|Veröffentlichungsdatum||30. Mai 1991|
|Eingetragen||16. Nov. 1990|
|Prioritätsdatum||17. Nov. 1989|
|Veröffentlichungsnummer||PCT/1990/1765, PCT/GB/1990/001765, PCT/GB/1990/01765, PCT/GB/90/001765, PCT/GB/90/01765, PCT/GB1990/001765, PCT/GB1990/01765, PCT/GB1990001765, PCT/GB199001765, PCT/GB90/001765, PCT/GB90/01765, PCT/GB90001765, PCT/GB9001765, WO 1991/007143 A1, WO 1991007143 A1, WO 1991007143A1, WO 9107143 A1, WO 9107143A1, WO-A1-1991007143, WO-A1-9107143, WO1991/007143A1, WO1991007143 A1, WO1991007143A1, WO9107143 A1, WO9107143A1|
|Erfinder||Alan Joseph Green|
|Antragsteller||Green Alan J|
|Zitat exportieren||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patentzitate (4), Referenziert von (7), Klassifizierungen (3), Juristische Ereignisse (4)|
|Externe Links: Patentscope, Espacenet|
Dental Floss Applicators
Field of the Invention
The invention relates to dental floss applicators for use in oral hygiene.
The term "dental floss" is intended to include both thin string-like material and flat tape-like material.
Description of Prior Art
In my pending European Patent Application 0 280 507 A, a device is disclosed comprising a casing which houses a self contained supply of floss and a self contained supply of a fluid medicant or freshness agent, the floss being drawn across a pair of limbs to provide the flossing material and the agent being expelled in small doses by manual manipulation. A hinged flap is provided containing clamp means to tension the length of floss between the limbs.
An object of this invention is to provide an improved dental floss applicator which is more efficient in use, more stylish in appearance, easier to use and more easily refilled when the supply of floss and/or agent is exhausted. Also known from U.S. 3 289 681 is a dental floss holder which comprises a body and a hinged cove; the body carries a supply of floss which is drawn through prongs to provide the flossing material between them and the lid has arcuate ears which, when the lid is closed engage and tension the floss upstream and downstream of the prongs. The tension can only be released by opening the hinged cover.
An other object of the invention is to provide an improved dental floss holder.
Summary of the Invention An object of the invention is to provide a hand-held, self-contained dental floss applicator which can carry a replaceable container of fluid and dispense the fluid in controlled doses which are small enough to be commercially viable.
Another object is to provide a dental floss applicator, with or without supply of fluid, having a quick release facility to release tension of the floss.
Another object is to provide a dental floss applicator, with or without supply of fluid, which enables the floss to be drawn-on in a measured pull.
According to one aspect of the invention, there is provided a dental floss applicator for use in oral hygiene comprising a holder for the location threrein of a supply of dental floss material, said holder having spaced members for location therebetween of a length of dental floss material drawn from said supply across and past said members to provide a length of dental floss upstream and downstream of the spaced members, floss tensioning means mounted externally on said holder for engagement with said upstream and downstream lengths of floss, and a quick release means associated with said floss tensioning means to secure the tensioning means in engagement with said lengths of floss to tension the length of floss between said spaced members and to allow quick release of said tension.
According to another aspect of the invention there is provided a dental floss applicator for use in oral hygiene comprising a holder adapted to contain a supply of dental floss material and a self-contained pressure activated container of a flowable agent having properties of the type including medication and freshness, said holder comprising: a main body having; a hollow body portion to accommodate a supply of floss and the container of flowable agent; a neck and head portion extending from said hollow body portion; passage means in said neck and head portion for passage of flowable agent to the head; outlet means in the head for discharge of a dose of flowable agent; spaced members on said head for location of a length of dental floss therebetween; outlet means to enable a length of dental floss to be drawn from the supply within said body; a floss tensioning means on said body adapted to engage lengths of floss upstream and downstream of said spaced members; and means associated with the clamp for securing the clamp in a tensioning position for quickly releasing"the clamp therefrom.
In accordance with a further aspect of the invention there is provided a dental floss applicator for use in oral hygiene comprising a holder adapted to contain a supply of dental floss material, said holder comprising a hollow body portion to accommodate a supply of floss, a neck and head portion extending from said hollow body portion, spaced members on said head for location of a length of dental floss therebetween, outlet means to enable a length of dental floss to be drawn from the supply within said body, a floss tensioning means mounted on said body adapted to engage lengths of floss upstream and downstream of said spaced members to tension the floss between said spaced members, means associated with the clamp for securing the clamp in a tensioning position and for quickly releasing the clamp therefrom, a sleeve slidably mounted on the hollow portion of the body and slidable relatively away from and towards the head of the body and a floss securing means on said sleeve adapted to engage the downstream length of floss so that sliding movement of the sleeve relatively away from the head draws a fresh length of floss between the spaced members.
In yet another aspect of the invention there is provided a dental floss applicator for use in oral hygiene comprising a holder adapted to contain a self-contained pressure activated container of a flowable agent having properties of the type including medication and freshness, said holder comprising a hollow body portion to accommodate the container of flowable agent, a neck and head portion extending from said hollow body portion, passage means in said neck and head portion for passage of flowable agent to the head, outlet means in the head for discharge of a dose of flowable agent, spaced members on said head for location of a length of dental floss therebetween, said hollow body portion being movable relative to the container of flowable agent to cause pressure activation of the container for the discharge of a dose of flowable agent.
Preferably, a sleeve is slidably mounted on the hollow portion of the body and slidable relatively towards the head of the body to cause pressure activation of the container of flowable agent to discharge a dose of flowable agent.
Preferably also, the head carrying the length of dental floss is replaceable.
Brief Description of the Drawings.
Fig 1 is a plan view of a dental floss applicator according to the invention;
Fig 2 is a side elevation of Fig 8, partially in section;
Fig 3 is a plan view of the main body of the device but with the clamp omitted;
Fig 4 is a side elevation of Fig 10 showing the floss container;
Fig 5 is a rear end view in the direction of arrow X in Fig 4 but omitting the floss container;
Fig 6 is a front view of a pivotal floss clamp shown raised;
Fig 7 is a rear end view of a floss container;
Fig 8 is a side elevation of the dental floss applicator with a cover located thereon;
Fig. 9 is a side elevation partially in section of a modified dental floss applicator; and
Fig. 10 is a side elevation partially in section of a further modification. Description of Preferred Embodiments
Referring now to the most preferred embodiment, Figs. 1 to 8, the dental floss applicator comprises a holder in the form of an outer casing which is in two slidably engaging parts 100 and 101 and contains internally a container 102 of dental floss and a container 103 of fluid medicant or freshness agent, the container 103 being a pump-action container or an aerosol container.
The casing comprises a main body 100 which is cylindrical and open at one end, the other end extending into a neck 104 which terminates in a pronged head 105. A slidable body or sleeve 101 overlies the rear portion of the main body 100 and is slidable axially thereon to extend or to slightly decrease the overall length of the container. It will be noted in Fig 1 that the sleeve 101 has a cut-away portion 106 at its upper forward end: this is to enable the parts 100 and 101 to slightly telescope inwardly to discharge fluid as hereinafter described. The casing is elliplical as best shown in Fig 5.
The main body 100 has cut-away portions 107, 108 in its sides. These may be of similar length but in this embodiment they are of different lengths but both extending to the rear end so that the upper wall portion 109 of the main body 100 has a degree of resilience.
It will be noted from Figs 1 and 4 that the upper wall portion 109 has a rebated portion 110 at the rear end of which is a raised step 111.
In order to locate the sleeve 101 on the main body, and also when the sleeve is to be removed to replace a used container 102 or 103, finger pressure is applied to the upper wall portion 109 to lower the step 111 sufficiently to enable the sleeve to pass unobstructed; otherwise the step 111 is intended to prevent removal of the sleeve 101 when it is drawn rearwards as hereinafter described.
The main body 100 has on its upper face a series of transverse grooves 112 for co-operating with a tensioning clamp 113 and two channels 114, 115 on the surface of the neck 104 and head 105 to guide floss 116 which is drawn from the floss container 102 through an opening 117 in the body 100 behind the grooves 112. The opening 117 is triangular to guide the floss to overlie the grooves.
As illustrated in Figs 1 and 2, the floss 116 is drawn along channel 114 across the gap 118 between pronged arms
119 of the head 105 and along channel 115 to pass over the groove 112 as a length of spent floss coming from the head parallel to the unused floss going to the head, ie parallel "downstream" and "upstream" lengths respectively.
The tensioning clamp 113 is hingedly mounted on a post
120 which is part of the body 100 and is best shown in Fig 13. The underside of the clamp 113 has a series of transverse projections 121 which co-operate with the grooves 112 in the body 100. At the end of the clamp 113 remote from the hinge the sides are pared to form a pair of flared arms 122 with abutments at their ends. These co-operate with ledges 123 of a slide 124 mounted on the clamp 113 to limit the forward movement of the slide on the clamp, at which position a front projection 125 of the slide locks into a raised position 126 on the body at the rear of the neck 104. Rearward movement of the slide 124 for a quick- release unlocking of the clamp 113 is limited by abutment of the end wall 127 of the slide with the front end of the clamp.
When the clamp 113 is closed the projections 121 tension the piece of floss 114 between the prongs 117. When the clamp 113 is released to allow the spent floss to be pulled rearwards, it retains an interference with the floss 116 to prevent the floss forward of the hinge post 120 becoming slack and slipping off the transverse grooves 112. Thus, the unlocked clamp 113 can provide a small clearance between the clamp 113 and the surface of the body 100 to enable passage of the floss therebetween when being drawn rearwards or during re-threading. This may be achieved by eg providing a cammed projection 128 on the rear of the clamp so that when the clamp is unlocked and partially raised, the floss will be pinched between the projection and the surface of the body to produce an interference sufficient to retain the floss forward of the hinge in position; only when the clamp is raised to a substantial angle will the required clearance be formed for the floss. The clamp is shown upright in Fig 6.
The cam surface is designed to encourage the floss inwardly away from the outer edge of projection 128.
The spent floss extends rearwards of the clamp 113 and engages a securing means 130 and the upper face of the sleeve 101.
The securing means 130 comprises, in preferred embodiment, a stop button 131 which is slidably mounted on the sleeve at the forward end thereof, the sleeve having a bridge 132 with a longitudinal slot 133 thereunder into which the button 131 locates. The upper face of the button has a transverse recess which snap fits under a depending rim 134 of the bridge, the width of the recess being greater than that of the rim to provide a clearance 135 which allows a small amount of longitudinal movement of the button relative to the bridge 132. Thus the button can move rearward into the sleeve as shown in the drawings or return forward to its original position.
The button 131 has a forward surface 136 for engagement by a user's finger or thumb (to press it rearwards) a contoured underside 137 having a vertical rear end face 138 and a horizontal slot 139 open at its sides and rear.
Floss downstream of the clamp 113 is fed through the slot 139 and the free end can be left loose because the clamp 113 tensions the length of floss between the pronged arms 119. When it is desired to change that length of floss, the button 131 is pressed into the sleeve 101 and by so doing the floss in the slot 139 jams against the bridge 132 as the button moves under it into the sleeve along longitudinal slot 133. The clamp 113 can then be opened to free the floss for movement and the sleeve 101 drawn rearwards by continued pressure on button 131 and the user's grip on the sleeve, As the floss is jammed within the sleeve it is drawn rearwards with the sleeve to draw a fresh length into the space between the arms 119. As the sleeve is drawn rearwards towards the limit, the underside 137 of the button 131 abuts the step 111 at the rear of the body 100 and the button 131 stops, but the small amount of "play" between the button and the sleeve allows the sleeve to continue its rearward movement a further short distance sufficient to release the trapped floss. The clamp 113 is closed at this stage and the sleeve 101 returned forwardly to its initial position. There will now be a length of slack floss between the clamp 113 and the button 131 in excess of the distance between these two parts and it forms into a loop. This is rectified by drawing the excess floss through the slot 139 in the button and cutting off the end portion if necessary. A cutter 140 is carried on the body 100 adjacent to the hinge post.
The dental floss applicator may carry a supply of floss only. However, in the applicator shown in the drawings, a supply of medicant or freshness agent is also carried, in the form of a pump or aerosol 103 housed within the casing of the applicator and replaceable when exhausted (by removal of the sleeve) . In the arrangement shown, the supply of floss 116 is contained on a container 102 which lies against the front wall of the body 100 adjacent to the neck 104. It has a longitudinal conduit 145 having a male end which locates in a nozzle 146 in the body 100 leading to a narrow passage 147 which runs within the neck 104 and the head 105 to exit at openings 148 in the arms 117 adjacent to the length of floss between the arms so that agent can be expelled onto the length of floss 118. Alternatively, the outlets or outlet for the agent may direct the agent into the user's mouth during use, simply as a means of adding e.g. freshness to the user during flossing. The conduit 145 narrows towards the male end and also has a female end which accommodates the nozzle 149 of the pump or aerosol 103. The sleeve 101 has internal ribs (not shown) along its sides to centralize the container 103.
In order to release medicant or freshness agent, the body 100 is pushed relatively rearwardly into the sleeve 101 to activate the pump or aerosol and a dose of medicant or freshness agent exits from the arms in a vapour spray or droplet of gel; the cut away front 106 in the sleeve 101 allows the body this rearward motion because it avoids contact with the cutter 140 and hinge post 120.
In practice, and with the floss between the arms 119 located between two teeth and the user holding the sleeve 101 of the device, thumb pressure is applied to the front face 148 of the body 100 to press the inner wall of the floss container 102 against the pump or aerosol container 103 to release the dose of fluid. The face 148 is identical.
The floss container 102 is formed as a closed drum having a hole 150 through which gloss from within can be withdrawn. It comprises a cup-shaped member 151 having an axial tube which forms conduit 145. A bobbin of floss 116 is placed in the cup and the free end threaded through the hole 150, after which a lid 152 is fixed into the cup. The peripheral face of the container is distorted over a short arcuate portion 153 (Fig 7) which has an external covering of a shade to match the sleeve 101. The cut-away portion 108 on one side of the body is longer than on the other and the container covering 153 can therefore be seen as illustrated in Fig 11. The container 102 can thus fit only in one disposition so that the hole 150 is aligned with a hole 117 in the upper wall of the body 100. When the container is in position it locates below the clamp 113 and gives support to the part of the body 100 underneath the clamp. The forward end of the arcuate portion 153 is recessed at 154 (Fig 5) to enable release of the container 102 by finger tip pressure rearwards.
Containers 102 will be sold as "refills" and may act as an adaptor, different containers being designed to accommodate different sizes of agent container 103 and different lengths of diameter of nozzle 149. Where no fluid agent is provided, an elongated floss container may be located within the device. A cover 155 (Fig 8) is provided to locate over the head 105, neck 104, main body 100 and part of the sleeve 101, the open end of the cover abutting the bridge 132 and a rim 156 which extends therefrom around the sleeve.
The cover friction fits onto the device and serves to make the device portable in a pocket or bag. The device can also be stood on a shelf, because the end face of the sleeve is flat.
The device is an assembly of moulded parts made of rigid plastics material.
The head, neck and main body are formed in two (upper and lower) parts joined along a longitudinal line 157. The internal passages for the floss are formed by producing channels in the moulded parts such that when the parts are joined together, eg by sonic welding the channels combine to provide the internal passages.
The sleeve 101 is formed in two (side-by-side) parts.
The toothed clamp 113 with its slide clip 124, the blade of the cutter 140 and the stop button 131 are mounted on the assembled main body 100 and sleeve 101.
In a further embodiment Fig. 9 , the dental floss applicator holder is in the form of an outer casing comprising a single body part 100' similar to part 100 but in the form of a sleeve or cap to engage the nozzle end of the pump or aerosol container 103, e.g. by internal ribs (not shown) and partially surround same, leaving the rear or bottom end of the container 103 uncovered to act as a base for standing the applicator upright.
The floss container 102' is located within the sleeve or cap 100* and is engaged, as before, by the nozzle 149 of the container 103.
In this embodiment, the floss is held taut by the tensioning clamp 113', as before, but when the clamp is released, the floss is drawn manually to replace the used floss. A cover, not shown, may be provided to overlie the head 105* , neck 104' and a portion of the body of the sleeve or cap 100• .
In yet another embodiment, a fixed supply of floss is provided. As illustrated in Fig. 10, the device comprises a main body 100" having a neck 104" and head 105", the head carrying a fixed length of dental flos. Either the floss can be replaced manually or preferably the head 105" can be replaced, e.g. disposable, to present a fresh length of floss. The head 105" and neck 104" may meet at 150.
The body 100" carries a pump or aerosol container 103 and, preferably, but not necessarily a sleeve 101" is slidably mounted on the body 100" so that telescoping of the body and sleeve cause a discharge of fluid to the head.
As stated previously, the agent is dispensed by thumb or finger pressure on one end of the body which slightly telescopes the two parts of the body or moves the part 100Or 100" against the container 103. When a pump is used, a regular, ie metered amount of agent is dispensed. The dose is small in order to provide a commercially viable product for a hand-held self-contained floss and fluid dispenser.
Examples of small dosage may range from 25 micro litres to l/5th milli litre.
When an aerosol is used, the dosing can be small by instantly releasing the pressure created by the thumb or finger, but the dosing in a particular area can be increased if required by retaining pressure on the aerosol or, in the case of the pump, by applying pressure several times.
The device therefore has the capability of controlling the amount of agent dispensed per dose, dispensing small doses and providing metered doses. This entitles it to official medical recognition.
The device can be loaded with containers of different capacity and giving different rates of dispensing so that dosing can be varied for different purposes.
The clamp 113 is closable in the preferred embodiment by the slide clip 124, but a resilient catch 160 (Fig 4) may be provided instead. Forward finger pressure on the catch 160 would release the clamp 113.
In a further alternative, the slide clip may be laterally pivotal relative to the clamp 113 to secure or release the clamp.
The securing means 130 has been illustrated on a sleeve 101 carried on the main body 100, but may be mounted on any convenient means slidably carried on the body 100 of the device.
The device of the preferred embodiment provides a means to tension the floss for use, means to draw a metered length of floss from the supply 102, and a quick release of floss tension. It preferably also provides a metered supply of fluid.
The device as disclosed herein has many advantages, such as:
1) The externally mounted tensioning means enables easy re-threading of the floss and easy draw-on of floss while retaining the floss under sufficient tension to prevent it falling off the neck.
2) The quick release clip enables instant release of the floss tension should floss snag in the user's mouth.
3) The pull-push action if provided draws a metered length of floss from the supply; the consequent reduction in wastage allows a smaller supply of floss to be carried and thus the dimensions of the floss container and of the casing can be reduced to provide a more ergonomic device.
The push action also activates a pump or aerosol, if provided, preferably a pump, which can supply a constant metered dose of medicant.
4) The location of the outlets for the medicant adjacent to the length of floss between the arms enables the medicant, during use to reach the floss unobstructed by the user's teeth so that the floss can carry the medicant into the area of the gum to be treated.
Thus, the combination of very small doses and directing the dose onto the floss provides an optimum use of the supply of medicant.
5) When the device is in use, a dose of the medicant can be targeted to a selected region of the user's gum; thus the doses can be small and as a result, sufficient medicant will be contained in the dip-tube of the medicant container to allow several doses to be given on occasions when the device is in such a position that no further medicant can enter the dip tube, ie when the rear end of the device is held higher than the head end.
6) The device with its cover can be contained in a hermetically sealed, tamper-evident packaging.
7) The supply of floss and/or the medicant container are easily replaced, and a fresh supply of floss can be easily threaded.
8) The cover protects the exposed floss both between the arms and extending from the arms to the clamp, thus allowing the device to be bag or pocket-portable.
9) The device is free standing.
10) Production costs are relatively low due to the design of the piece parts and ease of moulding.
11) It qualifies for official medical recognition.
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|Zitiert von Patent||Eingetragen||Veröffentlichungsdatum||Antragsteller||Titel|
|WO1993008763A1 *||20. Okt. 1992||13. Mai 1993||Zdenek Navratil||Dental floss self-applicator|
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