US 3518988 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
K. W. GQRES July 7, 1970 MOUTHGUARD Filed Dec. 5, '1967 UnitedStates Patent Olhce 3,518,988 Patented July 7 1970 MOUTHGUARD KennethW-x Gares, 983-17-NE. #16th St.,
`Bellvl`le, Wash'. 98004 Filed Dec. 5, 1967, Ser. No. 688,172 Int. Cl. A61f 5/00 U.S. Cl. 128--136 3 Claims ABSTRACT F THE DISCLOSURE A resilient U-shaped mouthguard having a fore-and Vaft external resilient ridge on the posterior arm portions to be disposed between the wearers jaw when the guard is worn to absorb shock.
CROSS REFERENCES Applicant is a joint-patentee in U.S. Pat. No. 3,223,085 and is the applicant in co-pending U.S. application Ser. No. 679,463, led Oct. 31, 1967.
BACKGROUND Prior known mouthguardsprovide shock absorbent functions byfreason of thick but compressible bases disposed between the teeth as in U.S. Pat. No; 3,223,085 or pneumatically by a compressible chamber formed in the base. Diiculty has been encountered with prior devices where the tooth contacting surface'is substantially planar due to the absence of interlock between the guard and the teeth opposite those on which the guard is worn. Also, where the shock absorbent base is substantially uniform in thickness across the guard channel there is a tendency for the wearer to bite throughand then destroy the eife'ctiveness of the guard. Likewise, forces are generated when the wearer bites down that tend to displace the guard from the jaw on which it is worn, causing discomfort and requiring manual replacement.
PURPOSES This invention 'has for its primary purpose the provision of lirm but resilient members carried on the exterior of a mouthguard and which interlock and intert with the teeth of the jaw opposite that on which the guard is worn, to provide shock absorbent properties with security of the guard as to placement, less bite through, and greater comfort.
THE DRAWINGS FIG. l is an external plan view of the mouthguard; FIG. 2 is a side view of the mouthguard with the jaw structure suggested by dotted lines; and a FIG. 3 is an enlarged cross-section taken on line 3-3 of FIG. 2.
DESCRIPTION The mouthguard comprises posterior portions 12 and 14 joined forwardly by anterior portion 16 to form the base member which is generally U-shaped in the manner and proportions of human jaw. In cross-section the posterior portions 12 and 14 (as shown in FIG. 3) and the anterior portion are channeled. The guard embraces the wearers teeth of one jaw and adjacent portions of the gums.
The material from which the guard is molded desirably has resilience and conformability4 so that a standard molded base member will be adaptable to a reasonable range of jaw sizes and shapes, and to various tooth configuratons. Preferably, the base member is molded of one of the vinyl resins, for example, although it will be apparent that rubber, polyvinyl chloride, and urethane may also be used.
The channel may contain liner 18 which can be molded to the wearers teeth.
The novelty herein is the provision, on a conformable mouthguard base member formed. of resilient material, of prominent fore-and-aft ridges 20 and 22 external of the channel bottom of each posterior portion 12 and 14, respectively. Each ridge extends rearwardly from a location adjacent the wearers rst bicuspid as shown in FIG. 2. The prominence or mass of the ridges may be varied with respect to that shown to increase or decrease the force-absorbing characteristics. Or the material from which the ridges or concussive pads are formed may have more or a different resilience by comparison with the material of which the base member 10 is molded. It has been found possible to mold ridges of one material having a chosen durometer and fuse them to a base member having greater resilience but also substantially less durometer hardness than the ridges. Another choice is to extrude strips of material of thel desired cross-section and from such cut pads longer or shorter than the mean to meet varying conditions. The fusion of the pads to the base member may be adhesively or by interaction of the materials. When fitting to the wearer occurs under conditions involving pressures, it will probably be desirable to cover the concussive pads with metallic shields that absorb pressure and prevent the pads 'being crushed out of shape.
As shown in FIG. 3, the guard is disposed on an upper jaw 26 and the ridge 22 is directed downward toward the lower jaw 28. The cheek surface is to the left in FIG. 3 and the tongue is to the right. The upright plane 30-30 medially divides the upper jaw. It will be seen that the axis of ridge 22 is displaced inward of plane 30-30, thus locating the ridge in the natural grooves and contours of lower teeth.
While the guard is shown herein as adapted for and worn on the upper jaw, it will be apparent that mouthguards may also be Worn on the lower jaw 28 with effective shock-absorbing benefits. In such case, the ridges on the posterior arms 12 and 14 will desirably be located outward for an upright plane medially dividing the lower jaw wherebyl the ridges then are located to mate with the natural grooves and contours of the upper jaw 26.
'In FIG. l the fore-and-aft course of ridges 20 and 22 are shown as substantially straight. However, they may course in a slight curve in which the convexity is inward to thus accommodate a more rounded jaw structure.
It will he apparent to those skilled in the pertinent art that changes of materials may 'be made, the molded contours may be altered, and proportions may vary. All such as reasonably fall within the spirit and scope of the subjoined claims, giving due consideration to an appropriately liberal application of the rule of equivalents is intended to be covered by this patent.
What is claimed is:
1. A mouthguard, comprising:
a conformable base member, formed of resilient Inaterial, including a pair of posterior portions joined by an anterior portion, said base member being generally U-shaped and having a channel to embrace a wearers jaw so that the channel bottom is disposed between the upper and lower teeth;
on each of said posterior portions of said base member and external of said channel bottom, a prominent resilient ridge, each said ridge extending posteriorly `from adjacent a wearers first bicuspid to near the rear of its associated posterior portion, and each ridge having sloping sides merging to define a ridge crest, to be disposed posteriorly-anteriorly and located to bear on the teeth of the jaw opposite that on which said mouthguard is worn.
3 2. The structure according to claim 1 in which the channel iS adapted to be worn on the wearers upper jaw and the axis of each said ridge is inward of the median of the posterior portion on which said ridge is located. 3. The structure according to claim 1 in which the material forming the ridge has less resilience than the material forming the base member.
'4 References Cited UNITED STATES' PATENTS" LAWRENCE W. TRAPP, `irirxnajgy Eaniner