US 2555858 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 5g 1951 E. .1. oLx-:KsY 2,555,858
cLEANNG DEVICE FOR TEETH AND DENTURES Filed Jan. 21, 1949 17297] (c: |H\ l zgz 3 T) d f7 'K12 (e H@ 'w f5 www. M@
` .56 57 54 .D @vow/J addi I?? vena? Edward .I Zezy Patented June 5, 1.951
ATEENT OFFICE CLEANING DEVICE FOR TEETH AND DEN TURES Edward J. Oleksy, Chicago, Ill.
Application January 21, 1949, Serial No. 71,883
6 Claims. 1
The present invention relates generally to a cleaning device for teeth, gums, and dentures. In particular, it relates to means substituting for brushes, wherein a sponge is used instead of the conventional bristles. The invention pertains to a structure by means of which suitable sponge material is made useful for the various purposes of the invention. A
Although bristle brushes are conventional, they have unsatisfactory characteristics. The particles of many bristles are too stiff. Some brushes have an unsatisfactory. contour of the bristle ends whereby they have only special utilities and are not universally useful for dental purposes. Many people have tender gums which are damaged by bristles or by too vigorous use of bristles. Bristles present pin points which must take all of the applied pressure. The contour of the brush frequently localizes this pressure undesirably. Obviously, the more the pressure is distributed over all of the bristles present, the less is the tendency for penetration of the gums.
Bristle brushes are also used for cleaning dentures. Over a long lperiod of years such cleaning with hard bristles eventually abrades the denture to the detriment of its good fitting qualities.
Common bristles are rigid and as` a body they do not yield to the contour of the jaw, teeth or denture. Both rigidity and flexibility have advantages and disadvantages.
The present invention aims to provide a suitable device with a cleaning surface free from bristles which is soft and yielding, yet effective and non-penetrating.
It is the general object of the invention to provide a cleaning device useful for human teeth and dentures having a suitable construction enabling the' substitution of sponge material for bristles.
It is a general object of the invention to provide a sponge element mounted on a rigid handle in a manner to exhibit useful rigidity and useful exibility.
It is a special object of the invention to provide a sponge of hydrophilic water-absorbing material mounted and rigidied in part on and by a rigid handle and in part suitably fiexible at the free end of the sponge element.
Various other and ancillary objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description and explanation of the invention as set forth in connection with the accompanying drawings.
In the drawings, Fig. l illustrates the general appearance of a device according to the invention.
Fig. 2 shows a horizontal cross-section of the device of Fig. l.
Fig. 3 shows a vertical cross-section of the device on line 3-3 of Fig. 2.
Fig. 4 shows a view similar to Fig. 3 showingl the cross-section of a modified form of the device.
Fig. 5 shows a modified form of the device showing a variation in the structure ilexibilizing the free end of the sponge.
Fig. 6 shows another modified form having a different flexible end, and also showing a tapered form for the sponge.
Fig. 7 shows still another modified form having a special flexible reinforcing means for the device.
Fig. 8 shows a modification of the structure generally shown in Figs. 1 to 3, in which the rigid portion of the sponge is variable by adjustment.
It is to be understood that the invention is not limited to or by the illustrated forms :and the following description thereof, and that other changes and modifications are contemplated by the invention expressed in the appended claims.
In carrying out the primary objective of eliminating bristles from dental cleaning devices, I have found that sponge material may be made effective by providing a suitable assembled structure embodying a sponge element. Sponge material avoids pin points of bristles and consequent damage arising therefrom. Inherently, sponge materials are water absorbent as a mass, but the material itself in the walls of the sponge cells may be water-absorbent and hydrophilic, or it may be impervious to water, for example, rubber sponge. The water-absorbent hydrophilic material for sponges is represented by natural sponges, by sponges of regenerated cellulose, and by sponges of synthetic chemical compositions, such as polyvinyl alcohol.
Where rubber sponge is wetted with water, the physical properties of the sponge mass may be altered, but not the internal character of the cell wall. In the case of water-absorbent hydrophilic material, the wetting with water alters the cell-wall material so that it is softer for use advantageously, and more flexible and pliable in part disadvantageously. In accordance with the present invention, the sponge material is so mounted that a portion of its length is made rigid by the handle mounting, and the remaining length of -the sponge material at the free end is flexible, in some cases with added reinforcing means of controlled flexibility, as will be hereinafter described.
The relative extents of the rigid and the ilexible lengths of the sponge element may vary, and may either be fixed in a given brush, or rendered variable in a given brush by the user. The line of demarcation between the rigid and the iexible parts need not be precisely established, and the extreme of rigidity may taper to the extreme of flexibility at the free end. By terminating the inner end of the rigid handle Within the free end of the sponge, there is cushioning material, including the sponge material, to protect the user from the blunt end of the handle.
The length, the size and shape of the sponge element may vary. Because of the extreme softness of Water-absorbent hydrophilic material when wetted, any shape becomes altered in use when wet, to Vaccommodate itself to the contour of the surfaces being cleaned. Nevertheless, it is preferred that the cross-section of the vsponge length be more or less uniform from one end to the other, as by use of a cylindrical element, or some element with one or more flat sides. In other cases, a tapered element may be desired, such as a frusto-conical section. The length may vary, as Well as the thickness. may be used for children and another for adults. A length comparable to conventional bris'tle tooth brushes or even longer may be employed, For convenience, the length is herein defined as a finger-length noting that this is variable but suitably commensurate with the requirements. The overall thickness of the nger-length also may vary, and in dry form this is preferably somewhat greater than the overall thickness from handle-back to face of the bristles in conventional tooth brushes because of the greater power of yielding under pressure, when wet and in use. YIn order to define the thickness Within a practical range and by an understandable term, it is herein referred to as a linger-like thickness, and the element itself may be considered as a finger-like length of sponge. The actual form and dimensions are variable Without departing from the invention in the mounting of the sponge. A thickness roughly in the range from 1%2 inch to 3A inch is a practical one.
In Fig. 1 such a device is illustrated as having a handle I and mounted thereon a finger-like length of sponge. The handle Ill is a rigid member. The sponge is preferably of Water-absorbent hydrophilic material, such as regenerated cellulose or polyvinyl alcohol, and preferably of a nne grained texture. The sponge Il illustrated is a cylindrical length and is provided with an axial opening I2. The Wall of the opening I2 is lined with a flexible tube, and preferably a resiliently flexible tube, for example, one of rubber I3, which is suitably cemented as by rubber cement I4 to the sponge. It is noted that the tube I3 terminates at I5 on the handle end at the end of the sponge, but at the free end of the sponge it terminates at I6 just within the end of the opening I2, so as not to be present as a harder substance at the free end of the sponge.
The rigid handle IIJ is illustrated as positively One form secured by suitable adhesive l1 within the ilexible tube I3, and it has its inner end I8 terminating at a point so that a major portion of the length of the sponge is thus rigidiiied. The flexible rubber tube I3 thereby resiliently reinforces the free end of the sponge over a minor portion of its length, yet leaves flexibility of lesser degree than the Wet sponge itself would exhibit. Without such reinforcement water-absorbent hydrophilic sponge would be flabby.
Fig. 4 shows a View similar to Fig. 3 illustrating in cross-section a sponge 2e having a rectangular cross-section, an axialV opening 2l lined with a exible tube 22, and a rigidifying handle 23 secured therein, all similar to the structure in Fig. 2.
Fig illustrates a modincation in which the handle is secured by suitable water-proof cement directly to the sponge over a major portion of the inserted end of the handle, and in which the ilexible reinforcement for the free end of the sponge is in the form of a nipple-shaped cap mounted on the end of the handle. In particular, there is the linger-like length of sponge 24 having an axial hole 25 therein. A rigid handle 2'6 is secured by cement 21 directly to the sponge. The free end 28 of the handle is reduced in size at an uil-cemented portion providing a shoulder 29. A flexible reinforcing tubular member 3,6 4is cemented at 3l at its sides to the sponge, and it fits over the end 23 of the handle. At the free end of the sponge the cap member 36 has its closed end 32 terminating just within the opening 25. This structure avoids the depth of opening into the sponge from the free end, as exists, in the structure of Fig. 1, thus lessening the need for cleansing the depth of such opening.
Fig. 6 is a simplified structure in which a tapered finger-like length of sponge 34 has an axial bore 35 from one end only. A major portion of the bore `i is occupied by the end of a rigid handle 36, the latter being cemented to the sponge by cement indicated at 31. A short solid member of flexible material 3B, preferably resilient rubber, reinforces the major portion of the remaining part of the opening 35. The flexible reinforcement 3S is cemented at 39 to the sponge and its inner end is cemented adjacent the end of the handle 36 as an extension of the handle. In this form the opening in the sponge does not extend from end to end, thus leaving al1 the material at ythe free end of the sponge. This makes the sponge a cap over the inserts in the opening. This cap is effective in conjunction with cement 31 to prevent in normal use longitudinal movement of the free end of the sponge past the free end of the handle extension.
Fig. 7 shows, a modification of the structure of Fig. 6, wherein the nexible reinforcement is made to taper from the rigid part to the free end. This form has a ringer-like length of sponge Ml, which has an axial opening 4I. A rigidifying handle d2 is securely mounted within the sponge by cement 43, and terminates at the center of the length of the sponge, the end being at and designated 44. A iiexible reinforcement is provided in the remainder of the opening lil in the form of a resilient rubber plug which is solid at its at inner end 46 abutting the end 415 of the handle, and tubular at its free end 4! slightly within the free end of the opening 4|. The plug 115 has a conical opening 48 tapering from its tubular end 41 towards its solid end 46. Suitable cement 49 shows the plug 45 cemented to the sponge 43 and also to the end 44 of the handle as an extension thereof.
Fig. 8 shows a structure in which the length of the rigid portion of a finger-like length of sponge may be varied as desired. This form has a finger-like length of sponge 50 with axial opening 5|. In this opening is secured by suitable cement 52 a resilient elastic flexible reinforcing tube 53, as of suitable rubber. The tube 53 terminates at one end 54 flush with the sponge, and at the other end 55 just Within the opening 5 I. Handle 56 is provided with a constricted rigid circular portion 5l of such size that when inserted in the tube 53 it stretches the latter providing a means for securing the handle and the sponge together. The extent to which the inserted end 5l of the handle is made to enter the sponge is optional with the operator, and for the purpose of preventing insertion of the handle for the full length of the sponge the entering portion 5l terminates at a shoulder 58 beyond which the major portion of the handle 56 is enlarged. Thus, in the device illustrated, the free end of the handle 59 cannot extend beyond the dotted line position 6G, leaving the desired liexible reinforced portion at the free end of the sponge.
In all of the figures illustrated above, the device lias been illustrated by structures most suitable for the preferred sponge material, namely, water-absorbent hydrophilic material. Where non-absorbent material, such as rubber is used for a sponge, it does not soften to such an extent as the water-absorbent hydrophilic material, and hence in such cases it is possible to eliminate the fiexible reinforcing means which have been variously illustrated and described, and employ the characteristics of the sponge itself for the flexibility.
From the foregoing description and explanation, it is apparent that numerous changes and modifications of the structure may be made without departing from the invention as set forth in the appended claims.
l. A dental and denture cleaning device comprising a finger-like length of sponge of hydrophilic water-,absorbent material, a rigid handle on the end of which said sponge is fixedly mounted and secured at one of its ends, said handle extending into the sponge in a generally axial direction for a major portion only of the latters length to rigidify `and fix said portion longitudinally, the other end of the sponge being free, and a flexible reinforcing nipple located and terminating Within the remaining portion of the length of the sponge fitting over the end of said handle to protect the user from thev rigid blunt end of the handle.
2. A dental and denture cleaning device comprising a finger-like length of sponge of hydrophilic Water-absorbent material having a handlereceiving opening extending in a generally axial direction from one end into the interior thereof, a rigid handle extending part way into said opening and for a major portion only of the length of the sponge, said sponge being fixed .againstfrom the terminal end of the handle to a position short of said extreme end ofthe sponge, said cushioning material being cemented to the adjacent portion of the Wall of said opening..
3. A dental and denture cleaning device comprising a finger-like length of sponge of hydrophilic water-absorbent material having a handlereceiving opening extending in a generally axial direction from one end into the interior thereof, a rigid handle extending part way into said opening and for a major portion only of the length of the sponge, said sponge being fixed against endwise compressive movement in normal use relatively to the handle by interfacial cement at the vvall of said major portion of said opening, the other end of the sponge at its extreme being free, and fiexible reinforcing means effectively secured in normal use to the end of the handle and extending therefrom in said opening to a location within the remaining portion of the length of the sponge in substantial extension of said handle to lessen the normal fiexibility of the sponge in its water-Wet condition, said reinforcing means being cemented to the adjacent portion of the wall of said opening.
4. A dental and denture cleaning device comprising a finger-like length of sponge of hydrophilic water-absorbent material having a handle-receiving opening extending in a generally axial direction from one end into the interior thereof, a rigid handle extending part Way into said opening and for a major portion only of the length of the sponge, said sponge being fixed against endwise compressive movement in normal use relatively to the handle by interfacial cement at the wall of said major portion of said opening, the other end of the sponge at its extreme being free, and flexible tubular reinforcing means effectively secured in normal use to the end of the handle and extending therefrom in said opening to a location Within the remaining portion of the length of the sponge in substantial extension ofthe handle to lessen the normal flexibility of the sponge in its Water-Wet condition, said tubular means being cemented to the adjacent portion of the wall of said opening.
5. A dental and denture cleaning device comprising a finger-like length of sponge of hydrophilic water-absorbent material having a handlereceiving opening extending in a generally axial direction from one .end into the interior thereof, a rigid handle extending `part Way into said opening and for a major portion only of the length of the sponge, said sponge being fixed against endwise compressive movement in normal use relatively to the handle by interfacial cement at the Wall of said major portion of said opening, the other end of the sponge at its extreme being free, and a fiexible reinforcing nipple located and terminating Within the remaining portion of the length of the sponge fitting tightly in normal use over the end of said handle to protect the user from the rigid blunt end of the handle, said nipple being cemented to the adjacent portion of the Wall of said opening.
6. A dental and denture cleaning device comprising a finger-like length of sponge of hydrophilic Water-absorbent material having a handlereceiving opening extending in a generally axial direction from one end into the interior thereof, a rigid handle extending part way into said` opening and for a major portion only of the length of the sponge, said sponge being fixed against endwise compressive movement in normal use relatively to the handle by interfacial cement at lchel Wall of said' ma-j'or .portn' of' said opening, th other: end of the spongel a't;l its extreme beingfxee, non-rigid' cushioning material o'f. less` flexibility themy the sponge' its water-Wet' coxditinv effectively secured iin normalr useV toi the hand1`e" andlyng' in Said' Opening and extending.' from die tie-miiaI end of the handle' to a; posto'n short of Vsaid extreme' endlv 0f the Sponge, and mea-ris. holding the free end of the sponge from mve'ment inthe drectior'lv toward the handlel and pst the"y free' end of the cushioning material..
' EDWARD J. OLEKSY.
REFERENCES CITED The fol-lowing references are of record in the le ofthis patent:
Number l5 Number 8 UNITED STATES PATENTS Name Dt Park Jan. 1, 11167 Hahn Mall'. 6', 1.917 Strieff Feb. 8,1921 Seifert sept. 27,1938 Seifert May 23'r 19":5'9 Fuller Oct. 8", 1940 B'Oyse Oct. 22,1940 Seguin Oct.` 2914 1940 Conk Dec, 17, 1940 Rudd Apr. 8- 1941 FOREIGN PATENTS Country Date FranceA Sept. 5, 1908 Great Britain June' 9, 1939'