US 3783514 A
A structure for use in creating an artificial denture can be constructed utilizing a sheet-like self-supporting part and a plurality of simulated tooth elements. The self-supporting part is formed to include a plurality of upwardly opening pockets located in a generally U-shaped line corresponding to a line of teeth in a mouth and includes regions on both sides of this line having upper surfaces corresponding to the configuration of a mouth on both sides of such a line of teeth. The simulated tooth elements are located within the pockets so as to be exposed at the upper surface of said part. Preferably the pockets have open bottoms. The pockets are preferably interconnected; several of the tooth elements can be integral with one another.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Kersten STRUCTURES FOR USE IN CREATING ARTIFICIAL DENTURES  Inventor: Daniel D. Kersten, 984 Chestnut,
Escondido, Calif. 92025  Filed: Aug. 14, 1972  Appl. No.: 280,530
 U.S. Cl. 32/2  Int. Cl. A61c 13/00  Field of Search 32/2, 8, 15
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,460,252 8/1969 Schweider et a1. 32/2 3,241,238 3/1966 'Kersten 32/2 Pri r ,Etqrr in fliflertli ibgg s .4 H Attorney-Edward D. OBrian [451 Jan. 8, 1-974 ABSTRACT A structure for use in creating an artificial denture can be constructed utilizing a sheet-like self-supporting part and a plurality of simulated tooth elements. The self-supporting part is formed to include a plurality of upwardly opening pockets located in a generally U- shaped line corresponding to a line of teeth in a mouth and includes regions on both sides of this line having upper surfaces corresponding to the configuration of a mouth on both sides of such a line of teeth. The simulated tooth elements are located within the pockets so as to be exposed at the upper surface of said part.
Preferablythe pockets have open bottoms. The pockets are preferably interconnected; several of the tooth elements can be integral with one another.
5 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures STRUCTURES FOR USE IN CREATING ARTIFICIAL DENTURES CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT Daniel D. Kersten US. Pat. No. 3,241,238 issued Mar. 22, 1966 entitled, Part For Use In Creating Artificial Dentures and Process For Using the Same."
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION It is known that comparatively inexpensive artificial dentures can be constructed utilizing a part serving as a mold which is formed so as to include a series of simulated teeth joined together by flange and diaphragmtype members corresponding in shape and configuration to interior regions of the mouth adjacent to a line of teeth. Such a part is utilized in creating an artificial member by placing a quantity of a liquid polymer material capable of hardening in a mouth within the part and then allowing this polymer material to set to a hardened state as both it and the part are located in a normal denture location in a mouth.
During the hardening, the polymer material will attach itself to the simulated tooth elements used and will form an artificial denture. Such a denture is completed by stripping from the polymer material and from the individual teeth used the members corresponding in shape and configuration to the interior regions of the mouth. Either before or after such members are stripped the denture created may be lined by placing additional similar liquid polymer materials in it, locating it in the mouth and then allowing this additional material to harden.
As originally proposed, parts as indicated in the preceding were to be formed as integral units with simulated teeth and the members corresponding to the shape and configuration of a mouth joined together. The concept was that such integral parts could be molded very inexpensively by known injection molding and similar techniques out of various thermoplastic polymers. It was recognized that such polymers did not normally have all of the physical qualities desired in a long-wearing denture and that hence, the tooth elements in artificial dentures created using such parts might not wear as well as the teeth in more conventional dentures. However, this was considered secondary because parts as indicated could be used to create individual dentures at such a low cost that such dentures could be used for treatment purposes or could be used by individualswho could not afford any more conventional dentures.
In an effort to provide tooth elements in parts similar to those indicated in the preceding which would stand comparatively long wear, it was proposed to form parts as indicated utilizing tooth elements created from conventional denture-type teeth compositions secured to members corresponding to the shape and configuration of a mouth by an adhesive. It was similarly proposed to form tooth elements formed of such materials with small grooves which could be poped or snapped into corresponding openings in a sheet-like part corresponding in shape to interior regions of the mouth. Although it is considered that procedures of these types have a degree of merit, it is not considered that they are practical from an economic standpoint because of assembly and related-type problems.
The need for improvement of parts as indicated so as to include within these parts simulated tooth elements having long-wearing and preferably non-staining characteristics is considered to be still apparent. As will be seen from the preceding discussion, one'aspect of this need involves economic considerations. More specifically there is the need to provide parts for creating artificial dentures which can be used to produce dentures having long-wearing, relatively non-staining teeth at an economically advantageous cost.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A broad objective of the present invention is to provide new and improved structures or parts of the type indicated in the preceding discussion for producing artificial dentures. More specifically, an objective of the invention is to provide structures as indicated which can-but need notbe used to create artificial dentures having individual tooth elements of a conventional long-wearing, essentially non-staining material. A further objective of the invention is to provide structures of the type described which can be easily and conveniently manufactured at a comparatively nominal cost. A related objective of the invention is to provide structures of the type indicated which can be economically manufactured in various different sizes corresponding to the normal differences in shapes of human mouths.
In accordance with this invention these and various related objectives are achieved by providing a structure for use in creating an artificial denture which comprises a sheet-like self-supporting part shaped so as to include a plurality of upwardly opening pockets dimensioned so as to hold simulated teeth and located in a generally U-shaped line corresponding in configuration to a line of teeth in the mouth and shaped so as toinclude regions on both sides of the line and upper surfaces corresponding to the configuration of a mouth on both sides of a line of teeth and a plurality of simulated tooth ele ments located within these pockets so as to be exposed at the upper surfaces of the pockets and fitting closely within the pockets.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING A summary of this type is inherently incapable of in dicating many facets and features of an invention because of its inherent nature. Further details of structures in accordance with this invention and further advantages of the invention will be apparent from a detailed consideration of the remainder of this specification, the appended claims and the accompanying drawing in which: 7
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a structure in accordance with this invention for use in creating an artificial denture to be employed with an upper jaw;
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken at line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a partial cross-sectional view taken at line 3-of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a partial cross-sectional view corresponding to FIG. 3 of a modified structure in accordance with this invention; FIG. 5 is a perspective view corresponding to FIG. 1 of a structure in accordance with this invention which has the .same parts as the structure of FIG. 1, but which is shaped for use in creating an artificial denture to be employed with a lower jaw; and
FIG. 6 is a diagrammatic cross-sectional view indicating how a structure as herein described may be formed.
The accompanying drawing is primarily intended for explanatory purposes. It shows several presently preferred forms or embodiments of structures in accordance with this invention utilizing theessentially intangible concepts of the invention defined in the appended claims. These concepts may be employed in other somewhat differently appearing and somewhat differently constructed structures through the use of routine engineering skill in the field of artificial dentures and related structures.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION In FIG. 1 of the drawing there is shown a structure in accordance with this invention which, as indicated by the preceding brief description, is intended to be utilized in creating an artificial denture to be employed with an upper jaw. This structure 10 employs a sheetlike self-supporting part 12 and a series of simulated tooth elements 14. This part 12 is preferably formed out of a self-supporting material which does not readily bond to liquid resins capable of being utilized increating artificial dentures by the series of steps indicated in the preceding discussion relative to the background of the invention.
Thus, this part 12 can conveniently be formediof a polyolefin such as either low or high density polyethylene or a large number of other physically similar or equivalent polymer materials. It preferably should be imporous in nature so that there is no danger of a liquid polymer composition flowing through it as it is utilized. Preferably this part 12 should be somewhat flexible so that it is capable of deforming to a slight extent as it is utilized within the mouth to avoid undue discomfort to an individual. Also, when the part 12 is somewhat flexbile it is possible to bend of deform it slightly to conform to a desired configuration.
The tooth elements 14 used preferably are of a ceramic or ceramic-type material as is conventionally utilized in the construction of artificial dentures. It will be recognized that such materials are well-known; that they are physically hard enough to withstand prolonged use in dentures; and that they are substantially immune to discoloration during normal use. These tooth elements 14 are preferably shaped in different manners so as to have lower surfaces 16 to be exposed in a denture which corresponds in shape and configuration to a normal set of teeth within a mouth.
No effort is made in this specification or in the drawing to indicate the names of various different teeth to be simulated by the surfaces 16 and/or their configuration since these are matters considered to be wellknown in the dental field. The important thing to note is that the tooth elements 14 vary in shape and configuration in accordance with what may be referred to as a normal pattern.
These tooth elements 14 have upper surfaces 18 which are normally exposed at the top of the structure 10. These upper surfaces 18 may be of any convenient shape for bonding to a liquid resin in creating an artificial denture. Preferably these upper surfaces 18 should include holes 20 located at angles to one another in the structure 10, and/or surface irregularities 22 such as notches so that any liquid resin used will form. a firm mechanical interlock between the elements 14 and the solidified resin in a complete denture.
Expedients necessary to create such a mechanical interlock are not necessary if the resin employed is of such a character that it will form a firm adhesive type of bond. Since a number of factors may interfere with such a bond it seems preferable to use expedients as indicated to create the mechanical interlock even in those cases where it is felt that an adhesive or chemicaltype bond will adequately secure an element 14 in an artificial denture. It is considered that the need for such a means or expedient to create a mechanical interlock is not as pronounced as when normal, conventional may be interconnected by what may be referred to as grooves 26 extending between their adjacent sides.
These pockets 24 are preferably arranged in a line as shown in FIG. 1 corresponding to a line of normal teeth within a mouth so that they are spaced in approximately the same manner as normal teeth. These pockets 24 are alsoof a depth such that the upper surfaces 18 of the tooth elements 14 are exposed to approximately the same extent.
Preferably the pockets 24 are formed as shown so as to have open bottoms 25 located adjacent to and around the portions of the tooth elements 14 which will abut against opposing teeth in a mouth. The significance may not be readily apparent. As a structure such as the structure 10 is used it is employed with a liquid resin as indicated in the preceding discussion and this entire structure is placed within'the mouth and held in this location as the resin sets up so as to create what becomes a completed denture after removal of the part 12.
If the pockets 24 did not have these open bottoms 25 the spacing achieved with the structure 10 in the mouth would not correspond as accurately as reasonably possible to an intended natural type of spacing desired in an artificial denture. This matter of spacing becomes significant when both upper and lower dentures are to be created at the same time since if the structures to be used in creating such upper and lower dentures were to be spaced apart by the thicknesses of two of the parts 12 at the bottoms of the pockets 24, the denture might not fit as accurately as desired. However, it is to be understood that dentures can be created using structures such as the structure 10 using the pockets 24 having bottoms.
The part 12 also includes inner and outer regions 28 and 30 having upper surfaces 31 corresponding in shape to the shape of the regions of the mouth adjacent to a line of teeth. Although exact correspondence in shape may be preferred because of the effect on the appearance of an ultimate denture, satisfactory results can be obtained when there is only an approximate correspondence between the shape of these upper surfaces and internal surfaces within the mouth. It is possible to label these regions 28 and 30 with reference to standard dental terminology. It is not considered that it is necessary to utilize this terminology in explaining this invention since the purpose of this specification relates in the drawing and in the preceding discussion. If desired, they may be held in place by a tacky pressuresensitive adhesive or the like so that they will not fall out of these pockets 24, although this is not normally considered necessary. Preferably these pockets 24 fit closely enough adjacent to the tooth elements 14 so that they will be-held in place by friction in such a manner that liquid resin will not permeate the pockets 24 adjacent to the lower surfaces 16 when the structure is utilized as indicated in the preceding discussion.
When the tooth elements 14 are formed to simulate conventional teeth, the configuration of the pockets 24 will be such that a minor amount of a snap type action involving temporary deformation of the pockets 24 will be necessary to insert them in the part 12. If desired, individual tooth elements 14 may be formed so that their lower surfaces 16 may be slightly enlarged beyond a normal appearance so that they have to be snapped into the pockets 24 with significant material deforma tion so that they will be firmly held in position. This type of expedient is considered preferred in making sure that the tooth elements 14 are held so that they will not fall out of place during normal handling and the like.
If desired, the structure 10 may include aligned or substantially aligned notches 32 in the upper surfaces 18 of the individual elements 14. These notches 32 preferably, but not necessarily are formed so that their entrances are slightly smaller than their bottoms so that a deformable wire 34 such as a stainless steel wire may be securly wedged within them. This wire 34 helps hold the tooth elements 14 in the desired configuration.
More important, however, is its function of enabling the structure 10 to be adjusted to a moderate or slight amount to accommodate variation in human mouths. This wire 34 may be easily bent by a dentist to substantially the shape of a line of teeth desired in a particular denture and may be utilized to hold the elements 14 to such a shape. This will normally involve the wire 34 holding the part 12 soit is slightly bent or deformed from its original configuration;
In FIG. 4 of the drawing there is shown a modified structure 40 which is essentially similar to the structure 10. In the interest of brevity those parts of the structure 40 which are the same orsubstantially the same as the parts employed in the structure 10 are not separately described herein and are designated in the remainder of this specification and in the drawing by the primes of the numerals previously used.
In the structure 40 several of the individual tooth elemerits 14' are joined together by bridges 42 connecting their upper surfaces 18'. If desired, all of these tooth elements 14 can be so connected. It will be noted that the bridges 42 extend generally within and above the groove 26' in locations where they would be hidden by the polymer material used in creating dentures. This type of expedient is considered desirable in facilitating the assembly and manufacture of the complete structure 10.
In FIG. 5 of the drawing there is shown what technically is a modified structure 50 of the present invention. in actuality this structure 50 is identical to the structure 10 except for the fact that it is shaped so as to be employed in creating what may be referred to as a lower artificial denturefln the interest of brevity, no parts of this structure 50 are separately described herein.
Various parts of this structure 50 which are the same or substantially the same as parts of the structure 10 are designated in the drawing by the same numerals used to designate parts of the structure it). From a consideration of FIG. 6 it will be realized that the terms upper and lower used and described in connection with the structure 10 are merely used in a relative sense for con venience of designation. These terms have been used primarily with reference to the way an individual structure will appear as it is normally handled.
Structures such as the structures 10, 40 and 50 may be easily manufactured with a minimum of difficulty by utilizing what may be referred to as a lower vacuum forming mold 60 as indicated in FIG. 6 of the drawing. This mold has a porous mold body 62 having an upper surface 64 corresponding in shape to the upper surfaces 31 described and having individual cavities 66' corresponding to 'the upper surfaces 18 of the tooth elements 14 as they will appear'in the structure 10 (or in the other structures shown).
The individual tooth elements 14 to be used in such a structure are located upside down within these cavities 66 and then a sheet 68 of a thermoplastic material to be used to form a part 12 may be located over them and over the mold'60 in a heated, softened state. This sheet 68 may then be pulled down by a vacuum drawn through the mold 60 so as to in effect form a package or skin around the lower surfaces 16 defining the pockets 24. As the sheet 68 is handled in this manner the entire part 12 will be formed. After the sheet 68 has been cooled the resultant product may be trimmed in accordance with conventional practice so as to form a structure such as the structure 10*.
It is preferred, however, to furtherprocess such a resultant structure so as to remove the bottoms of the pockets 24 created in the areas where surfaces of the tooth elements will abut against opposing teeth or artifical tooth elements. Such removal can be accomplished in a number of different ways in accordance with conventional practice. The sheet 68 may be cut using appropriate manipulative tools such as a hand tool or a panograph equipped with. a rotary cutter to remove the bottoms of the pockets created. It is even considered possible to remove the bottoms of these pockets 24 by various solvent techniques when the sheet 68 is formed of a polymer material which is soluble in a solvent by merely locating the structure produced so that its bottom rests in the solvent so that the solvent will place the contacted parts of the sheet 68 in solution.
I claim 1. A structure for use in creating an artificial denture which comprises: a a sheet-like self-supporting part shaped so as to include a plurality of upwardly opening pockets having open bottoms dimensioned so as to hold simulated teeth and located in a generally U-shaped line corresponding in configuration to a line of teeth in the mouth and shaped so as to include regions on both sides of said line having upper surfaces corresponding to the configuration of a mouth on both sides of a line of teeth, and a plurality of simulated tooth elements located within said pockets, said tooth elements being exposed at the upper surface of said part and fitting closely within said pockets so that during the use of said structure a liquid resin used with said structure will not permeate between said tooth elements and the interiors of said pockets to any significant extent,
said part being formed of a polymer composition incapable of bonding to a polymer composition to be used with said structure and said tooth elements are formed of a composition capable of bonding to such a polymer composition to be used with said structure,
said pockets and said tooth elements being of such a dimension and shape that said tooth elements are held in place in said pockets by engagement with said pockets.
2. A structure as claimed in claim 1 including:
a deformable wire secured to each of said tooth elements and extending generally along said line.
3. A structure as claimed in claim 1 wherein:
said tooth elements include on the surfaces of said tooth elements exposed in said structure means for forming a mechanical interlock with a polymer composition.
4. A structure as claimed in claim 1 wherein:
at least some of said tooth elements are connected to one another so as to facilitate assembly of said structure.
5. A structure as claimed in claim 1 wherein:
said tooth elements are formed of a ceramic composition capable of serving in an artificial denture without significant staining, and
each of said tooth elements includes a notch in the portion of it normally exposed at the surface of said part,
a deformable wire secured in each of said notches so as to secure said tooth elements to one another.