US 3124129 A
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March 10, 1964 M. E. GROSSBERG 3,124,129
TEETH PROTECTOR Filed April 30, 1962 INVEN TOR.
United States Patent 3,124,129 TEETH PROTECTOR Marc E. Grossberg, 5701 Jackson St., Houston, Tex. Filed Apr. 30, 1962, Ser. N0. 191,041 1 Claim. (Cl. 128136) This invention relates to a dental appliance and more particularly to a teeth or mouth protector.
Dental appliances of the general form, sometimes referred to as teeth or mouth protectors are now in wide use, particularly by athletes engaged in contact sports, to protect teeth, jaws, and oral areas from various types of jarring and impactive blows received on the jaw and mouth regions of the face during engagement in such sports.
One of the more commonly used types of such mouth protectors comprises a two-part structure. One part is a generally U-shaped base or cover designed to conform to the dental arch and provided with a correspondingly shaped channel to receive either the upper or lower set of teeth of the user. The base member of this current design of protector is constructed of a flexible resilient rubber or rubber-like composition. The second part of the structure comprises an impression-taking body which is suitably secured in the channel and is composed of a thermo-setting plastic, or the like, which is adapted to receive and retain a faithful impression of the users teeth. This type of protector, which is disclosed in Chandler Patent No. 2,705,492, specifically emphasizes that the impression-taking body be a material which is relatively harder than the material comprising the base member. The Chandler patent stresses that the mouth protector be made from two different materials, one of which is more or less rigid, but flexible, and the other of which is substantially rigid at normal temperature, the former being the base member. It is the theory that by making the impression-taking body harder than the base member greater protection will be provided for the teeth and jaw areas which may be subjected to blows.
I have found that the reverse relation of the relatively hardness of the impression-taking material and the base member will afford the greatest measure of protection to the user.
It is a principal object of this invention, therefore, to provide an improved tooth guard or teeth protector which is superior to the existing type of device such as that previously described.
Other and more specific objects and advantages of this invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing which illustrates a teeth protector in accordance with this invention.
In the drawing:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the base member;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the base member provided with the impression-taking filler body prior to receiving the teeth impression;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the users mouth, showing the mouth piece in position over the upper teeth of the user;
FIG. 4 is a plan view of the protector with the teeth impression imposed in the filler body; and
FIG. 5 is a transverse section taken generally along line 55 of FIG. 4.
Referring to the drawing, it will be seen that the device comprises a base member, designated generally by the numeral 10, which is generally U-shaped to fit the dental arch. Body is generally channel-shaped in cross-section, having the channel 11 defined by an outer wall 12, an inner wall 13, and a bottom wall 14. Channel 11 is adapted to receive the teeth T (FIG. 3), which may be either the upper or lower set of teeth of the user. Outer wall 12 is made higher than inner wall 13 and has its upper edge 15 contoured to conform to the configuration of the juncture of the gum with the lip and cheek tissues.
Body 10 is constructed of a resilient flexible material which may be any elastomeric composition suificiently tough to prevent its being bitten through by the user, but, as indicated, having a degree of softness sufiicient to provide an effective cushion between and about the teeth of the user. As shown in FIG. 2, channel 11 has mounted therein a body of an impression-taking material 16 which is securely fastened into channel 11, either by any suitable adhesive, or by mechanical connector means of a conventional type (not shown), in conjunction with a suitable adhesve. Impression-taking material 16 is an elastomeric material which may comprise numerous plastic or resinous compositions which are well-known in the art to have the thermo-plastic properties desired for purposes of taking and retaining an accurate dental impression. These materials include polyvinyl chloride, polyvinyl acetate, ethylene vinyl acetate, polyvinyl butyral, vinyl alkyd, polyvinyl formal, vinylidene chloride, polyvinyl acetal, vinyl stearate (and oleate esters), polyvinyl alcohol, vinyl parafiins, such as Elvax, polyethylene and polypropylene, as well as others, including mixtures and co-polymers of these various types of plastics.
The compositions may be plasticized, extended and colored in any well-known manner, and will be so compounded to make them somewhat softer than the composition comprising the base member. This will permit the maximum cushioning and protective function to be provided by the impression-taking material.
One elastomeric material which has been found to be particularly useful is vinyl butyral, which may, of course, be plasticized, extended, colored, and molded in any well known manner and with known materials to attain the desired thermo-plastic properties as well as the desired degree of softness, resiliency, tackiness and the like.
Body 10 will be compounded to have a Shore-A durometer hardness in the range of from about to about 80, while impression-taking material 16 will be suitably compounded to have a Shore-A durometer hardness in the range of from about 30 to about 65.
Impression-taking material 16 will be compounded to provide a material having the desired degree of hardness and which will soften sufliciently to be molded about the teeth at a temperature in the range from about F. to about F. and which, upon cooling below this range of temperature and particularly to normal atmospheric or internal mouth temperatures, will permanently retain an accurate impression of the teeth.
In use, the protector constructed as described will be heated in any suitable and well-known manner, as by an infra-red lamp or by immersing in hot water to a desired softening temperature. The protector may then be inserted into the mouth of the person being fitted and positioned adjacent the teeth to be protected. The user, by biting down on the softened impression-taking material, will produce thereby an accurate impression of his teeth. As the device cools to mouth temperatures or lower, the impression-taking material will harden and thereafter permanently retain the impression of the teeth so that the finished protector may be removed and reinserted as needed. Where the softening temperature may be uncomfortably high for insertion directly into the mouth, the mouth tissues may be pre-cooled in any suitable manner, as by first rinsing them thoroughly with ice-water before the heated protector is inserted and placed about the teeth. The chilled surfaces of the mouth and teeth protect them against possible burns and will aid in quickly reducing the temperature of the impression-taking material to that at which the teeth impression becomes permanently set in the impression-taking material. The finished device Will tend to cling tightly about the teeth so that it will not be dislodged easily in use but may be readily removed and re-inserted as needed. Any extrusions or excess material may be trimmed from the finished protector.
The protector constructed as above described provides highly eifective protection against injury to the user, is simple to fit and to use. It will be understood that numerous changes may be made in the details of the illustrative embodiment within the scope of the appended claim but without departing from the spirit of this invention.
What I claim and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:
A protective mouthpiece, comprising, a generally U- shaped base member of flexible resilient elastomeric composition material, said base member including a bottom and spaced-apart side walls extending outwardly from said bottom to define a tooth-receiving channel conforming in shape to the dental arch of the user, and a body of a thermo-plastic flexible resilient composition adapted to receive and retain a dental impression mounted in the channel and secured to the base member, said composition being relatively softer than said base member, said base member material having a Shore-A durometer hardness in the range from about 75-80 and said composition having a Shore-A durorneter hardness in the range from about to about and a softening point in the range from about to about F.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 165,584 Hopfen July 13, 1875 2,705,492 Chandler Apr. 5, 1955 2,843,555 Berridge July 15, 1958 3,016,052 Zubren Ian. 9, 1962 3,073,300 Berghash Jan. 15, 1963
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