US 3532091 A
Abstract available in
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Martin D. Lerman 144 Ravine Drive, Highland Park, Illinois  Appl No. 828,841
 Filed May 29, 1969  Patented Oct. 6,1970
Continuation-impart of application Ser. No. 726,042, May 2, 1968, now pending. This application May 29, 1969, Ser. No. 828,841
 Inventor  MOUTHPIECE 7 Claims, 24 Drawing Figs.
 U.S.Cl 128/136,
32/191128/260  1nt.Cl A61f5/56  Field ofSearch 128/136,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,934,688 11/1933 Ackerman 32/5 3,223,085 12/1965 Gores et al.. 128/136 2,937,443 5/1960 Skinner 32/19 3,060,935 10/1962 Riddell 128/260 3,161,956 12/1964 VanCourteta 32/19 Primary ExaminerAdele M. Eager Atmrne Dawson, Tilton, Fallon and Lungmus ABSTRACT: A mouthpiece particularly suitable for contact sports which cushions and distributes ltorce transmitted to the wearer's face and jaws rather than merely cushioning the force. The mouthpiece includes a closed passage-providing portion which contains a fluid, and the passage-providing portion is disposed either adjacent the labial surface of the teeth, between the occlusal surfaces of the upper and lower teeth, or
in both positions. The closed fluid passage hydrostatically distributes force exerted at one point thereon over a much greater area, thereby decreasing the detrimental effect of the blow.
Patented Oct. 6, 1970 3,532,091
Sheet 1 0f 2 Patented Oct. 6, 1970 Sheet 2 of2 This application is a continuation-in-part of my prior copending application entitled lntra-Oral Corrective Device", Ser. No. 726,042, filed May 2,1968.
BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY This invention relates to a mouth guard, and, more particularly, to a mouth guard which finds particular utility for use in contact sports.
Mouthpieces heretofore available are generally formed of solid, somewhat elastic material. This material is inserted between the upper and lower teeth of the wearer, and serves to cushion the force of a blow which is transmitted, say, to the mandible, or lower jaw, of the wearer. However, considerable force would still be transmitted from the mandible to the maxilla or upper jaw, and serious damage could result to the teeth, bones and muscle.
The inventive mouthpiece not only cushions the force of a blow, but distributes and dissipates the force over a greater area, thereby greatly reducing the likelihood of permanent damage. The mouthpiece is provided with a fluid-containing closed passage, and aforce which is exerted on one portion of the passage is hydrostatically distributed and dissipated over substantially the entire area of the passage.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING mouthpiece;
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along the line 6-6 of FIG.
FIG. 7 is a top plan view of another embodiment of the mouthpiece;
FIG. 8 is a sectional view taken along the line 8-8 of FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is a top plan view, partially broken away, of another embodiment of the mouthpiece;
FIG. 10 is a sectional view taken along the line 10-10 of FIG. 9;
FIG. 11 is a view similar to FIG. 10 showing another embodiment of the mouthpiece;
FIG. 12 is a top plan view, partially broken away, of still another embodiment of the mouthpiece;
FIG. 13 is a top plan view of another embodiment of the mouthpiece;
FIG. 14 is a sectional view taken along the line 14-14 of FIG. 13;
FIG. 15 is a top plan view of another embodiment of the mouthpiece;
FIG. 16 is a sectional view taken along the line 16-16 of FIG. 15;
FIG. 17 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along the line 17-17 ofFIG.15; 1
FIG. 18 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 17 showing the upper and lower teeth of the wearer compressing the mouthpiece;
FIG. 19 is a top plan view of another embodiment of the mouthpiece;
FIG. 20 is a sectional view taken along the line 20-20 of FIG. 19;
FIG. 21 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of a portion of FIG. 19;
FIG. 22 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along the line 22-22 ofFIG. 19;
FIG. 23 is a top plan view of another embodiment of the mouthpiece; and
FIG. 24 is a sectional view taken along the line 24-24 of FIG. 22.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Each of. the embodiments of the mouthpieces illustrated in the drawing is formed of a relatively flexible material which provides at least one closed, internal passage. The passage contains a fluid, either liquid or gas. The mouthpiece may be constructed so that a fluid-containing passage is located in one of several positions between the occlusal surfaces of the upper and lower teeth, adjacent the labial surfaces of either or both of the upper or lower teeth, or both between the upper and lower teeth and adjacent the labial surfaces. When force is exerted on the upper or lower jaw, the closed fluid passage distributes and dissipates the force over substantially the entire surface area of the passage, thereby greatly decreasing the shock and damaging effect of the blow.
Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2,mouthpiece 30 is seen to be generally arcuately shaped and is formed by a generally tubular body 31 having closed ends 32 and 33. The tubular body 31 is hollow and provides a fluid passage 34 therein, which is at least partially filled with a fluid or fluid-like substance. The fluid may be any suitable non-toxic substance, such as water, glycerin, and the like, or the fluid could be a gas.
The tubular body 31 is formed of a relatively flexible material, such as rubber, plastic, or the like, and, if desired, the material may also be relatively elastic and resilient. The body may be formed integrally in a variety of ways, asby molding, extruding, etc. Alternatively, the body may be formed of upper and lower layers which are joined by heatsealing, adhesive, or the like.
The mouthpiece 30 conforms generally to the contour of the dental arch of the wearer and is adapted to be worn adjacent the labial surfaces of the upper and lower teeth between the teeth and lips T of the wearer. The end portions of the mouthpiece extend rearwardly along the dental arch adjacent the buccal surfaces of the teeth, i.e. between the teeth and cheeks.
Referring to FIG. 2, the vertical cross-sectional dimension of the mouthpiece has a rather substantial vertical extent, and extends in covering relationship with both the upper set of teeth T and the lower set of teeth T When pressure is applied against a portion of the mouthpiece 30 causing that portion to compress somewhat, fluid within the passage 33 adjacent that portion flows to the remainder of the passage to distribute the force applied against the mouthpiece over substantially the entire surface area of the closed fluid passage and to equalize the internal pressure against the surface of the passage. Preferably, the fluid passage 33 is not completely filled with the fluid, and the fluid may flow from one portion of the mouthpiece to another without creating undue stress in the tubular portion.
Mouthpiece 35 illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4 is somewhat similar to the mouthpiece 30 and includes a tubular body portion 36 providing a fluid passage 37 therein. Additionally, mouthpiece 35 includes an occlusal or bite portion 38 which extends laterally inwardly from the arcuately shaped tubular portion 36. The occlusal portion 38 is formed of solid material similar to the material forming the tubular portion 36 and is adapted to be inserted between the occlusal surfaces of the upper teeth T and lower teeth T is illustrated in FIG. 4. The mouthpiece 35 not only dissipates and distributes forces exerted against the mouthpiece by virtue of the closed hydrostatic system provided by the fluid-containing passage 37, but also provides a cushion between the upper and lower teeth by virtue of the occlusal portion 38, which is somewhat elastic and resilient.
Although the tubular portion 36 extends both above and below the occlusal portion 38 in covering relationship with both the upper and lower teeth, the tubular portion may be formed, if desired, to cover only the upper or lower teeth.
Mouthpiece 40 illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6 is somewhat similar to mouthpiece 35 and also includes an occlusal portion 41. However, occlusal portion 41 is seen to be somewhat tubular shaped in vertical cross section (FIG. 6), providing a fluid passage 42 therein. The occlusal portion 41 is formed integrally with the tubular portion 43, and the occlusal fluid passage 42 communicates with the fluid passage 44 within the tubular portion 43. The closed hydrostatic system is therefore provided by both the occlusal fluid passage 42 and the outer fluid passage 44, and a force exerted against either the occlusal portion 41 or the tubular portion 43 will be dissipated over substantially the entire surface areas of the two communicating fluid passages. Alternatively, occlusal fluid passage 42 may be formed separately from fluid passage 44, forming separate non-communicating fluid bearing areas.
Referring to FIGS. 7 and 8, a mouthpiece 46 includes a solid labial or outer portion 47 and a tubular occlusal portion 48 extending laterally inwardly from the arcuate labial portion. The labial portion 47 is preferably formed of relatively elastic and resilient materials such as rubber or the like, and the occlusal portion 48 provides an internal fluid-containing passage 49. The material forming the occlusal portion may be formed integrally with the labial portion 47, or the occlusal portion may be formed separately and subsequently suitably secured to the labial portion. Forces exerted against the side of the face are cushioned by the labial portion 47, and forces exerted against the jaw of the wearer are distributed and dissipated by the closed hydrostatic system of the occlusal portion 48.
Mouthpiece 50 illustrated in FlGS. 9 and includes three individual mouthpiece portions 51, 52, and 53 which are joined by connecting portions 54. Each of the mouthpiece portions are generally L-shaped in vertical cross section, and mouthpiece portion 51 includes an occlusal portion 51a and a labial portion 51b. The portions 511: and 51b are integrally formed and provide a single internal fluid-containing passage 51c therein. Similarly, mouthpiece portion 52 includes an occlusal portion 52a and a labial portion 52b providing a single internal fluid-containing passage 52c and a mouthpiece portion 53 includes an occlusal portion 530 and a labial portion 53b providing a fluid-containing passage 53c Each of the labial portions extend upwardly from the respective occlusal portions to lie adjacent the labial side of the upper teeth T The connecting portions 54 between the individual mouthpiece portions 5153 are solid, so that three separate closed hydrostatic systems are provided by the three mouthpiece portions. However, if desired, the connecting portions 54 can be tubular to provide communicating passages therein so that the fluid passage of each of the mouthpiece portions 51-43 may communicate with the fluid passages of the other portions.
Referring to FIG. 11, the mouthpiece 50 may be inverted so that the labial portions 51b 52b and 53b extend downwardly adjacent the labial sides of the lower set of teeth T Referring to FIG. 12, mouthpiece 55 includes a hollow tubular portion 56 similar to the tubular portion 36 of mouthpiece (FIGS. 3 and 4). However, rather than a con tinuous occlusal portion, mouthpiece 55 includes segmental occlusal portions 57, 58 and 59 which extend laterally inwardly from the tubular portion 56 between the occlusal surfaces of the upper and lower teeth. The material of the occlusal portions 5759 is elastic and resilient to provide a cushion for forces exerted against the jaw, and the tubular portion 56 provides an internal fluid-containing passage 60 therein to provide a closed hydrostatic system to cushion and to distribute forces exerted against the sides of the face.
Similarly, the mouthpiece 35 of FIGS. 3 and 4 can be modified by providing a segmented rather than a continuous labial portion 36, and the internal passage of each labial segment either could be closed or could communicate with the other passages.
Either or both of the labial and occlusal portions of the mouthpiece in FIGS. 5 and 6 and mouthpiece 46 in FIGS. 7 and 8 could be segmented. Many other embodiments could be visualized.
Referring to FIGS. 13 and 14, a mouthpiece 62 includes a pair of spaced-apart generally tubular portions 63 and 64, which are joined by a connecting portion 65. Each of the tubular portions 63 and 64 are formed of upper and lower layers 66 and 67, respectively, of a relatively flexible plastic such as polyester film or the like, which are heat sealed together adjacent the outer periphery thereof to form an internal fluid passage 68. The central connecting portion 65 is similarly formed of upper and lower layers of a heat-scalable plastic, and the longitudinal edges of the central portion 65 are heat sealed to provide a passage 69 which extends between the internal passage provided by the tubular portions 63 and 64 and provides communication therebetween. Advantageously, the upper and lower layers of the tubular portions 63 and 64 and of the central portion 65 may each be formed of a single, generally I-I-shaped piece of plastic, and just prior to the time that these two layers are completely heat sealed, a fluid or fluid-like substance is inserted therebetween.
The tubular portions 63 and 64 are adapted to be inserted between the occlusal surfaces of the upper and lower sets of teeth of the wearer adjacent the rear of the dental arch, and the central portion 65, which is seen to be generally U-shaped in vertical elevation extends adjacent the palate of the wearer. When pressure is applied along a portion of either of the tubular portions 63 and 64 fluid flows into the remainder of that tubular portion and through the connecting portion 65 into the other tubular portion to distribute the force over substantially the entire surface area of the closed fluid passage and to equalize the internal pressure against the surface of the passage.
Referring now to FIGS. 15-17, a mouthpiece 70 is similarly formed of upper and lower plastic layers 71 and 72 which are heat sealed together along their edges to provide an internal fluid passage 73. The mouthpiece is seen to be generally arcuately shaped and conforms generally to the curvature of the dental arch of the wearer and is adapted to be inserted between the occlusal surfaces of the upper and lower teeth. The fluid passage 73 is similarlv filled with a fluid or fluid-like substance, and when force is exerted on a portion of the mouthpiece 70, the closed hydrostatic system distributes the force against substantially the entire surface area of the passage.
The mouthpiece 70 also includes upper and lower electrically conductive strips 74 and 75, of metal foil or the like, which are secured to the upper and lower plastic layers 71 and 72, respectively. The metal strips 74 and 75 form part of an electrical circuit, the strip 74 being connected to wire 76, and the strip 75 being connected to wire 77. Each of the wires 76 and,77 is connected to a light L or other signal device, such as a buzzer, and a power source such as a dry cell or battery 13 is interposed in the circuit formed by the wires and strips.
When the mouthpiece 40 is in its normal, uncompressed state as shown in FIGS. 15-17, the metal strips 74 and 75 are separated, and the circuit is open. However, when the upper and lower jaws close, the metal strips 74 and 75 approach each other and eventually contact at some point along the lengths thereof, as at 78 in FIG. 18, thereby actuating the signal device L.
The mouthpiece illustrated in FIGS. 15-18 finds particular utility in determining when initial contact is made between the upper and lower teeth as the maxilla and mandible close. Determining when initial contact is made is particularly important when preparing dental prostheses or the like, and it is desirable to compensate for any malocclusion without affecting the contraction of the muscles of mastication. Referring to FIG. 18, a malocclusion is seen to occur by virtue of the teeth 79 and 80 which extend below and above, respectively, the occlusal surfaces of the upper and lower teeth. As the teeth 79 and 80 approach each other, the electrically conductive layers 74 and 75 will eventually contact, and the signal L will be activated, thereby signalling to the dentist that initial contact has occurred. Since the plastic layers 71 and 72 and the foil layers 74 and 75 are very thin, the signal will substantially precisely indicate when initial contact occurs even though the teeth 79 and 80 do not actually contact by virtue of the interposed layers.
If desired, the fluid passage of the mouthpiece 40 may con tain a hardening or settable fluid, many of which are well known in the art, and after the signaljndicates initial contact, the patient may flx his jaws until the material sets, Thereafter, the mouthpiece may be removed, and the hardened fluid material and the resulting contour of the mouthpiece will form a permanent record of the relationship between the upper and lower occlusal surfaces at initial contact.
The mouthpiece 82 illustrated in FIG. 19 is somewhat similar to the mouthpiece 70 illustrated in FIG. 15, but the fluid passage is segmented rather than extending around the entire dental arch. Tubular portions 83 and 84 form fluid passages therein, these fluid passages communicate by virtue of the tubular communicating portion 85 which may extend adjacent the buccal and labial surfaces of the teeth between the teeth and lips. As can be seen best in FIGS. and 21, the communicating portion 85 provides a passage 86 therein which communicates with the interior passage 87 of the tubular portion 83.
An arcuate intermediate tubular portion 88 extends between the fluid-containing portions 83 and 84 along the front portion of the dental arch, and is provided with an internal chamber 89 (FIG. 22). The chamber 88 is preferably filled with air rather than a liquid.
The interior of each of the tubular portions 83 and 84 are provided with upper and lower electrically conductive layers 90 and 91, and each of the upper conductive strips 90 are connected by an electrically conductive strip 92. Similarly, the lower conductive strips 91 are connected by an electrically conductive strip 93 (FIG. 22) positioned below the strip 92 in FIG. 19. The connecting electrical strips extend between the tubular portions 83 and 84 adjacent the lingual side of the teeth, and are separated by the air-containing portion 88. A signal light L is connected to a power source such as dry cell B, and the signal light and dry cell are connected to the metal strips 90 and 91 of the tubular portion 84 as previously described with respect to the mouthpiece 70 illustrated in FIG. 15. The mouthpiece 82 can be used in a manner similar to that of mouthpiece 70, but is designed to indicate first initial contact primarily along the rear portions of the dental arch.
Referring to FIG. 23, mouthpiece 95 similarly includes tubular portions 96 and 97 which provide internal fluid passages 98 and 99 therein. A tubular connecting portion 100 extends between the tubular portions 96 and 97 adjacent the buccal and labial surfaces of the teeth and provides a central-passage 101 which communicates with the passages 98 and 99. Mouthpiece includes web portions 102 and 103 which connect the tubular portion I00 to the tubular portions 96 and 97, respectively, along the lengths thereof and serve to reinforce the tubular portion 100. The web portions 102 and 103 may be formed by heat sealed portions of the upper and lower layers ofeach of the tubular portions.
I. A mouthpiece comprising a relatively flexible tubular portion having an internal passage therein and an occlusal portion extending laterally from the tubular portion and having an internal passage therein, liquid within each of said internal passages, said tubular portion being shaped for insertion between the lips and teeth of the wearer and being responsive to pressure differences exerted therealong to cause compensating flow of the liquid, said occlusal portion being relatively flexible and being responsive to pressure differences exerted therealong to cause compensating flow of the liquid therein.
2. The mouthpiece of claim 1 wherein said tubular portion is generally arcuately shaped, said occlusal portion also being generally arcuately shaped and conforming generally to the dental arch of the wearer.
3. The mouthpiece of claim 1 in which the passage of the tubular portion and the passage of the occlusal portion commuicate.
n 4. A mouthpiece comprising a relatively flexible occlusal portion adapted for insertion between the occlusal surfaces of the upper and lower teeth of the wearer and being provided with a closed internal passage therein, and a liquid within the internal passage to provide a closed hydrostatic system, said occlusal portion being generally arcuately shaped to conform generally to at least a portion of the dental arch of the wearer and being responsive to pressure differences exerted therealong to cause compensating flow ofthe liquid.
5. The mouthpiece of claim 4 including a labial portion connected to the occlusal portion and adapted for insertion between the teeth and lips of the wearer, the labial portion being formed of solid relatively elastic material.
6. The mouthpiece of claim 4 including a pair of spacedapart electrically conductive strips attached to the occlusal portion within the internal passage thereof and signal means electrically connected to the strips whereby the signal means is actuated when the strips contact.
7. The mouthpiece of claim 6 in which the liquid is a hardenable material adapted to set after a limited period of time.