US 20050267451 A1
A device for the application of two or more hygienic effects is provided. The device could have one element on a support (e.g. a pick or a toothpick) or multiple elements distributed on a support (a brush, a comb, a toothbrush, a glove or a facemask). In case of multiple elements, a pattern of elements could be created into a topographical surface of elements. Two or more light sources are used for each element whereby each of the light sources is capable of producing a unique light treatment. The two or more light sources could be within the element, i.e., inside or integrated in the element, or could be inside the support and then optically connected to the element.
1. A device for application of two or more hygienic effects, comprising:
(a) an element having a connector part at the base of said element;
(b) two or more light sources, wherein each one of two or more light sources are capable of producing a unique light treatment and wherein at least part of said element is transparent to said light treatments; and
(c) a support to which said connector part can be fixed or removably connected.
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16. A device for application of hygienic effects, comprising:
(a) multiple elements, wherein each of said multiple elements are optically arranged with two or more light sources, wherein each one of two or more light sources are capable of producing a unique light treatment and wherein at least part of each of said multiple elements is transparent to said light treatments, and wherein each of said multiple elements having a connector part at the base of each of said multiple elements; and
(b) a support to which said connector parts can be fixed or removably connected, said multiple elements are distributed over said support.
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This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/645,674, filed Aug. 20, 2003, which is incorporated herein by reference for all that it discloses.
This invention relates to devices capable of providing hygienic treatments through light.
Hygiene relates to the principles of cleanliness, promotion and preservation of health or the freeing from disease-causing microorganisms. Hygienic effects can be established in different ways of which one is through the effect of light on biological structures. The light treatment can be applied to superficial structures and subcutaneous structures. The effects of light on biological structures depends on the properties of the light source (e.g. active matter, beam wavelength, continuous or impulse mode of operation), characteristics of the structures, water content, pigmentation degree, vascularization, vitality, heterogeneity, specific heat conductivity or time exposure. One of the objectives in the design of hygienic devices is to effectively apply multiple hygienic effects preferably simultaneously. Such devices would then lead to a reduction in treatment time while optimizing a comprehensive application of hygienic effects. The present invention advances the art in that direction.
The present invention provides a device for application of two or more hygienic effects. The device could have one element on a support or multiple elements distributed on a support. In case of multiple elements, a pattern of elements could be created into a topographical surface of elements. Two or more light sources are used for each element whereby each the light sources are capable of producing a unique light treatment. Examples of light sources are low power lasers, light emitting diodes or semiconductor lasers. The spectrum of usable light ranges from the ultraviolet, visible or infrared spectrum.
At least part of each element is transparent to the light treatments, e.g. the top part of the element. A support structure is included to which a connector part of the element can be fixed or removably connected. The light sources could be within the element (i.e., inside or integrated in the element) or could be inside the support and then optically connected to the element.
Different shapes and sizes of elements could be used, such as, elements that are slender, elongated, tapered, thin, having bead-shaped heads, having texture, partly or fully transparent, having optical guides, as well as elements that are bendable, flexible or formable. The elements, and in particular the top parts, are made from a soft plastic, a silicone, transparent latex, PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), polyurethane, or the like.
In one aspect, the device includes means for providing vibration or massaging effects. Vibrating or massaging means could be included in the support or in the element(s) with the objective to vibrate the support and/or the element(s).
Examples of devices having one element are e.g. a pick or a toothpick. Examples of devices having multiple elements are e.g. a brush, comb, toothbrush, or the like. Other examples of devices are e.g. a glove or a facemask, whereby the multiple elements are connected to the surface. The surface of the glove or facemask is preferably a made of flexible material.
The objectives and advantages of the present invention will be understood by reading the following detailed description in conjunction with the drawings, in which:
Although the following detailed description contains many specifics for the purposes of illustration, anyone of ordinary skill in the art will readily appreciate that many variations and alterations to the following exemplary details are within the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the following preferred embodiment of the invention is set forth without any loss of generality to, and without imposing limitations upon, the claimed invention.
The present invention provides a device capable of applying two or more light treatments to body structures. These light treatments are established by two or more light sources each capable of delivering a light beam with a unique light treatment to the body structures. The application of the light treatments could be established either in a quasi-stationary manner or a dynamic manner. The light sources are preferably low power light sources including low power lasers, light emitting diodes or low power semiconductor lasers ranging from the ultraviolet, visible or infrared spectrum. The desired light treatment(s) that one would like to obtain guides the choice of the light source (light sources) and the parameter(s). By varying parameters such as e.g. fluence, spot size, mode such as continuous or pulsed, repetition rate, pulse duration different light treatments could be established.
In general, light treatments are defined as treatments with hygienic effects that relate to the cleanliness of these structures, promotion and preservation of health of the structures, freeing the body structure from disease-causing microorganisms or providing therapeutic or treatment effects. In particular, the present invention encompasses hygienic effects related to the hygienic effect of visible, near ultraviolet and infrared light on these structures, which are known in the art (for a light spectrum refer to page 13 in a book by Tuner et al. (1996) entitled “Laser therapy in dentistry and medicine” and published by Prisma Books, Grangesberg, Sweden). Examples of such hygienic effects that could be selected include anti-inflammatory effects, preventative effects, caries-protective effects, heating effects anti-bacterial effects, sterilizing effects, cleaning effects, cosmetic effects, therapeutic effects, healing effects, bio-stimulative effects, bio-altering effects, pain-releaving effects, teeth whitening effects, photo-rejuvination effects, photodynamic effects or agent-penetration effects.
To establish a particular hygienic effect at a body structure one needs to consider the light source properties such as the type of low power light source, wavelength of the light beam, the continuous or impulse mode of operation of the light sources, characteristics of the structures, water content of the structures, pigmentation degree of the structures, vascularization of the structures, vitality of the structures, heterogeneity of the structures, specific heat conductivity of the structures, the fluence of light penetration through a structure or the time exposure needed for the light beam. The art provides teachings on hygienic photo-effects of structures including guidelines regarding parameters such as the type of light source, selection of wavelength(s), fluence, penetration, selection of spot size, recommended pulse duration, recommended repetition rate, or the like. The selection of the hygienic effect as part of the present invention incorporates these teachings as well as new teachings that become available in the art describing newly identified hygienic effects.
Currently available teachings are described in the following books, which provide an exemplary list rather than a comprehensive list. The list includes a book by Goldman (1981) entitled “The biomedical laser: technology and clinical applications” and published by Springer-Verlag, New York; a book by Katzir (1993) entitled “Lasers and optical fibers in medicine” and published by Academic Press, New York; a book by Hajder et al. (1994) entitled “Acupuncture and lasers” and published by Ming, Belgrade; a book by Tuner et al. (1996) entitled “Laser therapy in dentistry and medicine” and published by Prisma Books, Grangesberg, Sweden; a book by Alster et al. (1996) entitled “Cosmetic laser surgery” and published by Wiley & Sons, New York; or a book by Fitzpatrick et al. (2000) entitled “Cosmetic Laser Surgery” and published by Mosby, St. Louis).
Exemplary devices according to the present invention are shown in
Element 510 has a slender, elongated and tapered top part 512 transparent to light beams 122, 132 (indicated by the straight arrows). The elements 410 in toothbrush 400 shown in
The top parts of the elements could be between 0.1-10 mm in diameter and between 5 and 100 mm in length. In one aspect at least part of the element is made out of transparent material. Transparent materials suitable for the top parts of the elements are materials capable of radiating two or more light beams through its surface without loosing the desired treatment effect or power of the light beams. Examples of such a transparent material are for instance, but not limited to, a silicone, a (soft) plastic, a transparent latex, PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), polyurethane, or the like. Depending on the type of material used, the top part of the element could be flexible, bendable or formable. A toothbrush could have top parts based on thin flexible filaments; each toothbrush could have filaments with a different stiffness similar to conventional toothbrushes.
In general, the top part of an element could include one or more optical guides providing guidance of the light beams. As a person of average skill in the art to which this invention pertains would readily appreciate, this could be accomplished in different ways. For instance, one could include optical guide(s) or path(s), optical fiber(s), lens(es), mirror(s), prism(s), reflective coating(s), reflective groove(s), beam splitter(s), collimator(s), light channel(s), cladding(s) and grating(s). In the example of
The present invention has now been described in accordance with several exemplary embodiments, which are intended to be illustrative in all aspects, rather than restrictive. Thus, the present invention is capable of many variations in detailed implementation, which may be derived from the description contained herein by a person of ordinary skill in the art. All such variations are considered to be within the scope and spirit of the present invention as defined by the following claims and their legal equivalents.