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Publication numberUS3193094 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 6, 1965
Filing dateMar 20, 1961
Priority dateMar 20, 1961
Publication numberUS 3193094 A, US 3193094A, US-A-3193094, US3193094 A, US3193094A
InventorsSchulstad Robert J
Original AssigneeSchulstad Robert J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Dental wedges and package thereof
US 3193094 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

y 1963 R. J. SCHULSTAD 3,193,094


AH 5 's.

I Faber-1" c]. SchuJSiaCZ United States Patent 3,193,094 DENTAL WEDGES AND PACKAGE THEREOF Robert J. Schulstad, 5570 SW. Arrowwood Lane, Portland, Oreg. Filed Mar. 20, 1961, Ser. No. 96,908 Claims. (Cl. 20663.5)

This invention relates to dental wedges, and more particularly to an improved form of dental wedge, and means and method for applying the same into the embrasure that is present between the proximal walls of two adjacent teeth.

A general object of the invention is to provide an improved dental wedge, that properly positioned is operable to exert pressures distributed along the length of the Wedge against the bodies which the wedge is between.

Another object of the invention is to provide an improved wedge that is relatively easily manipulated by a dentist during positioning of the wedge.

A still further object of the invention is to provide a novel packet containing plural wedges, and a novel mechanism for dispensing them, which facilitates the picking up of diiferent sized wedges by a dentist, in the course of his placing them between teeth.

Also part of the invention, and an object thereof, is the provision of an improved method for applying wedges to embrasures between teeth, and an improved tool used in such application.

A dentist frequently during his treatment of a patient is required to encircle one or more teeth with a band or bands, and then force portions of a band in the embrasure between two teeth tightly against a tooth. For these purposes, dental Wedges are usually used. For instance, in preparing an amalgam filling, a band may be used as a matrix, with the inside of the band where it extends over a cavity preparation forming the contour of the finished filling. Pressure on the band, particularly near the gum line, is desirable, as it results in a filling having a contour that is flush with the contour of the tooth where the filling meets the tooth. Pressure distributed over an area, particularly :an area extending over where the point angles of a cavity preparation are located, is preferred to line pressure, as this results in the margins of a filling being flush with the margins of a cavity preparation over a larger extent of the filling. Wedges known to date have been characterized by several disadvantages, a major one being their inability to produce satisfactorily distributed pressures on a band. Further, the ordinary wedge is ditficult to handle, in that it is hard to pick up from ed a dental table, and then be inserted between two teeth.

A more specific object of the invention is to provide a dental wedge, which comprises an elongated flexible and resilient body, that tapers from a butt to a pointed end, such body having essentially three sides so that it has a triangular cross section, and which includes along one of its sides a groove extending from adjacent its pointed end to adjacent its butt end. The groove accommodates flexing of the other of the sides of the Wedge body, inwardly into the space of the groove, during the insertion of the wedge. After insertion, the resilient nature of the material is eiiective to cause the wedge to expand out- "Ice wardly where such movement is permitted, with pressure being applied against a band disposed alongside over a large area.

Another object is to provide a novel packet of wedges where the wedges can be removed one at a time by a dentist single handedly, which facilitates the selection of wedges as they are needed by a dentist.

Another object of the invention is to provide an improved type of dispenser for wedges, that enables wedges to be removed one at a time, prior to their insertion between two teeth.

Still another object is to provide a new method for picking up wedges, and inserting them between two teeth, using forceps with gripping members for holding onto the wedges.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide an improved type of forceps, useable in picking up wedges and applying them to teeth, and also useable in removing wedges from between teeth after the need for them is over.

These and other objects and advantages are attained by the invention, and the same is described in the following description, to be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a hand manipulating dental forceps as contemplated by this invention, showing such forceps as they are used in applying a wedge between adjacent teeth;

FIG. 2 is a view, somewhat enlarged, and taken along the line 22 in FIG. 1, showing one end of the forceps, and the configuration of the ends of gripping members in the forceps;

FIG. 3 is a view taken along the line 33 in FIG. 2, showing a push surface provided the forceps;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged, perspective view, of a dental wedge;

FIG. 5 illustrates a dispenser for wedges, such dispenser holding plural packets of wedges according to the invention;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view, taken generally along the line 6--6 in FIG. 5; and

FIG. 7 is a top view looking down at a pair of bands, as they might look after positioning them about a pair of teeth, showing how the wedge contemplated produces good contact with the bands.

Referring now to the drawings and in particular to FIG. 4, at 10 there is indicated generally a single Wedge constructed according to an embodiment of the invention, such wedge having an elongated body 12. At 12a is indicated the butt end of body 12, and the body tapers progressing toward the pointed end 12b of the body. The body has substantially a triangular cross section, with essentially three longitudinally extending sides, indicated at 14, 16, and 18. Two of the sides, that is sides 14 and 16, are the sides that bear on a band and tooth, respectively, when the wedge is inserted into the embrasure between a banded tooth and an unbanded tooth therebeside. Thus, these sides have a slight concavity, extending transversely of the body member, as illustrated in FIG. 4. The other side, i.e., side 18, forms the base of the wedge, and ordinarily slides on the gum when the wedge is inserted between two teeth. Sides 14 and 16 join along a top edge 20, and flare outwardly progressingdown-f V wardly from this top edge.

According to a preferred embodiment of this invention, body 12 of the wedge is to be made of plastic, such plastic being flexible and somewhat resilient. A polyethylene plastic, for instance, may be used for the wedge. A common dental wedge is made of maple, because of its hardness characteristics, and thusja plastic having a hardness close to that of maple is preferred.

In order that sides 14'and 16 be somewhat deformable,

and flexible toward each other when pressures are applied inwardly thereagainst, an elongated V-shaped groove, in-

dicated at 24, is provided body 12, and this extends from ner approximately to match the concave curvature of sides 4 than the hub portions-of the packets above, and that on the stand the wedges of adjacent packets are otfs'et or staggered. Otherwise the construction of the packets are similar. I a I Since the packets are stacked on top of each other, it is desirable to place the wedges of each so that they may be broken off without encumberance by the wedges of the packets above and below it. Thus, spacers 56 are provided between the packets. These are shown as separate parts slipped onto column 48, however, obviously they could be made integral with the supporting hub portion 41 of a packet.

. In using the wedges, it is contemplated that a dental tool taking the form of the forcepts 60 indicated in FIG. 1

' 26 and 28. These wall portions curve convexly in a man 14 and 16, and substantiallyparallel thesides of the wedge, so that portions ofthewe dge betweensides 14, 15

and walls '26, 28 have approximately uniform thickness extending along the length of the wedge.

Adjacent the butt end of the w dge, near top edge T is a nubbin 30 that extends out from'the butt endr' Nubbin 30 has grooves 32 downeithersiddthatffacilitat gripping of the wedge by an instrument, as when pulling it out from between two teeth. Sides of the grooves prevent an instrume'nt clamped onto the wedge from' slipping off the end of the wedge when thesamei's pulled on, thus constituting grip, shoulders accommodating positive gripping of the wedge. p

Dental wedges are small, and in the pasthave been diflicult to handle. An important feature of the invention is the provision of a unit packet of wedges, wherein the wedges are detachable from the unit, one at'a time,;as they are used. Such packets, and a dispenser with the packets mounted thereon, is illustrated in FIGS 5 and 6.

' posed, inwardly directed lips 66, 68.

. and normally urges the: gripping members 62, 64 apart to a separated position. As indicated by the-outlineof the hand, the tool or instrument is ordinarily held between thethurnb and forefinger, and to bring the members together the thumb andforefinger' arepinched together.

Gripping members at theirunjoined set-of ends terminate in turned over gripping end portions 62b, 64b. These are turned over at an angle, in the plane in which members 62, 64 move toward and away from each other. ,At the base of gripping end portionsfilb, 6412 are op- The outer faces 66a, 6851 01" these lips function as push faces, and with the gripping members together, they in concert provide an expansive push'surface for pushing onto the. butt end pf 21 wedge. Preferably these outer faces are knurled for'tractive purposes. Edges 66b, 68b at the ends of the lips, or defining adjacent margins of the push faces, 66a,

68a, are sharpened, and are used to bite onto the butt end Referring to these figures, three packets of wedges are illustrated, and these are indicated at 36, 38 and40,-respectively. Each 'is in the shape of: a disc, and has a central supporting hu'b'portion, indicated for packet. 36 at a 41, and projecting radially out fromthe hub portion and detachable therefrom plural wedges. 10, each of which resembles the wedges described more indetail above. The wedges have their butt ends disposed inwardly on the packet, and their, pointed ends disposedoutwardly. The

-wedges and the hub portion of a packet are integral,

which is to say that they are all made of plastic and are one piece.

. The dental wedges 10 of a packetare detachable from I a hub portion by snapping the'm otf. Thus, each wedge is joined to a hub portion through a stem portion 43. A stem 43 projects rearwardly fromthe butt ,end of a wedge near top edge 20 and where, themain bulk of the wedge at the butt: end is. located. The stems 43 have reduced cross sections, compared to the cross sections otlportions of the packet at either end, so that when awe-dge is grasped byan instrument, such asjby apair of forceps, i and abruptly twisted, it breaks otf at the stem. The stems function asbreak locationsforthewedges. 7

Hub portions 41 of the varoius packets have apertures 46 extending therethrough at approximately their centers. These apertures have extending up therethrough the up- I standing column 48 of a stand 50; Column 48 is provided with a key 52, andthis. fitswithin a notch-54 provided the aperture 46 of each .hub portion. Thus, each aperture has an irregular shape, which complements an irregular cross section iii-column 48, and the packets thus are prevented from rotating on the stand.

Three dilferent packets of wedges are illustrated, since Of a. wedge when pulling the wedge to withdraw it. 7 In back of lips 66; 68 and defined by the back faces of the lips and walls 71, 72 of the gripping members, is a passage 76. The passage extends transversely between the gripping. end portions of the gripping members. Passage .76 has a triangular outline, substantially corresponding to thev triangular cross section of a wedge. Note that the base ofthe passage is substantially flat, and that the sides of the passage converge at'the .top of the passage, with the gripping end portions depending downwardly as shown in FIG. 2. In this position, the-forceps can be used easily to pick up a wedge disposed horizontally, with. such wedge having its grooved side down andits sides 14, 16 on top. The wedge fits in the passage as illustrated in FIG.1." f a In FIG. 7 there is illustrated a pair of bands 80, as they mightappear afterbeing positioned about a pair of adja: cent teeth.- A wedge 10 is shown inserted between the bands. It'will be seen that because of the groove along the base of the wedge, the sides of the wedge can flex inwardly, where it is necessary to conform to the outlines of the bands on either side. While being flexed inwardly, the sides of the wedge at the same time exert a pressure directed outwardly on the bodies of either side, and where holds the forceps, with his hand positioned substantially horizontally, and with theforceps between this thumb and forefinger, as illustrated in FIG. 1. .The forceps are then manipulated to bring the depending gripping end portions thereof against opposite sides of a wedge in the dispenser side of the dispenser from which the wedge is removed, the wedge then is automatically properly positioned in the forceps for easy insertion between two teeth.

It will be noted with reference to FIG. 5, considering wedges e and that the wedges are horizontal, and extend in opposite directions with butt ends toward each other and pointed ends spaced farther apart. The wedges both have their sides corresponding to side 18 down, so that they correspond with respect to those portions that are up and those portions that are down.

Assuming that a right handed dentist is at work, and that a patient is seated at his left with the right side of his month near the dentist, if it is desired to place a wedge in the embrasure between adjacent teeth on the lower jaw and the right side of the patient, the dentist removes a wedge from the right side of the dispenser, as viewed in FIG. 5, and the wedge after removal will be positioned in the forceps as indicated in FIG. 1. In FIG. 1, teeth in the right lower jaw portions of a patient are shown, and it will be seen that the dentist, without any rolling of his hand and while keeping the turned over gripping end portions of the forceps down, can position a wedge between teeth, merely by shifting his hand laterally away from him.

If the dentist wishes to place a wedge between teeth in the left upper jaw portions of a patient, the wedge is broken off from the same side of the dispenser (so that the wedge is positioned With relation to the forceps as illustrated in FIG. 1) and when bringing the wedge to the tooth the hand is rolled to turn the palm inwardly and upwardly, which places the gripping end portions up and has the effect of shifting the pointed end of the wedge toward the viewer as indicated in dashed outline in FIG. 1. The wedge then has its base 18 on top and its edge 20 below the base, and the wedge can be placed between teeth by pulling it into position.

When inserting wedges into the left lower and right upper jaw portions of a patient, wedges are removed from the left side of the dispenser in FIG. 5. If the wedges are grabbed at their butt ends by the forceps, with the gripping end portions of the forceps down the wedges after removal will have their pointed ends positioned so that they would point toward the viewer in FIG. 1. Without rolling of the hand, wedges are automatically in position for placement in the teeth of the left lower jaw portion. By revolving the hand to turn the palm in and up, a wedge is turned so that it is in position to be placed between teeth of the right upper jaw portion.

It should be noted that in all parts of the mouth, the wedge is inserted with the hand conveniently positioned with relation to the mouth cavity. Thus, when inserting wedges in the upper jaw the hand is below the forceps, and when inserting wedges in the lower jaw the hand is above the forceps.

Once a wedge has been positioned, the forceps are re leased, and when the gripping end portions are afterwards brought together, they provide a push surface that can be used to push the wedge entirely in by applying the push surface against the butt of a wedge. A wedge is removed by clamping edges 66b, 68b in the grooves provided the nubbin of the wedge, and then pulling the Wedge using the forceps.

I claim:

1. The combination of plural plastic dental wedges, each comprising an elongated tapered body with a butt end and a pointed end and having a pair of elongated sides extending between the ends joined along one set of margin thus to define an upper longitudinal edge for the body, said sides flaring outwardly from each other progressing transversely of the body from this edge, and each Wedge having an elongated groove in said body between their said pair of sides and along the base thereof starting adjacent the pointed end of said body and progressing to the butt end of the body, and a supporting hub portion for the wedges of plastic material and integral with the wedges, said wedges and hub portion forming a discshaped packets, said wedges being circumferentially spaced about the hub portion and extending radially with their butt ends in and their pointed ends out, said wedges being correspondingly positioned in said packet with respect to those portions of the wedges that face one side of the packet and those portions of the Wedges that face the other side of the packet, said wedges being joined to said hub portion by stems of reduced cross section extending inwardly from the wedges adjacent their said upper longitudinal edges, said stems providing break locations enabling the detachment of wedges from said hub portion by breaking said stems.

2. A dental wedge comprising an elongated body of plastic material that is flexible and resilient, said body having essentially three longitudinally extending sides and tapering from a butt end to a pointed end, an elongated groove along one side of the body progressing from adjacent the pointed end to adjacent the butt end of the body, the other two sides of said body adjacent where they join with said one side being resiliently deformable into the space within the groove on pressure being applied thereagainst, and means defining a groove extending transversely of said wedge adjacent the butt end of the body, said second-mentioned groove accommodating the attachment of forceps to the wedge body with slippage of said forceps longitudinally of said body being inhibited by said groove.

3. The dental wedge of claim 2, wherein said wedge includes a stem portion projecting from the butt end of said body, and said groove is formed on said stem portion.

4. A packet of dental wedges comprising a supporting hub portion, and plural dental wedges with butt and pointed ends secured thereto but detachable therefrom, said wedges being spaced from each other circumferentially about said hub portion, said wedges extending radially outwardly from said hub portion, said Wedges having their pointed ends disposed outwardly and their butt ends disposed inwardly and being spaced laterally at their butt ends whereby they may be gripped individually thus to enable one at a time removal of the Wedges from the packet, said wedges having a generally triangular cross section, said wedges being correspondingly positioned in and packet with respect to those portions of the wedges that face one side of the packet and those portions of the wedges that face the other side of the packet, those portions of the wedges facing one side of the packet having a groove formed therein and extending longitudinally therealong, said Wedges and hub portion being integral, and the connection between the wedges and hub portion being joined by reduced stem portions projecting from the butt end of the wedges at points laterally offset from the groves in the wedges.

5/ A dental wedge comprising an elongated body of plastic material that is flexible and resilient, said body having essentially three longitudinally extending sides and tapering from a butt end to a pointed end, and an elongated grove along one side of the body progressing from adjacent the pointed end to adjacent the butt end of the body, the other two sides of said body having concave faces and adjacent where they join with said one side being resiliently deformable into the space within the groove on pressure being applied thereagainst, the wedge adjacent the butt end of said body having a portion for gripping on to the wedge with an instrument, and means beyond said portion, progressing away from said pointed end of the body, means defining a grip shoulder whereby an instrument is inhibited from slipping off the wedge, to enable positive gripping of the wedge on its removal from between two teeth.

(References on following page) References Cited by the Examiner 2,945,597 7/60 Romanoj. 108-94 2,984,344 /61 'Weissman 206-63.5 UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,108,377 /63 Meyer 32-63 774,253 11/04 Keefe 13293 I 1,462,062 7/23 Browning. V 3 5 3 V vFOREIGN PATENTS 1,568,054 1/26 Burlew 32 -64 30,861 11/07 Austria. 1,782,257 11/30 Dumler ,108 579527 4/24 Franc 1,810,258 6/31 Sperber 211128- 525,778 15/31 Germany. 1,865,923 7/32'K121VitZ 10820 10,368 V 5/95 Switzerland, 2,008,206 7/35 Grant 132- 89 2,150,005 3/39 McNinch 32-64 10 1 OTHER REFERENCES 2 477 194 7 49 Millard 132 93 1 Precocious Plastics, Modern Plastics, February 1948, 2,541,357 2/51 'Hersh 32-40 v01: p es 76-77. 3

2,602,998 7/52 Sprague 32 40 2 30 49 54 Miner 2 55 15" THERON E. CONDON,Przmar-y Examiner. v 2,738,979 3/56 Dalton: 206- RICHARD LHOPFMAN, GEORGE 0. RALSTON, 2,762,501 9/56 Cameron 206-29 3 g Examiners. 2,897,962 *8/59 Zackheim 2011- 635

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U.S. Classification206/63.5, 433/149, D24/152, 211/85.13
International ClassificationA61C5/12, A61C5/00
Cooperative ClassificationA61C5/127
European ClassificationA61C5/12W