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1. WO2020198148 - DISPOSITIF D'ALIGNEMENT ORTHOPÉDIQUE PERSONNALISABLE PAR L'UTILISATEUR AYANT UN ESPACE D'ALIGNEMENT

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Claims

What is claimed is:

1 . A user-customizable orthopedic alignment device (OAD) comprising:

a formable mouthpiece adapted to be positioned in a user’s mouth between the user’s upper and lower teeth,

wherein the formable mouthpiece includes an overmold having has at least a right section and a left section,

wherein each of the right and left sections has a bite portion which is adapted to contact bite surfaces of the user’s teeth, and one or more walls that are adapted to extend vertically from the bite portion along the sides of the user’s teeth,

wherein the overmold forms an alignment gap, wherein when the overmold is placed in a user’s mouth with the bite portions of the left section and the right section positioned between the user’s upper and lower molars, the alignment gap is adapted to be positioned in lateral alignment with the user’s canine teeth and thereby enable unobstructed positioning of an alignment member laterally between the user’s canine teeth;

wherein the right and left sections of the overmold comprise a first formable material which is adapted to be temporarily softened, molded to the user’s teeth, and hardened in a shape that conforms to the user’s teeth;

wherein when the right and left sections are temporarily softened and the formable

mouthpiece is positioned in the user’s mouth with an alignment member positioned in the alignment gap between the user’s upper and lower teeth, the one or more alignment members are adapted to enable contact pressure between the user’s teeth and the one or more alignment members to urge the jaw toward an orthopedically aligned position and to enable the right and left sections to be molded to the user’s teeth in the orthopedically aligned position.

2. The user-customizable OAD of claim 1 , wherein when the formable mouthpiece is positioned in the user’s mouth, the right section and the left section are adapted to be positioned against respective ones of the user’s upper and lower molars, the formable mouthpiece further comprising a front portion which is adapted to be positioned against the user’s upper and lower front teeth when the formable mouthpiece is positioned in the user’s mouth, wherein the alignment gap of the formable mouthpiece is positioned between the front section and the right and left sections of the formable mouthpiece.

3. The user-customizable OAD of claim 2, further comprising a frame which is mounted on the overmold of the formable mouthpiece, wherein the frame includes a bridging portion that extends across the alignment gap between the front section and the right and left sections of the formable mouthpiece, wherein a material of the bridging portion has a greater stiffness than a material of the overmold.

4. The user-customizable OAD of claim 3, wherein the bridging portion of the frame is substantially rigid.

5. The user-customizable OAD of claim 1 , further comprising one or more alignment gap inserts, wherein the alignment gap inserts are configured to fit within the alignment gap in the overmold.

6. The user-customizable OAD of claim 5, wherein the one or more alignment gap inserts comprise a thermoplastic material, wherein the thermoplastic material is adapted to be softened by heating and hardened by cooling.

7. The user-customizable OAD of claim 5, wherein each of the one or more alignment gap inserts comprises one or more retention features, wherein the retention features are configured to retain the one or more alignment gap inserts in the alignment gap.

8. The user-customizable OAD of claim 7, wherein the retention features for each of the one or more alignment gap inserts comprise posts that extend outward from the one or more alignment gap inserts, wherein the posts are adapted to fit within corresponding holes in the overmold.

9. The user-customizable OAD of claim 8, further comprising a frame which is mounted on the overmold of the formable mouthpiece, wherein the frame includes a bridging portion that extends across the alignment gap between the front section and the right and left sections of the formable mouthpiece, wherein a material of the bridging portion has a greater stiffness than a material of the overmold, wherein the frame includes one or more insert retainer extensions, wherein each of the insert retainer extensions has a hole therethrough, wherein the hole is positioned to receive a corresponding one of the posts of the one or more alignment gap inserts therethrough.

10. The user-customizable OAD of claim 9, wherein one or more of the posts have one or more barbs which, when the one or more of the posts have been inserted through the corresponding holes in the overmold or the frame, prevent the one or more of the posts from being removed from the corresponding holes.

1 1 . The user-customizable OAD of claim 1 , further comprising a frame which is mounted on the overmold of the formable mouthpiece, wherein the frame includes a stabilizing portion that is adapted maintain a spacing of at least 2 mm between a wearer’s upper molars and lower molars.

12. The user-customizable OAD of claim 1 , wherein the first formable material comprises a thermoplastic material, wherein the thermoplastic material is adapted to be softened by heating and hardened by cooling.

13. A method for forming user-customizable orthopedic alignment device (OAD), the method comprising:

providing a formable mouthpiece having an overmold with at least a right section and a left section, wherein each of the right and left sections has a bite portion and one or more walls that extend vertically from the bite portion, the overmold having an alignment gap;

softening the formable mouthpiece;

placing the formable mouthpiece in a user’s mouth with the bite portions of the right and left sections positioned between the user’s upper and lower molars and with the alignment gap positioned substantially in alignment with the user’s canine teeth; placing an alignment member between the user’s canine teeth, wherein the alignment

member is positioned laterally in the user’s mouth within the alignment gap of the formable mouthpiece and within a gap between the user’s canine teeth;

lightly biting down on the alignment member so that the alignment member contacts the user’s upper and lower canine teeth, wherein contact pressure between the user’s teeth and the alignment member urges the jaw toward an orthopedically aligned position, and wherein the bite portion and walls of the right and left sections of the formable mouthpiece are molded to a plurality of the user’s molars; and allowing the formable mouthpiece to harden.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the overmold further comprises a front portion which is connected to the right and left sections, wherein the overmold has the alignment gap positioned between the front section and the right and left sections, and wherein the front portion is positioned between the user’s upper and lower front teeth.

15. The method of claim 14, further comprising, after the formable mouthpiece has hardened, positioning one or more alignment gap inserts in the alignment gap, wherein bite portions of the one or more alignment gap inserts form a single generally continuous surface with bite portions of the front section and the right and left sections.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein positioning one or more alignment gap inserts in the alignment gap comprises inserting one or more posts that extend from the one or more alignment gap inserts into one or more corresponding holes in the overmold.

17. The method of claim 13, further comprising, prior to softening the formable mouthpiece, removing one or more alignment gap inserts that are positioned in the alignment gap.

18. The method of claim 13, wherein the formable mouthpiece and the alignment member are positioned in the user’s mouth so that the formable mouthpiece does not touch the alignment member.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein the alignment member is positioned in the user’s mouth prior to positioning the formable mouthpiece in the user’s mouth.

20. The method of claim 13, wherein the alignment members is positioned distal to teeth 6, 1 1 , 22 and 27.