiportion '6 of the shellaga-inst theoutersurface-of the-teeth, the .bottom ,portion 1 over the aocclusals of the teeth, .and the rear :portion .8 against the inner surface of the teeth. The shell is cast ."against a .model of the teeth so that it will fit accurately. 'It is .my intention that .the protectors be :made up ,portion ,1 I are a :series of triangular-shaped fingers 1-2 that project down "into the :crevi-oes between the teeth and, through extension wires 14, connect with a band l3 embedded beneath the surface of the plastic shell. This is most clearly illustrated in Fig. 5. The piece 1 ll,inc'luding marginalpor'tion H and "the-fingers -12, is preferably cast in one piece so that it confo-rmsaccurately to the mouth. It will be notedthatalthough'the palatal piece is contiguous to the inner surfaces of the teeth, it covers only the margin of the palate and the gums surrounding "the'teeth. The inner surfaces of the'teeth lie'below the marginal portion H and between the fingers l2, and .most of "the area thereof is in contact with the rear portion 8 of the plastic shell.
The palatal pieoejis anchored to the shell by a narrowmetalb'and or wire l3 Whichis embedded .The distance of the bandbelow the surface may vary, but I prefer a distance of from 3%" to This is adequate to prevent the rigid band from being noticeable to the wearer since there is sufficient soft resilient material between the teeth and the band to provide a cushion therebetween. The band is also arcuate in shape and follows a line which runs anteriorly from between the cusps of the bicuspid and molar teeth, around behind, not under, the incisor and canine teeth. Elevationally this line roughly follows the contour of the occlusals of the lower teeth when the mouth is closed. The band I3 is connected to the tips of the fingers i2. Where the fingers terminate short of the surface of the shell, short wires l4, shown in Fig. 5, are employed to connect the band 13 to the tips of the fin ers. One end of wire I4 is soldered to the tip l2 and the opposite end is soldered to band l3. Both the band l3 and the wires lc are completely enclosed in the shell 9. The posterior sections of the band are embedded in the occlusal covering portion 1 and the anterior section of the band which lies behind the incisor and canine teeth is embedded in the rear portion 8 of the shell 9. In this way the palatal piece It! is integrally secured to the shell to produce a unitary structure. .Although I prefer that the posterior sections of the band lie in the occlusal covering portion 1 of the shell, it is apparent that the band may be embedded in the rear shell portion 8, posteriorly as well as anteriorly.
It will be understood that the shell need not completely cover the inner surfaces of the teeth. It is essential only that the outer surfaces and the occlusal surfaces be completely cushioned. The palatal piece contiguous to the inner surfaces of the teeth is suificient to hold the guard in place. In such a construction, the metal band to which the palatal piece is anchored lies in the occlusal covering portion I of the shell along its entire length.
It is desirable to form the impression of the occlusals of the lower teeth in the under surface of shell portion I as indicated at I in Fig. 3. Thus, when the mouth is closed the cusps of the lower teeth lock into the guard to hold it securely in place. The impression [5 also permits the mouth to close naturally and prevents undue pressure on the teeth because of an uneven cutting surface.
The palatal piece need not extend rearwardly to the extremities of the shell. It is necessary only that the piece extend past the bicuspids to the first molars. A palatal piece of this size is suflicient to hold the protector firmly in the wearers mouth. The number of teeth covered by the shell is also variable. Obviously the teeth farther back in the mouth are less likely to be injured or to cause injury to the mouth than those toward the front. Usually I prefer to make the guard long enough to cover the first and second molars on each side.
The plastic shell is preferably made from a transparent rubber-like thermoplastic resin such as polyethyl acrylate or other polyacrylate resins known in the dental trade. Polyethylene or plasticized polyvinyl chloride are also suitable. These materials will soften at elevated'temperatures so that they can be shaped precisely to the mouth of the wearer. Rubber may be used, but it requires vulcanization and has a disagreeable taste which the resins do not. The resins offer the additional advantages of being resistant to chemicals in the mouth, and above all, of being transparent. Consequently, a shell made from these materials permits the wearers teeth to show through, providing a natural appearance. The thickness of the shell is not critical and will vary slightly in diiferent portions. I prefer to make it from to thick. This thickness is sufficient to absorb jolts that accompany blows to the mouth without being too bulky.
The palatal piece is preferably made from metal such as white metal commonly used in the art for constructing bridge work, etc. This metal can be cast to shape making it desirable for use in my tooth protector. Of course, it is not essential that metal be used, for any rigid material that can be shaped and which will meet the other obvious requirements will do.
It may be seen from the foregoing description that the palatal piece, being rigid and conforming precisely to the mouth and to the contours of the teeth, is well adapted to hold the soft and relatively flimsy teeth-encasing shell firmly in position, whether the mouth is opened or closed.
1. A protector for teeth comprising a transparent rubber-like shell adapted to conform to and encase the upper teeth and an arcuate metal palatal piece integral therewith, said palatal piece adapted to extend upwardly over the margin of the palate contiguous to the inner surfaces of the teeth and having pointed fingers adapted to fill the spaces between said surfaces, said fingers being secured to an arcuate metal band the posterior sections of which lie embedded in the. occlusal-covering portion of said shell and the anterior section of which lies embedded in the portion of the shell covering the inner surface of said teeth.
2. A protector for teeth comprising a transparent rubber-like shell adapted to conform to and encase the upper teeth and an arcuate metal palatal piece integral therewith, said palatal piece adapted to extend upwardly over the margin of palatal piece integral therewith, said palatal piece adapted to extend upwardly over the margin of the palate contiguous to the teeth, and having downwardly extending fingers secured to a relatively inflexible band embedded in the occlusalcovering portions of said shell.
4. A protector for teeth comprising a resilient shell adapted to conform to and encase the upper teeth, and an arcuate rigid palatal piece integral therewith, said palatal piece adapted to extend upwardly over the margin of the palate contiguous to the teeth, and having downwardly extending fingers secured to a relatively inflexible band embedded in said shell.
CLARENCE F. COLEMAN.
REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent:
UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 1,644,284 Shapiro Oct. 4, 192? 2,279,067
Shapiro Apr. '7, 1942