US 3924333 A
A dental appliance is provided for collecting solid debris and evacuating liquid from the mouth of the patient during dental operations. The appliance is provided with left and right tongue guards which are connected to a bite block by means of a scoreline structure. Either of the tongue guards can be broken from the bite block so that work may be done on one side of a patient's mouth. The bite block is attached to a tongue guard member which is received in the mouth bearing against the lingual tissue of the lower arch. The tongue guard member includes a series of channels formed along the front thereof which channels communicate with an evacuation tube, whereby fluids injected in the mouth by means of drills or other dental appliances are sucked out of the mouth via conduction through the channels. A flexible collector is removably connected to the tongue guard member and that collector extends into and through the retro-molar space and into the vestibule and lies against tissue overlying and ascending ramus, as well as extending over the palate where it rests on, and conforms to the shape of the lingual gingiva of the maxillary teeth and palate.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Erickson DENTAL APPLIANCE  Inventor: Norman Erickson, Rte. 3, Box 551,
Escondido, Calif. 92025  Filed: Sept. 9, 1974  Appl. No.: 504,435
Primary Examiner-Robert Peshock  ABSTRACT A dental appliance is provided for collecting solid debris and evacuating liquid from the mouth of the patient during dental operations. The appliance is provided with left and right tongue guards which are connected to a bite block by means of a scoreline structure. Either of the tongue guards can be broken from the bite block so that work may be done on one side of a patients mouth. The bite block is attached to a tongue guard member which is received in the mouth bearing against the lingual tissue of the lower arch. The tongue guard member includes a series of channels formed along the front thereof which channels communicate with an evacuation tube, whereby fluids injected in the mouth by means of drills or other dental appliances are sucked out of the mouth via conduction through the channels. A flexible collector is removably connected to the tongue guard member and that collector extends into and through the retromolar space arid into the vestibule and lies against tissue overlying and ascending ramus, as well as extending over the palate where it rests on, and conforms to the shape of the lingual gingiva of the maxillary teeth and palate.
The entire appliance is designed for proper and automatic placement in the mouth to provide the proper work space and all operations may proceed while the patient benefits from maximum comfort.
13 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures U.S. Patent Dec. 9 1975 Sheet 1 of 2 3,924,333
US. Patent Dec. 9 1975 Sheet 2 of2 3,924,333
DENTAL APPLIANCE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to dental appliances and more particularly a device for collecting solid debris, prevents debris from falling into the throat (oral pharynx) even when the patient is placed in a supine position, and removing liquid from the mouth of the patient during the conduct of dental operations therein.
The device of this invention, although generally useful in many dental operations, is most particularly suited to operations involving the use of high speed cutting tools. While these tools generally reduce the time necessary to abrade teeth, and in general, cause the patient less pain, they produce large amounts of heat, through friction, which is not only a hazard to tooth vitality but which is also extremely discomforting to the patient. Virtually all present art high speed drills include the provision of injecting a spray of water onto the cutting area to relieve the build-up of heat. Naturally, it is necessary to provide for removal of this water spray and also the natural fluids generated in the patients mouth during the operation. This appliance is equally effective in preventive dentistry where a dry isolated field is required, flouride treatments, the new plastic sealant techniques, and the like.
Various dental appliances have been utilized with the object being, maintaining the patients mouth in a fixed open position and at the same time collecting and removing the coolants and natural fluids.
Present art devices have been reasonably successful in removing the fluids and debris from the mouth. For example, US. Pat. No. 3,090,122 to Erickson, provides a waterproof receptacle adapted to fit within the side of the patients mouth. It includes a central depressed portion on the upper side thereof for receiving liquid and debris from above the receptacle. The device includes drain means which communicate with aperatures to remove fluids from the mouth.
In U.S. Pat. No. 2,937,445, also issued to Erickson, another device is illustrated which removes all fluids from the mouth.
The present invention is directed to a dental appliance which, because of its design, negates the necessity for adjustment and readjustment to provide ulti at conformance with the contour of the patients mouth and, at the same time, provides proper workspace and isolation for the procedure contemplated.
This invention is so conceived and designed to permit the utilization of materials and processes inexpensive enough to permit the finished product to be classed as disposable or consumable. It provides the proper and necessary space and contact relationships in all arch sizes and forms without the need of expertise in adjustment and placement. The appliance automatically falls into the desired and proper relationship, but al l k itself into this relationship without Iigature 's 1 retainers, or the like. Maximum comfort of the patient is maintained and optimization of work space or isolation, and evacuation is achieved. This appliance can be used with the common saliva ejector vacuum (a vector pump), the surgical aspirator, as well as the high veloeity vacuum.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A dental appliance is provided for evacuating liquid from the mouth of the patient during dental operations.
A semi-rigid bite block is made of a semi-rigid deformable material such as polystyrene which permits initial deformation so as to conform to the characteristics of the individual patient. The block is rigid enough to resist further deformation, permitting the patient to exert a substantial pressure thereon. The bite block is attached to a tongue guard member which is received in the mouth bearing against the linqual gingiva. The tongue guard includes a series of channels formed on the front thereof, which channels communicate with an evacuation tube, whereby fluids injected in the mouth by means of drills or other dental appliances are sucked out of the mouth via conduction through the channels. A collector is removably connected to the tongue guard member and that collector extends into the retro-molar space and lies against tissue overlying the ascending ramus as well as palate. This collector separates the mouth into a forward compartment that is being worked on and a rear compartment. It diverts the fluids so that they may be easily collected. The collector is contoured to circumferentially seal the mouth into the two compartments and will maintain that seal regardless of the actual deformation of the bite block. A further aspect of the collector is characterized by its easy removability and attachment to the tongue guard. A dentist can select a collector of a particular size so as to provide better conformance with the patients mouth and the collector is adhesively coated on one side so as to provide an easy connection to the tongue guard. This device permits the operator to proceed from the wet field part of the dental procedure to the dry field portion and vice versa with the device at all times providing isolated upper and lower quadrant one-half the complete dentition.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the present invention shown in a patients mouth;
FIG. 2 is a perspective of the appliance shown removed from the mouth;
FIG. 3 is an isolation view of the collector;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the present invention shown removed from the patients mouth and having one of the tongue guards removed;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the present invention, shown with-the paper collector in place and with one tongue guard separated from the bite block;
FIG. 6 is a plan view of the rear side of the appliance.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION As shown in FIG. 1, the dental appliance is composed of three primary elements; a bite block 10; a combination anchoring and evacuation member 12 which will hereinafter be referred to as a tongue guard; and a collector 14 which is made of a flexible material such as fluid impervious paper. FIG. 1 illustrates the position the appliance assumes when placed in the patients mouth. The bite block 10 includes an upper surface 16 and a lower surface 18 which are adapted to be grasped between the patients upper and lower molars, on either side of the patient s month.
That bite block is fabricated from a semi-rigid, deformable material such as polystyrene for a particualr purpose. Such a material tends to deform easily upon initial contact. This initial deformation tends to compress the cells in the immediate vicinity of the pressure to, in effect, render the material denser in that immediate vicinity. Consequently, continued or additional deformation is resisted inasmuch as the denser material is more rigid and not easily deformed. Therefor, when this material is placed between a patients teeth, the cusps of the teeth rather easily impress the material to the extent that additional deformation can be produced only by the application of extraordinary pressure. The patient is then free to bite hard on the block without seriously altering its profile. Since the block has assumed the profile of the patients mouth by, in effect, taking an impression thereof, it will not be easily dislodged from the operating position.
- Referring to FIG. 4, it is seen that the bite block includes an irregular surface inclined with respect to upper surface 16. That surface is so contoured as to project a minimum of foreign matter into the mouth.
FIGS. 2 and 4 illustrate the tongue guard 12. The appliance is initially provided with two guards 12, 12a, one for use when work is to be done on the left side of the mouth, and the other when work is done on the right side of the mouth. The tongue guards are connected to the bite block 10 along the surfaces 20 by means of a frangible scoreline arrangement. This configuration permits the dentist or technician to break off one or the other tongue guards depending on which side of the mouth is to be worked on. Bores 26, 28 are formed through bite block 10 and extend through the tube like arm 30 of the tongue guards 12, 12a. An evacuation tube 32 connects to one or the other bores 26, 28 and it creates a vacuum in that bore to provide the medium of fluid and saliva removal. Channels 34, 36 are formed in the front face 38 of the tongue guard, and those channels communicate with the bores 26, 28 when the appliance is situated in the mouth. The forward edge 40 of the tongue guard is contiguous the gingiva tissue and fluid collecting in the lower jaw is sucked through those channels and out the bore being used. The interior terminus 41 of the bore 26 is effective to evacuate fluid forming in the side of the mouth.
FIGS. 2 and .4 illustrate the-tongue guard 12 as being irregular in shape, the front face 38 being generally curvilinear, so shaped to conform to the interior tooth or gum contour of the lower jaw.
FIGS. 1, 3 and 5 illustrate the third primary member, the collector 14, of the appliance. That member is quite flat and very flexible for reasons which will be apparent. The collector 14 is adhesively coated on its rear face and is contoured similar to the front face 38 of the tongue guard 12, and it adheres to that surface. Initially the collector is provided to the dental technician separately from the rest of the appliance. There may be a protective cover over the adhesive. Further, collectors may be provided in a variety of sizes and shapes to permit choice of the one that most effectively conforms to the profile and contour of the patients mouth. The dentist or technician now selects the proper collector and removesthe cover and affixes it to the tongue guard 12.
The collector includes the curvilinear edge 42 which essentially conforms to the contour of the hard palate. The collector includes at least one notch 44 which permits it to be gathered to form a cup-like configuration which is uniquely adapted to collect and divert the spray injected into the mouth. The upper part of the collector is in effect a free standing shield that bars the passage of fluids into the throat.
FIG. 1 illustrates the function of the appliance and the contour it assumes during use. When properly assembled and appropriately placed within the patients mouth, it forms a cup-like shape adapted to catch and direct fluids. The fluids are directed to a central opening 50, in the lower jaw toward channels 34, 36 through which it is removed. A cover 52 can be removed from the opening 50 if it is desired to make opening 50 the primary evacuation point, as when a patient is placed in a supine position, and opening 50 becomes the lower point on the surface of the collector to shut off evacuation from the channels 34, 36.
It can be seen that when the appliance is placed within the oral cavity and the patient bites on the block forming the impression, the appliance is automatically locked in place. All the proper relationships of the appliance with respect to the upper and lower arches are maintained so as to provide proper work space and isolation. Additionally, sensitive tissues not directly involved in the operation are protected. Variations in the width of the arch, as for example, the distance between the lower right and lower left first molars, having no effect on the placement of the appliance, but result only in a changing pattern of impression tracks in the bite block.
Many changes may be made in details of the instant invention, in the method and materials of fabrication, in the configuration and assemblage of the constituent elements, without departing from the spirit and scope of the appended claims, which changes are intended to be embraced therewithin.
1. A dental appliance for evacuating debris and liquid from the mouth during dental operations, which comprises, a semi-rigid bite block adapted to be gripped by the molars of the patient on one or the other side of the mouth, said bite block deforming upon the initial bite of the patient so as to form a mold thereof for secure placement within the patients mouth and which bite block resists further deformation permitting the patient to exert substantial pressure on said block, a combination anchoring and evacuating member connected to said bite block and captured within the patients mouth, said evacuating member and said bite block have formed therein channels for the removal of fluid generated in the forward compartment and said bite block having formed therein channels for the removal of fluid generated in the back compartment, said member bearing against the linqual gingiva, a resilient collector removably connected to said evacuating member which collector extends from the evacuating member through the retro-molar space into the vestibule and rests on tissue overlying the ascending ramus and extends over the palate where it conforms to and lies on maxillary gingiva tissue and conforming to the shape of the mouth and separates the mouth into a forward compartment that is being worked on and a rear compartment, said collector collects fluid and saliva generated during said operation and diverts the same to said evacuating member for removal from the mouth.
2. In the appliance of claim 1, said collector is contoured to circumferentially seal the mouth into said compartments.
3. In the dental appliance of claim 1, said evacuating member is unitary with said bite block.
4. In the dental appliance of claim 1, an evacuating conduit received in said bite block and in fluid communication with said channels.
5. In the dental appliance of claim 1, said collector is adhesively coated for ready connection to said evacuating member.
6. In the dental appliance of claim 1, said collector may be gathered to form a cup-like contour for the collection of solid debris and diversion of fluids.
7. A dental appliance for evacuating debris and liquid from the mouth of a patient during dental operations which comprises a combination left and right side appliance, a bite block adapted to be gripped by the last molars on one or the other side of the patients mouth, said appliance initially having a pair of combination evacuating members, one used for work on the left side of the patients mouth, the other suited for work on the right side of the mouth, said evacuating members being removable from said bite block so as to permit placement of the appliance in one or the other side of the mouth.
8. In the appliance of claim 7, said evacuating members are connected to said bite block by means of a frangible scoreline structure.
9. The appliance of claim 7 further comprising a flexible collector removably connected to one or the other of said evacuating members which collector extends into the retro-molar space and rests on thetissue overlying the ascending ramus, and extends over the palate separating the mouth into forward and rear compart- 6 ments, said collector collects fluid generated during the operation and diverts the same for removal from the patients mouth.
10. In the appliance of claim 7, said bite block is semi-rigid and partially deformable upon the initial bite of the patient so as to form a mold thereof for secure maintainance within the patients mouth and which bite block resists further deformation permitting the patient to exert substantial pressure thereon without disturbing its placement.
11. In the appliance of claim 7, said appliance includes channels formed in the front face of the evacuating members, said channels communicating with an evacuator, whereby the fluids collected and diverted by said collector are removed from the mouth.
12. In the appliance of claim 7, said collector includes an adhesive coating on the back face thereof and said collector is connected to said evacuating member so as to form a longitudinal closure for said channels.
13. In the appliance of claim 7, said collector may be gathered to form a cup-like contour for the collection and diversion of fluids.