A crash helmet for your teeth

DN Staff

April 6, 1998

2 Min Read
A crash helmet for your teeth

Doylestown, PA--Oftimes the world of sports and the world of "hard knocks" are synonymous. Many parents have the dental bills to prove it. The Bop Stopper should help reduce those costs.

Invented by Theodore P. Croll, a dentist who has treated numerous sports-related dental injuries during his career, the Bop Stopper provides a low-cost mouth guard that not only protects, but adapts to various mouth sizes and shapes.

Teaming with Be Safe Products Inc. (Roanoke, VA), Klann Plastics (Waynesboro, VA), and Dentaurum USA (Newtown, PA), Croll designed the mouth guard using a closed-celled, cross-linked polyolefin foam not unlike that used in sports helmets. A simple, two-part design, the guard consists of a 3/16-inch strip of foam as a barrier to cover the teeth, and a slotted, white horizontal strip that the yellow piece fits into. The white component helps shape the guard and provides a one-half-inch-thick foam bumper in front of the teeth.

Croll chose Volara(reg) polyolefin foam, crosslinked using a special electron irradiation process, supplied by Voltek, (Lawrence, MA) for both pieces. The process results in a continuous, smooth surface material with a fine cell structure.

"Polyolefin is perfect for the mouth guard," Croll reports. "It is palatable and doesn't dissolve in the mouth. My patients tell me that once in the mouth, it conforms without digging into the cheek or knocking off orthodontic brackets, problems other disposable mouth guards have been known to create."

The material's physical properties include: thickness range from 0.015 inch to 0.420 inch, density range of 2 to 20 pcf, and a firmness range of soft to semi-rigid. It complies with FDA regulations for food contact and comes in standard white, black, ocean blue, charcoal, and natural colors. As is the case with the mouth guard, it can be custom-colored to the customer's specifications.

At the middle of the mouth guard's horizontal strip resides a finger tab used to insert and remove the Bop Stopper. The bumper and tab combination provides up to 5/8-inch of protection over the center teeth. The tab also features a hole to attach a shoelace for tying the guard to a shirt or helmet face guard.

The guard protects both lower and upper teeth, according to Croll. He explains that most off-the-shelf guards protect only the upper teeth. Moreover, the 1/4-inch thickness that the teeth settle into protects them if banged together in a chin blow, Croll adds.

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