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polymers, thermoplastic polymers

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Mouth protectors are commonly made from polyethylene polymers [eq]. It is a thermoplastic material which comes in 5.5 in. sq. sheets with a thickness varying between 1/16 and 1/8 in. A thermoplastic material becomes moldable upon heating and becomes hard when cooled. A thermoset material hardens with heating and cannot be remolded. The following is a list of properties of a polyethylene mouth protector after processing and after being worn. [eq]. An impression and a plaster cast are made to capture dental features. The material is heated and softened. The cast is placed on a modified shower head vacuum and plastic is drawn into place. After cooling the mouth guard is trimmed and ready for use. Comments: Quick and easy demonstration. Takes little planning. Companies which provide commercial sheets: Dental Resources (Proform), Buffalo Dental (Sta-Guard), and World Wide Dental (Mira-Guard). [eq].

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Author:
Marcia Muller
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