Note: This text would have been used in a patent application, but the Patent and Trademark Office has let us down.  Lobbyists and Congress weakened patent protections with the America Invents Act, and patent trolls from big business simply litigate with individual inventors until they get what they want.1. At this writing, the PTO averages 16.1 months before it takes the first action on a patent application, and 25.7 months to process the average application. Over 500,000 patent applications are now awaiting examination2

 

Iatrogenic Shield to Protect Lower Lip during Oral Procedures

Abstract:

An iatrogenic shield which includes a pair of soft flexible vertical mylar panels placed on each side of the front lower incisors and a top horizontal panel which connects the vertical panels and extends anteriorly from the mouth, depressing the lower lip. The inner vertical panel is placed on the interior side of lower incisors. The other vertical panel is on the exterior side of the lower incisors, resting in the vestibule against the gingivae, between lower incisors and inferior labium.

Inventor: Stang, David J. (Potomac MD)

 

References Cited

U.S. Patent Documents:

1474497 Apr 28, 1922 Stolper

Claims:

What is claimed is:

  1. A lower lip shield comprising a soft cup placed over the lower incisors and conforming to their shape, with an extending shield above the incisors that protrudes slightly from the mouth, preventing the lower lip from coming in contact with the tops of the lower incisors.
  2. The lower lip shield of claim 1 is in contact with both the front and back of the incisors, and is held in place by this contact.
  3. The lower lip shield of claim 1 is fabricated from a material that may be autoclaved or cold sterilized.
  4. The lower lip shield of claim 1 is fabricated from a material that is sufficiently inexpensive that it can be discarded after use.
  5. The lower lip shield of claim 1 is made from a material that is small, thin and lightweight, thus not interfering with nor obstructing the dental operation.
  6. The lower lip shield of claim 1 is made from a material that is translucent, thus not interfering with dental photographs.
  7. The lower lip shield of claim 1 may be quickly and easily placed in the desired position.
  8. The lower lip shield of claim 1 is self-retained and not easily accidentally dislodged from its desired location.

Description:

NOTICE OF COPYRIGHTS AND TRADE DRESS

A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. This patent document may show and/or describe matter which is or may become trade dress of the owner. The copyright and trade dress owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by any one of the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright and trade dress rights whatsoever.

Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to dental instruments and intraoral procedures, and in particular, to a lower lip shield for use during intraoral procedures, adapted to prevent unintended iatrogenic discomfort and injury.

Background of the Invention

The work of a dentist, oral surgeon, dental hygienist, and dental assistant (hereinafter “clinician”) is physically demanding and requires great concentration. Hands and tools are inserted into a small dark cavity, where great precision and sometimes great strength are demanded. Because the work is done in an area with a high density of pain nerves, the inner portions of the mouth are often anesthetized. But the lips, which contain some of the highest densities of pain nerves in the entire body, are not normally intentionally numbed.

When a clinician inserts her hand and tools into the patient’s mouth, the patient’s lower lip is sometimes pushed in on top of the lower incisors, and sometimes the clinician will then inadvertently press down, pinching the lower lip between the patient’s lower teeth and the clinician’s hand or instrument. This problem may be especially likely when working on upper molars or when using a one-sided cheek retractor, which may pull the lower lip over the lower teeth.

Because the area of a clinician’s focus is typically anesthetized and the lower lip usually is not, such unintended pinching of the lower lip is sometimes the most painful experience in the entire procedure. A patient experiencing this discomfort is normally unable to communicate it to the clinician by speech or facial expression. If the unintended pinching occurs to an anesthetized lip, the patient may experience minor injury but not experience immediate pain.

The art is replete with devices designed to isolate the cheek, lip and/or tongue. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 1,474,497 to Stolper is directed to a Z-shaped retractor. While the device could protect the lower lip, it must be held in position by the patient.

Other art may be designed to prevent oral injuries of the soft tissues, i.e., lips, cheeks, tongue, and gums in comatose, decerebrate and anesthetized patients. Such contraptions, such as U.S. Pat No. 5,469,865 A by Minneman, may happen protect the lower lip, but by protecting too much, may potentially interfere with a desired procedure.

Conventional retractor designs can cause post operative patient muscle fatigue and/or pain, particularly if the forces are applied for extended time or applied excessively. Additionally, active retraction can cause clinician hand and arm fatigue, especially when repeated on multiple patients throughout the day.

The claimed invention solves the problem of protecting the lower lip from being accidentally forced against the lower incisors without requiring an active role by the patient or clinician, without interfering with oral procedures, and without causing patient discomfort.

Summary of the Invention

  1. The present invention provides an iatrogenic shield for the lower lip which improves patient comfort by preventing the lip from being accidental pressed against the lower incisors.
  2. An object of claim 1 is that the shield is readily accepted by the patient.
  3. Another object of claim 1 is to provide an iatrogenic shield which is simple in design and construction, and economical because it may be repeatedly autoclaved or cold sterilized and reused.
  4. Still another object of claim 1 is to provide an iatrogenic shield which is small, thin and lightweight, thus not interfering with nor obstructing oral procedures.
  5. A further object of claim 1 is to provide an iatrogenic shield which may be quickly and easily placed in the desired position.
  6. A still further object of claim 1 is to provide an iatrogenic shield which is self-retained and not easily accidentally dislodged from its desired location.
  7. Various objects, features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention, along with the accompanying drawings in which like numerals represent like components

Brief Description of the Drawing

In the accompanying drawing in which reference is made in the instant specification and which are to be read in conjunction therewith and in which like reference characters are used to indicate like parts in the various views:

5 Drawings 2

FIG. 1 is a midsagittal sectional view of a mouth, showing where the iatrogenic shield will be placed.

FIG. 2 is a top view of an embodiment of the invention

FIG. 3 is a left side view of an embodiment of the invention

FIG. 4 is a bottom view of an embodiment of the invention

FIG. 5 is view of the patient’s open mouth, with an embodiment of the invention shown in position.

Description of the Preferred Embodiment

The shield consists of two functional components. A lower portion wraps the lower incisors front, top, and back, much like a bite plate. A somewhat snug fit against the teeth holds the entire shield in place. Along the top of the shield is a protrusion which extends out past the lower lip from the top of the lower teeth, preventing the lip from curling up over the teeth.

The shield is formed from material that is soft, can be autoclaved repeated, and is translucent to permit clinical photography, such as medical grade polypropylene. It has sufficient elasticity to resume its normal shape after deformation as necessary to effect placement.

FIG. 1 of the drawings shows where the iatrogenic shield will be placed in the mouth. It rests on the lower incisors, wrapping them front 1, top 2, and rear 3.

FIG. 2 shows the shield as viewed from the rear and above. Note the protrusion on the top 4 and front side 5, which keep the lower lip away from the lower teeth, the top 6 which provides additional protection for the lip from the teeth, and the back or inside 7 which together with the front helps retain the shield in place.

FIG. 3 shows the shield from the side. The protrusion on the top 4 will depress the lower lip 1 when the shield is placed in the mouth, and may be used by the clinician for insertion and removal.

FIG 4. shows the shield from the bottom.

FIG. 5 shows the shield in place in a mouth. Note how the protrusion on the top 4 depresses the lower lip 8, protecting it from accidental grinding against the lower incisors.

It will be seen that I have accomplished the objects of the claimed invention(s). I have provided an iatrogenic shield which is simple in design and construction and economical. My shield is small, thin and lightweight and does not interfere not obstruct the clinical procedure. My shield may be quickly and easily placed in the patient’s mouth, need not be held in place by patient or clinician, and is not easily accidentally dislodged. In addition, my shield ensures patient comfort by protecting the lower lip against accidental grinding against the lower incisors.

It will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations. This is contemplated by and is within the scope of my claims. It is further obvious that various changes may be made in details within the scope of my claims without departing from the spirit of my invention. It is, therefore, to be understood that my invention is not to be limited to the specific details shown and described.

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Eden, Scott. “The Greatest American Invention”. Popular Mechanics, July/August 2016 p. 93-99
  2. Patents Data at a Glance. USPTO.