US 9,808,371 B2
Multilevel oral appliance and method for maintaining a pharyngeal airway
John D. Summer, Portland, OR (US)
Filed by John D. Summer, Portland, OR (US)
Filed on Mar. 14, 2013, as Appl. No. 13/831,105.
Application 13/831,105 is a continuation in part of application No. 13/310,601, filed on Dec. 2, 2011.
Claims priority of provisional application 61/458,759, filed on Dec. 2, 2010.
Claims priority of provisional application 61/459,252, filed on Dec. 10, 2010.
Claims priority of provisional application 61/796,657, filed on Nov. 16, 2012.
Prior Publication US 2013/0199542 A1, Aug. 8, 2013
Int. Cl. A61F 5/56 (2006.01)
CPC A61F 5/566 (2013.01) 24 Claims
OG exemplary drawing
 
1. An apparatus for grasping and restraining a front portion of the tongue of a user, engaging a rear portion of the tongue of the user, and engaging the soft palate of the user rearwardly of the hard palate of the user so as to resist closing of the pharyngeal airway of the user, the apparatus comprising:
a first upper support;
the first upper support comprising an upper support body portion comprising an upper surface, a lower surface, a front, a rear, and first and second sides, the first upper support also comprising a first tongue gripping surface, the first tongue gripping surface comprising a plurality of tongue engaging projections adapted to extend from the lower surface of the upper support body portion toward the upper surface of a front portion of the tongue of a user;
an upper jaw coupler adapted to couple the first support to the upper jaw of the user, wherein the upper support body portion is pivotally coupled to the upper jaw coupler such that the front and rear of the upper support body portion are movable upwardly and downwardly relative to the upper jaw coupler, the upper jaw coupler comprising an upper cross member portion for positioning adjacent to at least a portion of the hard palate of the user;
a second lower support;
the second lower support comprising a lower support body portion comprising an upper surface, a lower surface, a front, a rear, and first and second sides, the second lower support also comprising a second tongue gripping surface, the second tongue gripping surface comprising a plurality of tongue engaging projections adapted to extend from the upper surface of the lower support body portion toward the lower surface of the front portion of the tongue of a user;
a lower jaw coupler adapted to couple the second support to the lower jaw of the user;
at least one biasing member coupled to at least one of the first and second supports and adapted to urge at least one of the first and second tongue gripping surfaces toward the other of the first and second tongue gripping surfaces with a front portion of a user's tongue positioned therebetween and adapted to grasp and restrain the tongue of the user therebetween;
a tongue depressor projecting from the upper cross member portion of the upper jaw coupler to a position rearwardly of the cross member portion and adapted to engage and depress the rear portion of the tongue of the user;
a soft palate engager projecting from the upper cross member portion of the upper jaw coupler to a position rearwardly of the cross member portion and adapted to engage a portion of the soft palate of the user rearwardly of the hard palate of the user; and
wherein the tongue depressor and soft palate engager are adapted to urge the rear portion of the tongue of the user and the engaged portion of the soft palate of the user away from one another so as to resist closing of the pharyngeal airway of the user.
 
23. An upper jaw assembly for an apparatus for grasping and restraining the tongue of a user, the tongue of the user having an upper tongue surface and a tongue rear portion, and for urging the tongue rear portion away from the soft palate of a user, the soft palate of the user extending rearwardly of the hard palate of the user, the upper jaw assembly comprising:
a first upper support;
the first upper support comprising an upper support body portion comprising an upper surface, a lower surface, a front, a rear, and first and second sides, the first upper support also comprising a first tongue gripping surface, the first tongue gripping surface comprising a plurality of tongue engaging projections that are adapted to extend from the lower surface of the upper support body portion toward the upper surface of the front portion of the tongue of a user;
an upper jaw coupler adapted to couple the first support to the upper jaw of the user, the upper jaw coupler comprising a cross portion spanning the users mouth from one side thereof to the other, wherein the upper support body portion is pivotally coupled to the upper jaw coupler such that the front and rear of the upper support body portion are movable upwardly and downwardly relative to the upper jaw coupler;
a tongue depressor coupled to the cross portion and projecting rearwardly and downwardly from the cross portion and to a position rearwardly of the upper jaw coupler and adapted to engage the tongue rear portion, wherein the tongue depressor is movable relative to the cross portion in upward and downward directions; and
a soft palate engager coupled to the cross portion and projecting at least rearwardly from the cross portion and to a position rearwardly of the upper jaw coupler and adapted to engage the soft palate of the user rearwardly of the hard palate of the user, wherein the soft palate engager is movable relative to the cross portion in upward and downward directions.