US 3496936 A
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K. W. GORES Feb. 24, 1970 MOUTHGUARD Filed Oct. 31, 1967 [II lull W gm rr. MY M a R KFW United States Patent 3,496,936 MOUTHGUARD Kenneth W. Gores, 9831 NE. 16th St., Bellevue, Wash. 98004 Filed Oct. 31, 1967, Ser. No. 679,463 Int. Cl. A611? /56; A61c 5/12; A41d 13/00 U.S. Cl. 128136 4 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A mouthguard has a channel to fit a wearers jaw and includes resilient means to be interposed between both the posterior and anterior teeth of the jaws. In the posterior regions the resilient means is dentated and canted anteriorly whereby pressure on the interposed dentations produces forces urging the mouthguard posteriorly.
BACKGROUND This invention pertains to and has for its main objects the provision of mouthguards formed of resilient material to be worn by athletes and others to reduce tooth and jaw damage when the jaws may be concussed or forceably closed. One problem with prior art devices is that they are easily displaced during use, in part probably due to the bodys natural tendency to reject foreign objects. Another serious problem with prior mouthguards is that insufficient and, in particular, uneven cushioning is provided between the wearers posterior teeth to suitably absorb and distribute concussive forces encountered by the wearers. These and other objects are overcome as disclosed herein.
DRAWINGS FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of the preferred mouthguard;
FIGURE 2 is a plan view from beneath of the mouthguard;
FIGURE 3 is a cross-section on line 3-3;
FIGURE 4 is an enlarged perspective view, partially in section of a portion of the mouthguard underside;
FIGURE 5 is a plan view of a modified form of mouthguard; and
FIGURE 6 is a cross-section on line 66.
SPECIFICATION The mouthguard of FIGURES 1-4 comprises a resilient basemember 10 which includes anterior portion 12 and posterior portions 14 and 16. Anterior portion 12 integrally joins the fronts of posterior portions 14 and 16 whereby the base member is U-shaped. A channel 18 is formed in the base member 10 and is shaped to fit the wearers jaw. The walls of the channel overlie to sides of the teeth, inside and out, and may cover a portion of the gums as desired. Desirably, the channel 18 has a liner 20 of conformable. or plastic material which may be bit into or pressed to a wearers teeth and imprinted to his particular tooth conformation, thus to personalize the mouthguard.
Usually such a mouthguard 10 is worn on the upper jaw, but, obviously, it may be worn on the lower jaw without departing from the invention herein.
Desirably the base member 10 is molded or formed of natural or synthetic resilient compounds of the nature of rubber, rubber-like materials, or plastic such as vinyl compounds and the. like. The important characteristics of such compounds are that they have resilience and conformability, are not unduly firm or hard, and may be cleansed with normally available cleaners, and will withstand for reasonable times the biting forces applied upon closing of the wearers jaws.
It has been determined that the primary site where cushioning is desirable is between the posterior teeth, i.e., in the rear of the mouth. To this end, this mouthguard is provided on the interjaw surface of each posterior portion 14 and 16 with a series of dentations 22 formed of resilient material integral with base member 10. In the form shown in FIGURES l-4, dentations 22 are laterally disposed and extend substantially across the posterior portions of the base member 10. Desirably dentations 22 are anteriorly, i.e., forwardly, canted and terminate in slightly rounded edges.
By reason of the shape and resilience of the series of dentations 22, when they contact the teeth of the opposed jaw, they flex and conform to tooth contours and provide not only a cushioning effect but one that is evenly and uniformly functional between the jaws. The amount of cushioning derived is a function of the depth and frequency of the dentations 22. The forward or anterior cant of the dentations 22 produces a resultant rearward force derived upon tooth contact. Such deflection tends to urge the base member 10 rearward in the mouth, thus maintaining a more secure engagement on the wearers jaw within channel 18. The outer edges of dentations 22 upon tooth contact obtain purchase on the contoured teeth contacted; and while they may bend or distort, there nevertheless is the resultant rearward force on the mouthguard as described. It is preferable that the bottom of channel thickness to the dentations be minimal to insure flexibility of the dentations.
Also of prime importance, it is demonstrable that the opposite forwardly directed force derived from the mouthguard dentations acts upon the lower jaw (when the mouthguard is worn on the upper jaw) and tends to move the condyle downward and forward away from the base of the skull and the thin wall of the. canal to the car. This interrupts the line of force transmission in the opposite direction and serves to avoid injury to other than the teeth and jaws.
Dentations may be divided into juxtaposed sections as best seen in FIGURES 2-4 by means of slits or slots 24 extending antero-posteriorly. In this way the edges of the dentations are feather-like and their conformability may be enhanced or controlled.
When the mouthguard 12 is worn on the lower jaw and it is desired that reaction forces, produced upon jaw closure, be available to tend to move the condyle forward and down, the dentations would normally be canted rearwardly. In such instances the interior of the channel would be shaped or molded to intimately fit and be personalized to receive the lower teeth, thus to prevent dislodgement of the mouthguard.
Skirts 26 and 28 on the inner and outer edges of each posterior portion 14 and 16 cover the dentations and reduce the likelihood of the cheek lining and tongue from entering between the dentations 22 and the teeth of the wearers opposite jaw. The skirts 26, 28 may be omitted in the anterior portion of the base member 10, in which event the skirt is faired forwardly in a smooth line, as shown in FIGURE 1. Preferably the skirts are adjacent but disconnected from the dentations so that they remain smooth and undistorted even though the dentations 22 may be flexed.
In FIGURES 5 and 6 the U-shaped and channeled base member 40 has, on the tooth contacting surfaces in the posterior regions, resilient ridges 42, 42 which are laterally slit at 44 to divide the ridge into a series of dentations. By laterally slitting or dividing the ridge in an anteriorly canted manner, rearward resultant forces are derived as the dentations distort and are pressed upon closure of the jaws. This accommodates and insures conformation to tooth-surface irregularities. Ridges 42 may also be slit antero-posteriorly to vary flexibility and conformability.
From the foregoing it will be seen that here is provided a mouthguard which provides evenly distributed cushioning of a high order between the wearers posterior teeth, a mouthguard which is not easily displaced due to its being repeatedly urged rearward each time the jaws close; and, also, a device that is simple and easy to construct and use, may be maintained clean with ease, and serves highly useful purposes.
It will, of course, be apparent to those skilled in the art that changes and alterations may be desired. All such as fairly fall within the spirit of this invention, having due regard to 'a liberal application of the doctrine of equivalents, are intended to be covered by the invention claimed hereafter.
What is claimed is:
1. A mouthguard, comprising:
a conformable base member including a pair of posterior portions joined by an anterior portion, said base member being U-shaped and having a channel to fit a wearers jaw and be disposed between the upper and lower teeth;
said base member having a series of resilient, laterally disposed, dentations on outer surfaces of each of said posterior portions in positions to engage the tooth contours of the jaw opposite that on which said mouthguard is fitted.
2. The structure according to claim 1 in which the dentations are anteriorly canted.
3. The structure according to claim 1 in which dentations of each series are divided antero-posteriorly into juxtaposed segments.
4. The structure according to claim 1 in which there are means forming skirts adjacent said dentations.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,236,235 2/1966 Jacobs 128--136 3,247,844 4/1966 Berghash 128136 3,319,626 5/1967 Lindsay 128-436 ADELE M. EAGER, Primary Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R. 2-2; 32-14