US 3259129 A
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July 5, 1966 H. w. TEPPER 3,259,129
APPARATUS FOR CORRECTING TONGUE THRUST PROBLEMS Filed June 1'?, 1964 @gygy/ United States Patent Oiice Patented July 5, 1966 3,259,129 APPARATUS FOR CGRRECTING TONGUE TI-IRUST PRGBLEMS Harry William Tapper, 11633 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 96049 Filed .lune 17, 1964, Ser. No. 375,712 Claims. (Cl. 12S-172.1)
This invention relates to an apparatus for correcting tongue thrust problems, and more particularly to such an apparatus which imparts an electrical stimulus to a patients tongue when it is thrust forward incorrectly.
As used herein, the term patient shall be taken to mean both the human patient and animal patient.
Many babies learn to swallow incorrectly by thrusting their tongues forward instead of drawing them back and moving them toward the top of the palate. This develops a habit which is not broken as the child matures, with the result that the child does not swallow correctly, but insists upon thrusting his tongue forward between the biting edges of his teeth. This not only sometimes causes the child to develop a defective speech pattern, but also is detrimental to the formation of the dental `arches which support the teeth because the constant pushing on the teeth and mucosa by the tongue can cause these dental arches to become deformed.
In addition, many children develop the incorrect habit of permitting the tongue normally to rest against the lingual surfaces of the upper incisors. This too causes the dental arches to become deformed, and results in malocclusion.
Also, some thoroughbred colts develop the habit of elevating their tongues in such a manner that they do not breathe correctly. When such colts attain the proper age for racing, they will not develop into satisfactory race horses if this habit is not broken.
In view of the foregoing, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide a new and useful apparatus for correcting tongue thrust problems and malocclusions.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a new and useful device for producing electrical stimuli to correct tongue thrust problems and malocclusions.
Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a new and useful device of the type described which will correct a patients habit of normallyresting his tongue on the lingual surfaces of his central incisors.
A further object of the present invention is to provide a new and useful palate retainer which includes electrode means for imparting electrical stimuli to the tip of a patients tongue when it is moved forward to approximately the lingual surface of his upper incisors.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide a new and useful device for training a thoroughbred colt to maintain his tongue in a proper position for satisfactory breathing.
According to the present invention, a suitable full palate retainer, such as one of the Hawley type, is provided with means for imparting a suitable electrical stimulus to the tip of a patients tongue when it is thrust forward to within approximately two millimeters of the lingual surfaces of the upper incisors.
In one form of the invention, the electrical stimulus is provided by embedding six conventional 1.4-volt batteries in the palate retainer and connecting them in series with a pair of electrodes which are also embedded in the palate retainer.
In a modification of the invention, saliva inthe mouth of the user of the device acts as an electrolyte for battery plates mounted in the palate retainer. Six sets (cells) of battery plates are employed and are connected to the electrodes in series.
In both forms of the invention, the electrodes are mounted on the palate retainer in such a manner that, when the retainer is in position in the patients mouth, each electrode will be located approximately one mlllimeter from the lingual surface of an associated upper.
central incisor and will extend in the direction of the lingual-gingival line incisally to the middle one-third of the lingual surface of an associated central incisor. The tips of the electrodes preferably project toward the tip of the tongue about two millimeters.
When the patients tongue is thrust forward sufficiently during swallowing to Contact the electrodes, a circuit is completed and an electrical stimulus is imparted to the tongue, causing the patient to draw it back and move it toward the top of his palate in normal manner. An electrical stimulus is 'also imparted to the tongue when it is elevated incorrectly. This stimulus develops a habit in the patient of normally maintaining his tongue in a proper position.
The features of the present invention which are believed to be novel are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. 'Ihe present invention, both as to its organization and manner of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference characters refer to like elements in the several views.
In the drawings:
FIGURE l is a perspective view of an apparatus of the present invention which may be employed to correct tongue thrust problems;
FIGURE 2 is a cross-sectional View, on an enlarged scale, taken along line 2-2 of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is a cross-sectional view, on an enlarged scale, taken along line 3-3 of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 4 is a somewhat schematic, cross-sectional view showing the device of FIGURE 1 in position in a patients mouth;
FIGURE 5 is a perspective view of a modified form of the apparatus shown in FIGURE l;
FIGURE 6 is an enlarged, cross-sectional view taken along line 6-6 of FIGURE 5 and l FIGURE 7 is an enlarged, partial cross-sectional view taken along line 7-7 of FIGURE 6.
Referring again to the drawings, and particularly to FIGURES 1-3, an apparatus of the present invention, generally designated 10, includes a full palate retainer 12 which may be of the Hawley type. The retainer 12 is made by taking impressions of the patients palate and making a mold in conventional manner. The retainer 12 may be retained in position in a patients mouth by suitable clasps, such as the ones shown at 14, which are embedded in the retainer 12. A pair of spaced electrodes 16 also are embedded in the retainer 12 and are connected in a series circuit with a suitable number of cells, such as the six shown at 18. The cells are preferably wafer-thin, are embedded in the retainer 12, and place an electrical potential of approximately 9 volts across the electrodes 16.
The retainer 12 may be made from any suitable dental plastic, as will be readily understood by those skilled in the art, and is placed in position against the palate 20 of a patients mouth. When so positioned, the electrodes 16 are preferably located approximately one millimeter from the lingual surface of an associated upper central incisor 22. The electrodes 16 extend in the direction of the lingual-gingival line incisally to approximately the middle one-third of the lingual surface of the associated central incisor 22.
The tips 24 of the electrodes 16 are preferably somewhat spherically shaped to minimize irritation to the patients tongue 26 and project toward the tip of the tongue 26 about two millimeters from the associated central incisor 22. When the tongue 26 is thrust forward, it will contact the tips 24 of the electrodes 16 completing a circuit through the batteries 18. This causes an electrical stimulus to be imparted to the tongue 26 causing the patient to involuntarily draw his tongue back and move it toward the top of his palate 20.
It has been found that electrical stimuli are quite effective in breaking the habit of thrusting the tongue forward in swallowing with the result that the patient subconsciously develops the correct tongue motion of thrusting the tongue back toward the top of the palate 20 in swallowing. Likewise, electrical stimuli are equally effective in breaking a patients habit of letting the tip of his tongue rest against the lingual surfaces of his upper incisors 22. Thus, the device can be positioned in a race horses mouth and used to teach him to keep his tongue down in a proper position for good breathing.
A modification of the apparatus is shown in FIGURES 5-7, wherein a modified apparatus 10a includes a full palate retainer 12a which includes clasps 14 and electrodes 16 which may be identical with those shown in FIGURES 1 3. The palate retainer 12a is modified from that shown in FIGURE l to include apertures 28 through which the patients saliva is free to ow. The cells 18a employed in conjunction with the retainer 12a may be activated by the patients saliva and are mounted in recesses 30 which are provided in the lower surface 32 of the retainer 12a. The recesses 30 communicate with the apertures 28 so that the patients saliva is free to flow in and around the batteries 18a. Each battery 18a includes a suitable zinc plate 34 and a silver plate 36 (or copper, or other combinations of metal plates with sufficient difference of electrical potential) which may be separated with a light wooden separator 38. The electrodes 16 are connected in a series circuit, not shown, with the cells 18a in such a manner that a suitable potential exists across the electrodes 16 to impart electrical stimuli to the ytongue 26 when it comes into contact with the electrodes 16. The cells 18a are preferably wafer-thin so that they will readily adapt themselves to various palates.
While the particular devices for correcting tongue thrust problems herein shown and described in detail are fully capable of attaining the objects and providing the advantages hereinbefore stated, it is to be understood that they are mere-ly illustrative of the presently preferred embodiments of the invention and that no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown other than as defined in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A device for producing electrical stimuli for correcting tongue thrust problems of a wearer of the device, comprising:
a full palate retainer positionable in said wearers mouth against the palate thereof, said retainer being made from an impression of said palate and including means for maintaining said retainer in position in said mouth against said palate;
a pair of electrodes mounted in said palate retainer in such a manner that said electrodes are located approximately one millimeter from the lingual surface of the upper incisors of said wearer when said palate retainer is in position in said mouth, said electrodes including tips which project toward the tip of the wearers tongue about two millimeters from said incisors when said palate retainer is in position in said mouth;
a battery means mounted in said palate retainer; and
electrical circuit means mounted in said retainer for connecting said electrodes in series with said battery means, whereby said tongue will close said circuit and receive electrical stimuli when said tongue contacts said electrodes.
2. The device of claim 1 wherein said battery means is activated by the saliva in said patients mouth and wherein said retainer includes aperture means in fluid communication with said battery means for conducting said saliva thereto.
3. Apparatus for correcting tongue thrust problems of a patient having a mouth, a palate, a tongue, and upper incisors, comprising:
support means positionable in said mouth against said palate, said support means having a front edge lying adjacent said upper incisors when said support means is in position in said mouth; stimulus means supported by said support means adjacent said front edge, said stimulus means including a tongue-engaging portion depending from said front edge to a position approximately one millimeter from the lingual surface of said incisors in the same horizontal plane as said incisors, said tongue-engaging portion projecting toward said tongue to -a position about two millimeter from said incisors; means for producing an electric potential at said stimulus means for shocking said tongue when it contacts said tongue-engaging portion; and electrical circuit means connecting said stimulus means to said electric potential means for supplying said electric potential to said stimulus means.
4.1A device for stimulating the tongue of a wearer of the device when the tongue is thrust forward toward the wearers upper front teeth, comprising:
a support adapted to be attached along the back of the upper front teeth, said support including a front portion positionable immediately behind said upper front teeth, said support also including clasp means for retaining it in position along the back of said teeth;
a pair of electrodes depending from said front portion in spaced relation, said electrodes being of such length that they extend to a position in the horizontal plane of said front teeth when said support is attached to said wearer along the back of said teeth, said electrodes being adapted to train said wearer to refrain from thrusting said tongue toward said teeth by imparting an electrical shock to said tongue when contacted thereby during electrical energization of said electrodes;
battery means for producing an electric potential for energizing said electrodes;
electrical circuit means connecting said electrodes to said battery means in an open circuit, whereby a circuit will be completed through said battery means for energizing said electrodes when said tongue contacts both of said electrodes.
5. The device of claim 4 wherein said support comprises -a Hawley-type full palate retainer.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,967,815 7/1934 Frieberg 18--409 2,123,980 7/1938 Warwick 12S- 172.1 2,151,738 3/1939 Buhse 12S-409 X 3,118,450 1/1964 Freeman et al. 12S-409 ADELE M. EAGER, Primary Examiner.
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