US 3112744 A
Abstract available in
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 3, 1963 M. E. GROSSBERG 3,112,744
TOOTH GUARD Filed May 11, 1962 2 sheets-sheet 1 Mar 5 Gran" e/y INVENTOR.
lay/ 6 Dec. 3, 1963 M. E. GROSSBERG 3,112,744
TOOTH GUARD 7 Filed May 11, 1962 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Ma/c G/aJJe/y INVENTOR.
3,112,744 'lOfiTH GUARD Marc Elias Grossberg, 5791 Jackson St., Apt. 509, Houston 4, Tex. Filed May 11, 196.2, Ser. No. 194,663 7 Claims. (Cl. 128136) This invention relates to a dental appliance and more particularly to a teeth or mouth protector.
Dental appliances of the general form sometimes referred to as mouth protectors, teeth protectors or mouth guards, are now in wide use particularly by athletes engaged in contact sports to protect the teeth, jaws and oral areas from various types of jarring and impactive blows received on the jaw and mouth regions of the face during engagement in such sports.
Commonly used types of such mouth protectors usualiv comprise a two-part structure. One part is a generally U-shaped base or cover shaped to conform to the dental arch and provided with a correspondingly shaped channel to receive either the upper or lower set of teeth of the user. The base is generally constructed of a flexible, resilient, rubber or rubber-like composition. The second part of the structure comprises an impression-taking body which is suitably secured in the channel and is composed of a suitable elastomeric or plastic composition adapted to receive and retain a faithful impression of the users teeth, so as to closely fit about the teeth and, together with the flexible base member, to provide the desired cushioning and protective enclosure for the teeth.
In one form of conventional mouth protectors, the impression-taking ler material will be initially secured in place in the channel of the base member and will comprise a body of a thermo-plastic material which when heated to a suitable temperature will soften sufiiciently to take the teeth impression when placed in the mouth and pressed about the teeth, or when pressed about a previously prepared model of the teeth. Upon cooling to normal temperature, the filler material will harden sufiiciently to retain a permanent impression of the teeth of the person to whom it has been fitted so that it can be used repeatedly by the same person.
In one form of this type of mouth protector, the filler material is selected to be relatively harder than the base material, although both parts are relatively resilient. While this form of mouth protector has proven quite successful, it has the disadvantage that by using a preinstalled filler material in the base channel, an excess of the impression-taking material is necessarily provided which when molded about the teeth during fitting, results in a number of extrusions of the excess which require trimming and represent a wastage of the excess material.
The other more common form of protector which employs a two-part structure is one in which the filler material is not initially mounted in the receiving channel, but is a separately packaged composition which generally comprises a quantity of uncured elastomeric material in powder form and a liquid catalyst which when added to the powder forms a plastic mass which must then be inserted in the channel of the base and then While the filler is in the uncured state, must be molded about the teeth and thereafter allowed to cure or set to retain the impression.
It will be obvious that this latter form of protector involves a necessarily slow, rather messy series of operations for compounding the impression-taking material, installing the uncured mass in the base, fitting it about the teeth in its uncured state, and then allowing the material to cure or set. Moreover, the tiller material will usually be in substantial excess over fitting requirements and in this case, also, trimmingand wastage of materials is involved. a
ilz'fid i Patented Dec. 3, 1963 In my copending application Serial No. 190,998, filed April 30, 1962, for a mouth protector, I have disclosed a construction which overcomes many of the disadvantages of conventional types of teeth protectors enumerated above. In that application, I have described a form of tooth protector which is essentially a one-piece structure pre-molded to provide a generally U-shaped form, having a correspondingly shaped channel to receive the teeth. In one embodiment of that invention the entire structure is composed of a single therrno-plastic elastomer which may be directly molded about the teeth to thereby eliminate the need for a separate impression-taking material. In this embodiment the structure is pro-molded to define the tooth-receiving channel.
1 have now found that even greater convenience and efficiency in forming and fitting a tooth protector may be accomplished by employing a body which is in the form of a relatively flat blank constructed of a suitable thermoplastic elastomer which can be supplied to the user or dental technician as a generally flat sheet which, upon heating to the appropriate temperature, may be molded directly about a previously prepared mold or model of the users teeth.
The blank from which the tooth protector is formed will be constructed with portions thereof having greater thickness than others and so related one to the other that when shaped to fit about the teeth effective protection will be provided for all of the several teeth, in either the upper or lower jaw as may be desired.
Accordingly, it is a primary object of this invention to provide a tooth guard blank constructed of a suitable thermo-plastic elastomer adapted to receive and retain a dental impression which is deformable from a generally fiat form into a U-shaped guard adapted to enclose the teeth and which is fully protective of the teeth to which it is fitted.
An important object is the provision in a tooth guard blank of the character described, of portions of relatively greater and lesser thicknesses to provide most effective protection for the several teeth of a set.
A further object is the provision in a tooth guard blank of the character described, of re-enforcing elements in portions thereof, and more particularly in the occlusal wall thereof.
Other and more specific objects and advantages of this invention will become more readily apparent from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing which illustrates a useful embodiment in accordance with this invention.
In the drawing,
FIG. 1 is a plan view, looking upwardly at the bottom surface of the blank;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the blank;
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 33 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary cross-sectional View taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view taken along line 55 of FIG. 1;
PEG. 6 is a side view, partly in section, illustrating the guard installed about the upper teeth of the user;
FIG. 7 is a top plan view of the guard, showing the guard in its final shape after molding about the teeth; and
FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 8--8 of FIG. 7, showing the shape of the protector following molding about a tooth. i
The device, as illustrated, comprises a body, designated generally by the numeral it}, of substantially flat, generally rectangular configuration, having one generally substantially straight edge 11, while the other three edges 12., 13 and 14 may be irregular or contoured, as shown, for purposes which will appear hereinafter. One surface 15 of body is made substantially fiat to provide a smooth plane surface, while the other may be provided with portions of varying thicknesses which project from the opposite face 16 of body 1% One of the thickened areas of the body is formed to define a U-shaped portion 17 conforminggenerally to the dental arch and adapted to form the occlusal Wall of the finished device. The thickness of portion 17 tapers outwardly from the curved or incisal portion 18 toward the plane of surface 16 adjacent the straight peripheral edge 11, as best seen in FIG. 5. The portions of body '10 which extend laterally from the inner and outer margins of U-shaped portion 17 constitute webs which are co-extensive with these inner and outer margins and are adapted, when bent along the margins during molding, to form spaced inner and outer walls 19 and 20, respectively, as best shown in FIGS. 6, 7 and 8. The portion of body 10 which extends between the inner margins of the arms of U- shaped portion 17 forms the palatal web 21, and will preferably be marked with a broken line 22 or other suitable indicia extending longitudinally centrally of this web to provide a guide line along which palatal web 21 may be slit or cut to provide -web portions which ultimately form inner wall 19 when molding of the device has been completed. Portions of body 10 extending radially outwardly from the outer margin of incisal portion 13 on opposite sides of the center line of the U-shaped portion may be thickened, as at 23 and 24, to taper outwardly from incisal portion 18 to the peripheral edge 13 of the body, as best seen in FIG. 4.
The elastomeric material employed for constructing body 10 may comprise numerous well-known plastic or resinous. materials. These include polyvinyl chloride, polyvinyl acetate, ethylene vinyl acetate, polyvinyl butyral, vinyl alkyd, polyvinyl formal, vinylidene chloride, polyvinyl acetal, vinyl stearate (and oleate esters), polyvinyl alcohol, vinyl par'afiins, such as Elvax, polyethylene, and polypropylene, as well as others, including mixtures and co-polymers of these various types of plastics.
One elastomeric material which has been found particularly useful, in vinyl butyral, which may, of course, be plasticized, extended, colored and molded in any wellknown manner and with known materials to attain the desired softening temperature and other desired thermoplastic properties, as well as the desired degree of softness or hardness, resilience, tackiness and the like.
The essential characteristic required of all such materials for constructing the mouth guard in accordance with this invention is that it be thermo-plastic, such that it may be softened to a molding temperature preferably in the range from about 120 F. to about 160 F. or higher and, upon cooling from the molding temperature to normal atmospheric or internal mouth temperature, will permanently retain the impression of the teeth to which body 10 has been molded.
In use, body '14} will be split along line 22, and then heated in any suitable and well-known manner, as by exposure to an infra-red lamp or by immersion in hot water, to the desired molding temperature. Thereafter, the heated and softened material will be applied to a previously prepared mold of the teeth and adjacent gum surfaces of the prospective user, The fiat surface .15 of occlusal portion 17 will be pressed down over the cusps of the teeth and the web portions will be bent along the inner and outer margins of U-shaped portion 17 and worked over and about the inner and outer sides of the teeth to thereby form the generally U-shaped structure having a correspondingly shaped channel defined by inner and outer walls 19 and 20 and occlusal portion 17 into which the teeth impression will be molded, as best seen in FIGS. 7 and 8, to provide a closely interfitting protectivecover about all of the teeth surfaces; .Upon cooling to normal temperatures, the resulting U-shaped structure will harden sufficiently to retain a permanent, accurate impression of the entire set of teeth, While having a degree of resiliency capable of eifectively absorbing or cushioning impacts to which the teeth may be subjected. The device may then be used repeatedly as may be required, while affording full protection to the teeth of the user. The thickened areas, such as portions 23 and 24, not only provide increased padding or protective thicknesses for selected teeth, but also provide additional volumes of material which, when molded, will flow sulficiently to fill the various crevices defined by the teeth, and thereby assure a fully eifective covering for the teeth. It will be understood, of course, that other are-as of body 10 may be similarly thickened to provide additional material Wherever it may be needed in the finished guard to afford the requisite degree of protection. For example, the incisal portion 18 of the occlusal wall is pre-formed in preparing the blank to provide a greater thickness, as illustrated, in order to assure the greatest measure of protection to the teeth when subjected to an upwardly directed blow against the lower jaw and to resist bitingthrough by the user. In this connection, a layer'ofa suitable re-enforcing material 26, such as a textile fabric or even thin wire gauze, may be laminated or embedded in U-shaped portion 17 during formation of body 10 to re-enforce the occlusal portion of the guard, and thus additionally strengthen the latter against being bitten through by the user when in use. The re-enforcing laminate may, if desired, be extended into the web portions which form side walls 19 and 20' to strengthen these members when such additional support is indicated.
It will be understood that the blank device may be applied to either the upper or lower set of teeth, as may be desired, and the contoured configuration of edges 12, 13 and 14 will be shaped to conform to the juncture of the gums with the labial and cheek tissues. These edges may be trimmed after molding to assure the most accurate fit in those areas. By reason of being molded, as described, to the exact shape of the teeth, the finished device will cling closely about the teeth so that it will not be readily dislodged during use.
By providing :a moldable structure, as herein described, in the form of a relatively flat blank, the term relatively fiat being employed as fairly descriptive even though some areas are made somewhat thicker than others, the device may be supplied in a very convenient form to the technician or dentist who is to fit the device to the teeth of a user, as these blanks can be adhesively mounted on small sheets of cardboard or otherwise suitably packed in a very convenient and readily usable arrangement.
It will be evident that numerous modifications and alterations may be made in the details of the illustrative embodiment within the scope of the appended claims, but
without departing from the spirit of the invention.
What I claim and desire to secure by Letters Patent is: 1. A blank formable into a tooth guard, comprising, a generally flat body constructed entirely of a moldable thermo-plastic material adapted to receive and retain a dental impression, said body consisting of a U-shaped portion conforming generally to the dental arch, and web I portions integral with and generally coextensive with the inner and outer margins of said U-shaped portion and extending laterally therefrom, said U-shaped portion having greater thickness than said web portions and being adapted to form the occlusal wall of the finished tooth guard, said web portions being adapted during molding to'be bent along the inner and outer margins of said U-shaped portion to define therewith a tooth-enclosing channel, the walls of which receive the impression of the teeth enclosed thereby.
'2. In a blank according to claim 1, .a re-enforcing lamination embedded in said U-shaped portion. I
3. A blank formable into a tooth guard, comprising, a generally fiat body constructed entirely of a moldable thermo-plastic material adapted to receive and retain a dental impression, said body consisting of a U-shaped portion conforming generally to the dental arch, and web POItiOHS integral with and generally coextensive with the inner and outer margins of said U-shaped portion and extending laterally therefrom, said U-shaped portion ha"- ing greater thickness than said web portions to project from the plane of one face of said body and adapted to form the occlusal wall of the finished tooth guard, said web portions being adapted during molding to be bent along the inner and outer margins of said U-shaped portion to define therewith a tooth-enclosing channel, the walls of which receive the impression of the teeth enclosed thereby.
4. A blank forrnable into a tooth guard, comprising, a continuous one-piece generally fiat body of an irregular generally rectangular shape constructed entirely of a thermoplastic material adapted to receive and retain a dental impression, said body having a U-shaped portion conforming generally to the dental arch positioned in spaced relation to the several peripheral edges of the body to define web portions generally coextensive with the inner and outer margins of said U-shaped portion and extending laterally therefrom to the edges of said body, said U-shaped portion having greater thickness than said web portions and adapted to form the occlusal Wall of the finished tooth guard, the web portions extending from the incisai section of said U-shaped portion having greater thickness than the posterior web portions and tapering toward the related edges of the body, said web portions being adapted during molding to be bent along the inner and outer margins of said U-shaped portion to define therewith a tooth-enclosing channel, the walls of which receive the impression of the teeth enclosed thereby.
5. In a blank according to claim 4, a re-enforcing lamination embedded in said U-shaped portion.
6. A blank according to claim 4 wherein said peripher-al edges are pie-shaped to conform to that of the juncture of the gum with the innerlip and cheek tissues.
7. A blank formable into a tooth guard, comprising, a generally fiat body constructed entirely of a moldable thermoplastic material adapted to receive and retain a dental impression, said body consisting of a U-shaped portion conforming generally to the dental arch, and web portions integral with and generally coextensive with the inner and outer margins of said U-shaped portion and extending laterally therefrom, said U-shaped portion having greater thickness than said web portions and being adapted to form the occlusal Wall of the finished tooth guard, said web portions being adapted during molding to be bent along the inner and outer margins of said U-shaped portion to define therewith a tooth-enclosing channel, the walls of which receive the impression of the teeth enclosed thereby, said thermo-plastic material having a softening temperature in the range from about 120 F. to about 160 F.
References Qited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,778,293 Galasso Oct. 14, 1930 2,053,914 Mann Sept. 8, 1936 2,857,909 Johnson Oct. 28, 1958 2,985,961 Schwartz May 30, 1961 FOREEGN PATENTS 128,068 Australia Feb. 22, 1946 1,648,382 France Dec. 22, 1953 OTHER REFERENCES Modern Plastics, May 1951, page 61.