US 3223085 A
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BeC-14,1965*` K-.'w.GoREsE1-AL 3,223,085
MOUTHGUARD Filed Deo. 2, 1963 United States Patent Oil Tice 3,223,085 Patented Dec. 14, 1965 3,223,085 MOUTHGUARD Kenneth W. Gores, 9831 NE. 16th St., and Patrick D. Kenner, 9849 NE. 21st Place, both of Bellevue, Wash. Filed Dec. 2, 1963, Ser. No. 327,451 6 Claims. (Cl. 12S-136) This invention is related to an intra-oral protective device and, more particularly, to la mouthguard to be worn by athletes for protecting the teeth and related oral structures from injury.
Our invention is designed to produce a substantially rigid splint to distribute the force of any traumatic impact over a large area, thus preventing a fracture at the point of impact and at the same time by the use of a yieldable material reduce the resultant force of impact,
Among other important objects of this invention has been the provision, in a resilient mouthpiece, of a rigid splint so incorporated and located as to distribute the force of a traumatic impact over a large area to reduce the effect of `such force applied more locally; to provide a mouthpiece which includes tension means operable to grip the upper dental arch from side to side to facilitate maintaining the mouthpiece in place; to produce an intraoral protector having a rigid splint incorporated therein so that, even though the mouth piece body was molded of a resilient material, the splint does not require being cast in place; to provide a mouthpiece which by the use of a polymerizable, yieldable material may be personalized to accurately tit the oral structure of a user; and which mouthpiece and its yieldable material may also include reinforcing and abrasion resistant bers; land the provision in a mouthguard of a pneumatic cushion disposed in the occlusal area of the posterior .and possibly the anterior teeth to reduce bite through as `well as to reduce the transmission of shocking forces between the IJaws.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will become more apparent during the course of the following specification taken in view of the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. l is a lower, front perspective View of an intraoral protective defective dev-ice according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view from above, of a device according to this invention, looking into a trough which receives yieldable tooth-structure conforming material;
FIG. 3 is a plan view of the protective device;
FIG. 4 is a face view in perspective from below of rigid splint employed in the protective device;
FIG. 5 is a cross-section taken on line 5-5 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a cross-section taken on line 6 6 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 7 is a cross-section view taken on line 7-7 of FIG. 3.
In general, this intra-oral protective device is formed of a yieldable, resilient material, preferably a material having rubber-like characteristics. Polyvinylchloride is a very suitable material for molding this protective device. The principal elements of the device are a U-shaped base member 10 adapted to be disposed over and between the upper and/ or lower teeth of a user. There are upstanding buccal and lingual walls 112 and d4 respectively along each of the peripheral edges of the U-shaped base, the upstanding lingual wall being shortened to include only the coronal port-ions of the teeth. The walls and the base are integral and form a trough in which the upper or lower teeth are disposed. A plastic yieldable filler material is placed in the trough and when applied to the users upper or lower teeth, the same is molded and shaped to an exact fit of the contours of the arch .and of the teeth. Thereupon, through chemical reaction in situ, the filler material 16 is fused and set. In this way, the device is personalized to the user.
An important aspect of the invention is the improvement which resides in forming the anterior portion of the outer wall with a slit pocket 18 that extends from side to side approximately between the left and the right bicuspid teeth. Of course, the extension of this pocket may be varied as to length depending upon the number of teeth in the upper jaw it is desired to traverse.
A rigid arcuate, lsplint plate 20, is disposed in the slit pocket. It is preferable that the plate be formed of stainless steel or the equivalent, that it be resilient, that it be thin in the range of about 0.0l-O.02, and that the plate extend from end to end of the pocket 18. Means are provided for sealing the mouth 22 of said pocket 4along the upper edge of the outer front wall. Such means restrains the plate `from upward displacement lfrom the pocket. In the instance where the protective device is molded from polyvinylchloride this sealing means is accompli-shed simply by a fusion together of the lips of the pocket mouth 22. This fusion is easily accomplished by the application of heat or of an adhesive material.
In one form of the invention, the arcuate splint plate 20, intermediate its upper and lower edges, is provided from end to end with concavo-convex ridge or rib 24. A second rib 26 may be added as desired. In place, the concave portion of the ridge or rib is disposed adjacent the labial surfaces of the users front teeth. The splint plate may be resilient between its ends and be more sharply curved than is the curvature of the outer wall and its pocket.
It is desirable that splint .20 have a length suicient to include lthe upper anterior teeth. However, in the case where the splint is extended to include the posterior teeth, its springy action can be utilized to aid retention of the mouthguard. In sports other than football, a more abreviated form of the mouthguard may be used, in which case this additional retention would be necessary. When the plate 20 is in place, it imparts an inward pressure on the buccal wall 12 of the mouthguard and biases the buccal wall to close yContact with the upper dental arch. The desired arching or curving of the splint may ybe accomplished 4after the mouthguard is personalized by the setting of the filler material 16. The lsplint in such instance can ybe manually shaped to the arc of a smaller circle, thereby rendering it slightly more curved than the individual dental arch. This is best accomplished after the ller material 16 has set.
The base 10 may either be thickened to provide resistance to bite-through or, more preferably, it may be molded with a chamber 30 which when sealed comprises a pneumatic cushion in the occlusal area. This occlusal air chamber may be U-shaped, having two collapsed, vertical, potential air spaces 41 and 42 in communication with it. The vertical potential air spaces would be inflated when the occlusal air chamber 30 is placed under compression by the force of occlusion. This inflation of the vertical air spaces 41, 42 will force the thin buccal and lingual walls against the ller material and thence against the teeth increasing retention of the mouthguard. The walls of the air chamber adjacent the filler material are preferably relatively thinner than the outer or opposite buccal, lingual and occlusal walls of the trough.
Referring to FIG. 6 the protector is shown in place. An anterior tooth 32 of the users upper jaw is shown embedded in the filler material 16 in a close fitting relationship. Splint plate 20, with its ridges 24 and 26 directed forward, is disposed in pocket 18. The mouth 26 of pocket 18 is sealed to retain the plate.
FIG. 7 is a similar cross-section taken in the rear of the dental arch. A pneumatic cushion formed by chamber 30 underlies bottom wall 10 and communicates with potential chambers 41, 42, which after formation during molding area sealed at any open edges resulting from molding requirements. The users posterior teeth, in occluded position, bite on and tend to compress cushion 30 and expand the collapsed, communicating leg portions 41, 42 of the U-shaped air chamber. When the mouthguard is being fitted to the user his name may be inscribed on a card 44 and the same inserted into one of the chambers 41, 42 through an overlapping slit on the tooth side of the trough, which is then sealed by the addition of the filler material. In this way the mouthguard, in addition to being accurately fitted to the user, is marked with the users name.
It has also been yfound desirable to increase the attractiveness of the device to its user. By adding a longlived avoring to the filler material 16, the use of the device, aside from its functional purposes, may thus be made more attractive and insure its being in place and used when needed.
We have found that considerable care has to be exercised when the mouthguard and the filler material 16, still in its unshaped form, is first placed in the mouth, so that the lingual wall 14 is not distorted or ared away from the lingual surfaces of the teeth an undesirable distance. This can be accomplished by fitting a U-shaped metallic retainer clip around the outside of the trough in the posterior areas during the shaping of the filler material 16. Such U-shaped members should be designed to rigidify both the buccal and the lingual walls 12 and 14, thus preventing their fiaring. They should be thin and easily removed after the filler material 16 has set in its molded shape. By so doing, it is possible that the upper edges of walls 12 and 14 can be caused to lie in close relationship to the gun to eliminate the protruding edges or ridges that may not only be uncomfortable but, along the lingual surface, may be engaged by the tongue in such a way as to cause the mouthguard to be displaced during use. The rigid U-shaped retainer clip also serves the purpose of preventing the air in chamber 30 being compressed to force air up with the buccal and lingual potential air spaces 41, 42 during the fitting process.
Having thus described our invention, we claim:
1. In an intra-oral protective device formed in U-shape of a molded resilient material and including a U-shaped base adapted to be disposed between the upper and lower teeth and having upstanding inner and outer walls along the peripheral edges of the base and forming a trough in which the upper teeth and/ or lower teeth are enclosed, the improvement comprising: said outerwall having a slit-pocket in the anterior area; a vertically rigid, arcuate, metallic plate disposed in said slit-pocket; and means sealing the mouth of said pocket and restraining said plate from upward displacement therefrom.
2. The subject matter of claim 1 in which the arcuate plate is provided from end-to-end, intermediate its upper and lower edges with a concavo-convex ridge, the convex portion of which is disposed forwardly.
3. The subject matter of claim 1 in which the arcuate plate is resilient between itsfends and has a curvature shorter than the curvature of the outer wall and of its slit-pocket.
4. The subject matter of claim 1 in which the U-shaped base is provided with a contiguous arcuate air chamber located to be disposed between the teeth when the users mouth is closed.
5. The subject matter of claim 4, in which there is a normally collapsed slit pocket in side wall of the trough in communication with said air chamber.
6. The subject matter of claim 4 in which, in the side wall slit pocket there is placed an identification label and the material of the side wall permits viewing of the same externally of the protective device.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,089,487 5/1963 Enicks et al. 12S-136 ADELE M. EAGER, Primary Examiner.