US 3407809 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 29, 1968 H. M. Rbss 3,407,809
MOUTHP IECE Filed Sept. 26, 1966 25 Z5 INVENTOR 29 HAROLD M-ROSS United States Patent 3,407,809 MOUTHPIECE Harold M. Ross, 3140 W. Walton St., Chicago, Ill. 60622 Filed Sept. 26, 1966, Ser. No. 582,029 4 Claims. (Cl. 128-136) The present invention generally relates to mouthpieces. Particularly the invention relates to a mouth guard for those, such as football players, paratroopers and others who engage in strenuous physical activities.
The use of mouth guards to protect the teeth of persons engaged in physical activities is not new. One class of such guards is connected to gear worn on or about the head so that when the mouth guard is ejected from time to time, it is easily and readily available for subsequent use. Prior devices of the class indicated employ members such as strands or bands for mouthpiece connection to gear. Discomfort is frequently experienced employing prior devices because connecting members frequently are of im proper length for maximum convenience of the user. Moreover, unnecessary slack in a connecting member may provide a ready handle to invite fouling by an opponent in a football scrimmage, for example.
An object of the present invention is the provision of an improved mouthpiece assembly adapted for connection to gear to be worn in and about the head.
Another object of the invention is to provide a mouthpiece assembly adapted for connection to head gear with strap means of adjustable length.
A further object of the invention is the provision for a connector assembly adapted to secure a mouthpiece to head gear, and the like, and having improved adjustable fastening means to selectively vary the length of the connector assembly.
The foregoing and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent upon consideration of the following description and appended claims, when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein the same reference character or numeral refers to like or corresponding parts throughout the several views.
On the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a mouthpiece assembly embodying the present invention and showing it con nected to protective head gear.
FIG. 2 is an enlarged perspective view of the invention.
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the adjustable connector taken substantially along the line 33 of FIG. 2 and looking in the direction of the arrows.
Referring now more particularly to the drawings, in FIG. 1 there is shown protective head gear in the form of a football helmet 10. Helmet may be of conventional construction with a crown cover 11 from the lower end portion of which there extends downwardly a headencircling part 12 with a forehead-covering 13. A pair of opposite templar portions 14 having an occiput covering section 15 is formed integral with such crown cover. A pair of extensions 16 depend from the opposite templar portions 14 and are adapted to cover external ears and side parts of a face in a conventional manner.
An arcuate or bow-shaped framework 17 comprising a face guard has a pair of oppositely extending elongated arms 18. A pair of opposite outer end or connection portions 19 of arms 18 are rigidly secured to the bottoms 21 of the ear cover extensions 16. Suitable fasteners 20, such as rivets or the like, may be used for said last mentioned securance only one of which is seen in the drawings.
The framework 17 comprises a medial frame portion 22 which is projected forwardly from the helmet in a curve in front of the opening or space 23 which normally would be occupied by the face of a user. The medial frame portion 22 may comprise a pair of upper and lower frame Patented Oct. 29, 1968 members 51 and 52 which extend longitudinally of the face guard 17. As fashioned, the frame members 51 and 52 taper from their widest spaced-apart position 53 (which is substantially midway between the opposite end portions 19) toward each other where they merge into the arms 18. A plurality of struts 54 which extend vertically or transversely of the frame members 51 and 52 are therewith integrally fashioned to rigidi-fy the medial frame portion 22.
A protective mouthpiece or denture guard generally designated 31 is adapted for releasable securance to the helmet 10. Said denture guard may be molded or otherwise suitably fabricated from an elastonier which may be a polymerization of, for example, vinyl polymer, or the like, the specific character of which will be appreciated by those skilled in the art when considering the nature of the use to which said guard 31 will be put.
Mouthpiece 31 comprises a U-shaped base 32 which is curved to approximate a normal dental arch. Because of its fabrication, base 32 is flexible or distortable to accommodate variations in the shape of most normal denture arches. An inner side wall 33 and an outer side wall 34, which are substantially parallel to each other and extend normally away from said base, define the limits of a curved or arcuate trough into which natural teeth of either an upper or lower denture of a user will fit with their biting or occlusal ends engaging the inner surface 35 of the base 32. As illustrated in the drawings, the outer side wall 34 may be escalloped to accommodate tissue structure in a normal oral cavity.
The inner surface 35 of the base 32, as well as its exterior surface 55 and the exterior and interior surfaces 56 and 57 of each of the side walls 33 and 34 are smooth, to the end that their surfaces can be cleaned easily and will not trap dirt particles. Thereby continuous use of the device is enabled without the danger of culturing foulsmelling or dangerous bacteria. Occasional light washing will serve to keep the smooth-surfaced appliance clean.
The inner end portion 39 of an elongated preferably elastomer band or strap 38 is rigidly secured to or formed integral with the fabric of the mouthpiece 31. The strap 38 extends forwardly from a normally forward portion 58 of said mouthpiece.
At an outer end portion 40 of said strap 38, there is secured a fastener component, which in the illustrated embodiment is a male member or snap button 41, of a snap fastener. Operably disposed medially of the mouthpiece 31 and said snap button is a snap fastener component, herein a female member or eyelet structure 42 which is slideably adjustable longitudinally of the strap 38. The arrangement of the snap button and eyelet is such that the snap fastener component will be releasably secured together upon looping the strap 38 to turn its outer end portion 40 toward the inner end portion 39 with said snap button and eyelet structure operably facing each other in adjacent disposition and then pressing the opposite portions of the fastener toward each other to engage the snap button in the eyelet structure in a conventional manner.
As illustrated in FIG. 3, the eyelet structure is fashioned as a girdle disposed about the strap 38. The girdle is preferably of plastic fabrication of a character adapted for frictional retention against the strap 38 with a coefficient of friction of a magnitude which will permit said eyelet structure to yield upon application thereto of moderate manual pressure for purpose of adjustment. The eyelet structure may be considered as having a base 24, integral sides 25, and a top wall 26.
In said top wall there is fashioned a hole 27 for reception of said snap button 41. The margins of the hole 27 are slightly elastic; and said hole is proportioned for snapping connection and disconnection of said snap button. As illustrated, the female member may be internally grooved as at 29 by undercutting the sides 25 to provide a tunnel in which the strap 38 is slideable. The groove 29 is proportioned in such a manner that the strap 38 preferably is frictionally engaged along its bottom, its opposite sides, and along side edges of its top. The top wall 26 of the eyelet structure 42 is spaced from the top of the strap 38 to the end that there will be provided between said top wall and the strap 38 a chamber 30 adapted to accommodate said snap button.
From the foregoing, it is observed that the effective length of strap 38 may be selectively varied in fine increments to accommodate the requirements of all persons for whom the mouthpiece is adapted by slideably adjusting the position of the eyelet structure.
As many substitutions or changes could be made in the above described construction and as many apparently widely different embodiments of the invention within the scope of the claims could be constructed without departing from the scope and spirit thereof, it is intended that all matter contained in the accompanying specification shall be interpreted as being illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
1. In a protective mouthpiece comprising a deformable trough adapted for engagement therein of a natural denture and defined by a base and a pair of inner and outer walls extending away from said base, an elongated bendable strap having an inner end portion connected to said outer wall and an outer end portion releasably securable in adjusted position longitudinally of said strap,
- 4 v and fastener means slideably adjustable longitudinally of said strap to which said outer end portion is connected.
2. A protective mouthpiece as defined in claim 1 in which the fastener means comprises a pair of fastener components, one of said fastener components secured to the outer end portion of said strap and the other of said components arranged for sliding on said strap medially of its inner and outer end portions.
3. A protective mouthpiece as defined in claim 1 in which the fastener means is a snap fastener having a male component secured to the outer end portion of said strap and an eyelet structure proportioned for releasable securance of said male component and arranged for sliding movement longitudinally of said strap between said inner and outer end portions.
4. A protective mouthpiece as defined in claim 3 in which the eyelet structure comprises a belt arranged and proportioned for yielding frictional engagement about said strap, said belt having a portion with an eye adapted for projection therethrough of said male component, said portion spaced from said strap to define a pocket for releasable reception of said male component when projected through said eye.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,847,003 8/1958 Helmer et a1. 128-136 3,082,765 3/1963 Helmer 128l36 3,312,218 4/1967 Jacobs 128l36 ADELE M. EAGER, Primary Examiner.