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Publication numberUS3457916 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 29, 1969
Filing dateDec 30, 1966
Priority dateDec 30, 1966
Publication numberUS 3457916 A, US 3457916A, US-A-3457916, US3457916 A, US3457916A
InventorsWolicki Jerry M
Original AssigneePersonalized Equipment Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Protective mouthpiece
US 3457916 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

July} 29, 1969 J- M. woucK':

PROTECTIVE MOUTHPIECE Filed Deb. so. 1966 INVENTOR. Jerry M. Wolicki BY ATTORNEYS I United States Patent 3,457,916 PROTECTIVE MOUTHPIECE Jerry M. Wolicki, Lancaster, N.Y., assignor to Personalized Equipment, Inc., Lancaster, N.Y., a corporation of New York Filed Dec. 30, 1966, Ser. No. 606,169 Int. Cl. A63b 71/00 US. Cl. 128l36 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A protective mouthpiece includes a generally U-shaped base member having a channel in which a filler is enclosed. The base member is molded in one piece from an elastomer to form a web connecting the front and rear walls of the channel for protecting the upper teeth of the user, a lower front wall portion extending below the web for protecting the lower teeth and having a through opening for adequate breathing and speaking, and boss portions arranged on the underside of the web for engagement by the lower molars to prevent complete closure of the upper and lower teeth with the boss portions terminating in depending lug portions fitting along the inside surfaces of such lower molars to prevent undesired lateral movement between the upper and lower teeth. The filler is formed from a combined thermosetting and self-setting elastomer characterized by its ability to receive a dental impression prior to setting, to thermally set at about the body temperature of the user for permanently retaining the impression, and to form an integral chemical bond with the base member.

The present invention relates to improvements in dental appliances, and more particularly to a new and improved protective mouthpiece for wear by those engaged in various contact sports, especially football, to adequately protect their teeth, jaws and lips, while permitting adequate breathing and intelligible vocal communication.

A typical mouthpiece is composed of a generally U- shaped base member having a generally U-shaped channel adapted to fit over the upper or lower teeth, usually the upper teeth. A filler is contained within the channel for receiving and retaining a dental impression once the mouthpiece is fitted, and for absorbing or cushioning the force of a blow against the face of the wearer, in order to prevent or minimize damage to the teeth, jaws or lips.

However, there are a number of disadvantages attendant with such typical mouthpiece. In one instance, the filler is formed of a heat softening and cold setting material, requiring heating of the filler to a temperature substantially above the users body temperature prior to insertion into the mouth for taking of the impression, followed by chilling of the filler while inserted to a temperature substantially below body temperature, for permanently retaining the impression. Obviously, subjection of the users mouth to such a wide range of temperatures not only results in substantial discomfort, but also can damage the sensitive tissues within the mouth. In another instance, the filler material is of the non-setting variety in that it can be molded and remolded without the application of heat and cold. This eliminates the discomfort and possible damage caused by the thermosetting filler, but is bothersome in the following respects. First of all, its putty-like nature does not provide a permanent impression of the teeth, and therefore it is not as effective in absorbing the shock of the inflicted blows, resulting in greater likelihood of injury. Secondly, if the user does not take meticulous care in removal and insertion of the mouthpiece, he must retake the impression each time for "ice a proper fit, and this he can not always do while engaged in competition.

Another disadvantage of either type of filler is that it does not form an integral chemical bond with the base member, but is secured therein either by mechanical means and/ or a layer of adhesive. As a consequence, separation of'the filler or a part thereof from the base member is likely, especially after a short period of use. This, of course, renders the mouthpiece useless for all practical purposes.

Moreover, as pointed out above, such typical mouthpiece is designed to fit over only one set of teeth, usually the uppers. As a consequence the lower teeth, gums, jaw and lip are not adequately protected. Actually, limiting the protection to the users upper teeth is a compromise which has been arrived at in order to permit the user to breathe adequately and to converse intelligently with his teammates. These two requirements are essential for football players, among others, and particularly the quarterback, who must make himself understood clearly in calling each play.

Accordingly, a primary object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved protective mouthpiece which is so constructed and designed as to overcome these various disadvantages of such typical mouthpieces.

Another object is to provide such a mouthpiece incorporating an elastomeric filler material which is not only thermosetting for retaining a permanent dental impression, but also is self-setting at about the body temperature of the wearer to facilitate taking of the impression without discomfort or damage to his mouth tissues and without requiring the application of any external heat or cold treatment.

A further object is to provide such a mouthpiece incorporating an elastomeric filler which forms an integral chemical bond with the base member upon setting for permanent retention in the channel.

Another object is to provide such a mouthpiece incorporating a base member which is so constructed and designed as to fit over both the upper and lower teeth of the user for adequate protection of his upper and lower teeth, gums, jaws and lips.

A further object is to provide such a mouthpiece incorporating a base member which is so constructed and designed as to permit the wearer to breathe adequately and to converse intelligently with his teammates.

Another object is to provide such a mouthpiece which is so constructed and designed as to induce the flow of saliva in the users mouth, thereby avoiding a dry mouth condition to facilitate continuous wear of the mouthpiece.

Additional objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description and accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a base member forming part of a preferred embodiment of the inventive mouthpiece;

FIG. 2 is a bottom perspective view of such base member;

FIG. 3- is a front elevational view thereof;

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view thereof;

FIG. 5 is a section taken on line 5--5 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a section similar to FIG. 5, but showing the filler in place in the channel of the base member;

FIG. 7 is a section similar to FIG. 6, but showing the mouthpiece inserted inthe users mouth during and after 7, taking of the dental impression;

FIG. 8 is a section similar to FIG. 7, but showing the completed mouthpiece after taking of the impression, and FIG. 9 is a top plan view of the completed mouthpiece. Referring to the drawings, and particularly FIGS. 8 and 9, a protective mouthpiece constituting a preferred embodiment of the invention is generally indicated at 10. This mouthpiece includes a base member 12 and a filler 14. The base member 12 is of generally U-shape and is molded in one piece from an elastomer to include a generally U-shaped channel 16 within which filler 14 is enclosed. This filler is formed from a combined thermosetting and self-setting elastomer characterized by its ability to receive a dental impression prior to setting, to thermally set at about the body temperature of the user for permanently retaining the impression, and to form an integral chemical bond with base member 12 upon setting for permanent retention within channel 16.

The preferred elastomer of the base member 12 is a thermoplastic styrene-butadiene-styrene block copolymeric composition which has the traditional rubbery properties of snappy recovery, high resilience, flexibility and low set, combined with the efficiency of conventional thermoplastic processing techniques which are achieved without the use of curatives and vulcanization. There are a number of these s-b-s compositions available, such as the styrenebutadiene-styrene composition of Table I in US. Patent 3,265,765, as well as similar compositions also manufactured by Shell Chemical Company under the designations Thermolastic 200, 201, 226 and referred to on pp. 71-74 of Rubber Age, October 1966. However, Therrnolastic 226 White is most preferred because of its extensive use successfully as tubing in milk dispensing machines, thereby demonstrating its acceptability under stringent sanitary requirements, and because of its lower hardness. Hence, the resulting molded base member 12 exhibits a Shore A durometer hardness range of about 3540, indicating sulficient elasticity and resiliency to provide the desired shock absorbing characteristics.

In molding base member 12, it is preferred that a minor amount of peppermint oil be added to the s-b-s composition, say seven milligrams per eight grams of elastomer per base member. The peppermint oil acts as a saliva inducer to avoid a dry mouth condition, thereby facilitating continuous wear of the mouthpiece.

The preferred elastomer of filler 14 is, in its initial state, a viscous fiuid composition formed from a mixture of an acrylic powder and an acrylic liquid monomer, the powder and liquid being kept separate until it is time to take the desired dental impression; whereupon they are thoroughly mixed and spread throughout channel 16. The acrylic powder is preferably an ethyl methacrylate polymer, which preferably contains a minor amount of white pigment, say about 1 part titanium dioxide per 1000 parts of polymer. The acrylic liquid preferably is composed of an ethyl methacrylate monomer and dibutyl phthalate plasticizer, with about 1 part of the monomer per 9 parts of the phthalate. When forming the desired mixture, the proportion of powder to liquid employed preferably ranges, by weight, from about 1.4 parts to about 1.6 parts of powder per part of liquid, with the optimum ratio being about 1.5/1.

It has been found that such non-toxic elastomer of filler 14 has the desired combined thermo-setting and selfsetting characteristics for facilitating the taking and retaining of a permanent dental impression without the application of any external heat, except that produced by normal body temperature, and without the application of external cold for setting and hardening of the filler. In addition, it has been found that the filler elastomer forms an integral chemical bond with base member 12 upon setting, and thus insures permanent retention of filler 14 within channel 16. Moreover, after setting, filler 14 exhibits a Shore A durometer hardness range of about 20-25, indicating that it is even softer than base member 12, thereby possessing even greater shock absorbing characteristics.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-5, base member 12 is molded in one piece into a generally U-shape, and preferably crescent-like shape, in that the rear free end portions of the base member are sprung slightly inwardly toward each other to ensure a firm fit when spread apart during insertion of the mouthpiece into the mouth of the wearer. The generally U-shaped channel 16 extends completely around base member 12 from its closed front end portion to its open rear end portions, and is formed by the rear side or surface of an upstanding and relatively tall and thick, front peripheral wall portion 18, the front side or surface of an upstanding and relatively short and thin, rear peripheral wall portion 20 and the adjacent upper side or surface of a relatively wide and thick transverse web portion 22 connecting such front and rear wall portions.

The front wall portion 18 also extends downwardly beyond the opposite under or lower side or surface of web portion 22 for fitting over and adequately protecting the lower teeth as well as the upper teeth, and is provided with preferably a single central and elongated through opening 24 extending along the front end portion of base member 12 adjacent and immediately beneath the lower side of web portion 22. This opening permits passage of air into the mouth for adequate breathing even when the teeth are closed, and also facilitates speaking by the wearer for intelligible vocal communication to others.

Front wall portion 18 is also provided with central notches 26 and 28 in its opposite free upper and lower edges respectively, at the front portion of base member 12 to accommodate the membranes connecting the lips and gums of the user. The rounded upper edge of front wall portion 18 gradually tapers rearwardly and downwardly along the rear end portions of the base member toward the upper side of web portion 22, finally merging with the shorter upper free edge of rear wall portion 20 at such rear end portions. The lower rounded edge of front wall portion 18 likewise tapers rearwardly and upwardly along the rear end portions of base member 12 toward the lower side of web portion 22; however, the taper is steeper to facilitate insertion into the mouth of the user.

As best seen in FIG. 1, a plurality of salients in the form of nubs 30 project upwardly into channel 16 from the upper side of web portion 22, and are spaced longitudinally along the rear end portions of base member 12 toward its closed front end portion. These nubs 30 increase the surface area of contact between filler 14 and base member 12 and mechanically enhance the bond between the filler and the base member.

Referring now to FIGS. 2, 5 and 6 in particular, a pair of diametrically opposed and substantially flat boss portions 32 project downwardly from the underside of web portion 22 intermediate the front and rear portions of base member 12 for engagement by the lower molars of the user to prevent the upper and lower teeth from being completely closed, when mouthpiece 10 is inserted into the users mouth as shown in FIG. 7. Thus, any sudden blows tending to jam the teeth together are effectively resisted by these bosses 32. In addition, the bosses terminate at their inner periphery in further downwardly projecting lug portions 34 which are elongated and preferably slightly curved along the rear end portions of base member 12. These lug portions are designed to fit snugly along the inside surfaces of the lower molars of the user, as also shown in FIG. 7, and effectively prevent undesirable relative lateral movement between the upper and lower teeth. Lug portions 34 are particularly useful in preventing injury to the teeth, gums, jaws and lips of the wearer resulting from a sudden blow to the side of the lower or upper jaw.

When the mouthpiece 10 is ready for completion, this is accomplished by following the steps indicated in FIGS. 68. First of all, the powder and liquid are mixed together and the viscous filler 14 is spread within and throughout channel 16, as indicated in FIG. 6. Next, the user carefully inserts mouthpiece 10 into his mouth and forms the desired dental impression of his upper teeth, as illustrated in FIG. 7. After a relatively short period of about four or five minutes, filler 14 sets sufficiently to permanently retain the impression and bond with base member 12, whereupon mouthpiece can be removed. While no further heat or cold treatment is necessary, it is preferred that the mouthpiece be rinsed in tap water to remove saliva and any loose particles of the filler which might undesirably alter the impression. Likewise, it is preferred that the mouthpiece not be used for a period of about two hours, in order to permit complete hardening of filler 14, whereupon any excess filler then can be trimmed off to provide the completed mouthpiece which is ready for use, as illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9. During use, the wearer can readily move his jaws and articulate his tongue for proper breathing and intelligible speaking purposes, because the intimate fit of the filler 14 around the upper teeth will hold the mouthpiece in place thereon, while the opening 24 facilitates the desired passage of air.

It will now be seen how the invention accomplishes its various objectives, and the numerous advantages thereof likewise will be evident. While the invention has been described and illustrated herein by reference to a single preferred embodiment, it is to be understood that various changes and modifications may be made therein, without departing from the inventive concept, the scope of which is to be determined by the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. A protective mouthpiece comprising a generally U- shaped base member molded in one piece from an elastomer comprising a thermoplastic styrene-butadiene-styrene block copolymeric composition and including a generally U-shaped channel, and a filler enclosed within said channel, said filler being formed from a self-setting elastomer characterized by its ability to receive a dental impression prior to setting, to thermally set at about body temperature for permanently retaining such impression, and to form an integral chemical bond with said base member upon setting for permanent retention within said channel, the elastomer of said filler comprising a fluid composition formed from a mixture of an acryilc powder comprising an ethyl methacrylate polymer and an acrylic liquid comprising an ethyl methacrylate monomer and bibutyl phthalate.

2. The mouthpiece of claim 1 wherein said block copolymeric composition contains a minor amount of a saliva inducer, the proportion of powder to liquid employed in forming said mixture ranges, by weight, from about 1.4 to about 1.6 parts of powder per part of liquid, and said liquid contains about 1 part of said monomer per 9 parts of said phthalate.

3. A protective mouthpiece comprising a generally U- shaped base member molded in one piece from an elastomer and including a generally U-shaped channel extending around said base member from its closed front end portion to its open rear end portions and being formed by the front side of a rear peripheral wall portion, the rear side of a front peripheral wall portion and the adjacent side of a web portion connecting said front and rear wall portions, said front wall portion extending beyond the opposite side of said web portion and having a through opening extending along said front end portion adjacent said opposite side, said base member also including a pair of diametrically opposed boss portions projecting from said opposite side intermediate said front and rear end portions and terminating at their inner peripheries in further projecting lug portions.

4. The mouthpiece of claim 3 wherein said base member also includes a plurality of salients projecting into said channel from said adjacent side and spaced longitudinally along said rear end portions toward said front end portion.

5. The mouthpiece of claim 4 wherein said front wall portion is provided with notches in its opposite free edges at said front end portion, with one of said free edges tapering rearwardly toward said adjacent side and merging with the shorter free edge of said rear wall portion at said rear end portions, and with the other of said free edges tapering rearwardly toward said opposite side.

*6. A protective mouthpiece comprising a generally U- shaped base member molded in one piece from an elastomer and including a generally U-shaped channel, and a filler enclosed within said channel, said channel extending around said base member from its closed front end portion to its open rear end portions and being formed by the front side of a rear peripheral wall portion, the rear side of a front peripheral wall portion and the adjacent upper side of a web portion connecting said front and rear wall portions, said front wall portion extending downwardly beyond the opposite lower side of said web portion and having a through opening extending along said front end portion adjacent said lower side, and said filler being formed from a self-setting elastomer characterized by its ability to receive a dental impression prior to setting, to thermally set at about body temperature for permanently retaining such impression, and to form an integral chemical bond with said base member upon setting for permanent retention within said channel.

7. The mouthpiece of claim 6 wherein said base member also includes a plurality of salients projecting upwardly into said channel and filler from said upper side and spaced longitudinally along said rear end portions toward said front end portion, and the elastomer of said base member comprises a thermoplastic block copolymeric composition.

8. The mouthpiece of claim 6 wherein said base member also includes a pair of diametrically opposed boss portions projecting downwardly from said lower side intermediate said front and rear end portions and terminating at their inner peripheries in further downwardly projecting lug portions, and the elastomer of said filler comprises a fluid composition formed from a mixture of an acrylic powder and an acrylic monomeric liquid.

9. The mouthpiece of claim 8 wherein said base member also includes a plurality of salients projecting upwardly into said channel and filler from said upper side and spaced longitudinally along said rear end portions toward said front end portion, the elastomer of said base member comprises a thermoplastic styrene-butadienestyrene block copolymeric composition, said acrylic powder comprises an ethyl methacrylate polymer, and said acrylic liquid comprises an ethyl methacrylate monomer and dibutyl phthalate.

10. The mouthpiece of claim 9 wherein said front wall portion is provided with notches in its opposite free upper and lower edges at said front end portion, with said upper edge tapering rearwardly and downwardly toward said upper side and merging with the shorter free upper edge of said rear wall portion at said rear end portions, and with said lower edge tapering rearwardly and upwardly toward said lower side, said block copolymeric composition contains a minor amount of saliva inducer, the proportion of powder to liquid employed in forming said mixture ranges, by weight, from about 1.4 to about 1.6 parts of powder per part of liquid, and said liquid contains about 1 part of said monomer per 9 parts of said phthalate.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,521,039 9/1950 Carpenter 128-136 3,124,129 3/1964 Grossberg 128l36 3,211,143 10/1965 Grossberg l28-136 3,247,844 4/1966 Berghash 128136 ADELE M. EAGER, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 2-9; 32-6O

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Classifications
U.S. Classification128/862, 433/6, 2/9
International ClassificationA63B71/08
Cooperative ClassificationA63B71/085
European ClassificationA63B71/08M