US 3631598 A
A dental instrument composed of a substantially flat plate member, e.g., a mirror, and a saliva ejector consisting of a tubular member attached at one end to a suction line and at the other end to a plate which can act as the mirror and which has peripheral portions which define, in association with a removable resilient member, a channel connected to the suction line. The resilient member contains perforations through which the saliva and other liquids in the oral cavity pass from the mouth through the channel and to the suction line.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
iiitQ States Patent  Inventor MatrriceGJmssier 2,436,040 2/1948 Friedman.....................
222 Maple Street, Lynn, Mass. 01904  Appl. No. 38,445
Primary Examiner-Robert Peshock AttorneyPhilip G. Kiely  Filed May18,1970  Patented Jan.4, 1972 ABSTRACT: A dental instrument composed of a substantially flat plate member, e.g., a mirror, and a saliva ejector consisting of a tubular member attached at one end to a suction line and at the other end to a plate which can act as the minor and which has peripheral portions which define, in association with a removable resilient member, a channel connected to the suction line. The resilient member contains through which the saliva and other 1' c m A F m m M: m m U.m m m RW m m h S n C ND 0 r. 2 0" LS Km Am L m u EC S D6 U.mF H HUN 5 "D55 perforations lqurds m the oral cavity annel and to the suction  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,202,264 10/1916 pass from the mouth through the ch line.
DENTAL INSTRUMENT BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION During dental operations, such as drilling, filling, and the like, it is desirable and in some cases necessary that the work area in the mouth be maintained as free of liquid as possible. The use of high-speed burrs which require the use of a liquid coolant continuously applied at the point of drill contact makes the use of a fluid ejector from the mouth even more important. The use of such a device, which is commonly known as a saliva ejector, has been commonly combined with a mirror in order to provide the dentist with a mirror to view the work area and which does not have to be hand held, thus freeing the dentist from one operation.
Such devices suffer from several deficiencies, however. Mirrors are generally composed of polished stainless steel and have to be relatively thin to pennit the easy insertion into the mouth. The contact of the oral tissues and the stainless steel may result in irritation to the tender tissues or even cut them. Debris from the dental work or even the oral tissue itself may clog the orifices which aspirate the fluid from the mouth, thus reducing the effectiveness of the instruments. Because of the above-mentioned debris which may be entrapped within the device and because of the complexity of the design, it is often difficult to clean and maintain the device in sterile condition.
A novel device has now been found which is not susceptible to the deficiencies of the prior art.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The novel saliva ejector of the present invention is composed of a substantially flat plate, preferably a polished plate, or mirror, the edges of which are composed of a raised portion in a concave, arcuate configuration. Surrounding and enclosing substantially the entire arcuate edge portion is a perforated resilient tubular member thereby forming a channel between said tubular member and the arcuate edge portion. The channel is releasably connected to an elongated tubular member or handle which in turn is connected to a suction device.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS For a more complete understanding of the nature and scope of the invention, reference may be made to the drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is an elevational view of the instrument of the invention; and
FIG. 2 is a horizontal, cross-sectional view of the mirror portion of the device.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The present invention is directed to a combination dental mirror and saliva ejector. The novel device of the present invention combines the features of a mirror so designed as to free the dentist from manually holding the mirror in position in the mouth, and an eflicient saliva ejector which will maintain the working area of the mouth free of liquid, which will function over extended periods without clogging, and which is easily cleaned and sterilized by dismantling the components. In addition, because the major portion of the device contacting the mouth is nonmetallic, the device is considerably more comfortable to the patient and less damaging to the tissue with which it comes in contact.
The device is composed of a substantially flat plate, preferably of polished metal, generally rectangular in shape, the periphery of which is composed of an arcuate portion that extends vertically beyond both surfaces of the plate. The arc defined by the above-described peripheral portion is convex with respect to the plate; that is, the open side of the peripheral portion is the side away from the plate surface or concave with respect to one viewing the edge of the plate. In other words, the peripheral portion has the appearance of a tube attached to and surrounding the flat plate which has had its outer half, i.e., the half farthest from the mirror, cut away, leaving an open, semicircular canal.
Over the raised peripheral edge portion of the plate is fitted a resilient tube split on one side along the long axis, so that the split portion can engage opposite surfaces of the plate. Because resilient material, such as rubber is employed, the tube can easily be deformed to attach over the raised peripheral portions of the mirror, but since only the opening in the tube to accomplish this is only a split" or a small segment removed from the tube, and further, since the tube is preferably formed in substantially the same shape as the peripheral edge portions, the resilient tube is held firmly in position around the mirror during use.
The resilient tube and peripheral arcuate edge portion together define a continuous passage or channel extending around substantially the entire periphery of the plate. The channel communicates, through appropriate connection and auxiliary tubing, to a source of suction. The resilient tube contains a plurality of holes, the majority of which are located on the wall of the tube opposite the arcuate edge portions so that the above-mentioned suction will act through said holes drawing in liquid from the work area and removing it into the suction system. Because of the relatively large number of holes or perforations which can be located in the resilient tube, if debris from the work area should clog some of the holes, the effectiveness of the device is not impaired. In the event that an unusually large quantity of debris is present, causing extensive blockage of the devices channels, the device can be removed from the mouth, the resilient member removed, the entire inner channels of the device cleaned under running water, reassembled and inserted in the patients mouth in a matter of seconds or a replacement may be inserted. Similarly, the feature of easy dismantling provides for efficient sterilization, between patients, by conventional sterilization techniques.
Turning now to the drawings, FIGS. 1 and 2 show the dental instrument 10 of the present invention composed of tubular handle 11 with external connection means 12 on one end adapted to be connected to a suction system such as that conventionally found in a dental office. The opposite end of handle 11 is connected to a head composed of a substantially flat polished plate 13, preferably stainless steel, with a reflecting surface on at least one side thereof. The periphery of plate 13 is an arcuate member 14 surrounding substantially the entire edge portion of plate 13. In engaging relationship and surrounding arcuate member 14 is resilient. tubular member 15 having a plurality of perforations 16 therein. The wall opposite perforations 16 is preferably split to engage opposing surfaces of plate 13, whereby said member 15 is in removable engagement with plate 13.
Resilient tubular member 15 and arcuate member 14 define channel 17 therebetween which feeds into connection tube 18, which is adapted to be releasably connected to tubular handle 11.
In an alternative embodiment, a jaw-engaging member 20, slidably mounted on tubular handle 11 and'adapted to be fixed in position by clamp 21, is employed to fix the dental instrument in one position in the mouth and prevent its dislodgement from said position by the tongue of the patient, etc.
The plate is preferably metallic. Alternatively, the plate may be composed of a nonmetallic material with, optionally, a reflecting surface attached thereto. For example, a synthetic polymeric material, such as polystyrene, may have a metallized reflecting surface thereon.
The resilient tubular member is preferably composed of a rubbery material such as silicone rubber but may also be prepared from a variety of synthetic polymeric materials, such as styrene butadiene copolymer and the like. It is only necessary that the materials employed be nontoxic and sufficiently flexible to permit ready application to and removal from the mirror portion of the device.
The actual dimensions of the arcuate edge portion and the resilient tubular member only require that sufficient engagement be supplied to hold the resilient member in position.
Thus, while FIG. 2 illustrates the preferred configuration, the height of the arcuate walls, and the split in the resilient tube, need only be selected to provide the above-described engagement therewith.
What is claimed is: l. A dental instrument comprising: an elongated tubular handle; external connecting means at a first end of said handle for connection with a suction line; a plate having an arcuate peripheral portion wherein said arcuate portion is convex with regard to said plate; a resilient nonmetallic tubular member removably mounted over and engaging said arcuate peripheral portion around a major portion of said plate; said arcuate peripheral portion and a segment of said tubu lar member defining a channel therebetween; said tubular member containing perforations in the walls thereof and communicating with said channel, said perforations being opposite said arcuate peripheral portion; and
connecting means between said channel and said tubular handle.
2. The device as defined in claim 1 wherein said plate has a reflecting surface.
3. The device as defined in claim 1 wherein said plate is stainless steel and said tubular member is silicone rubber.
4. The device as defined in claim I wherein said plate is substantially rectangular in shape.
5. The device as defined in claim 1 wherein said tubular member is split along the longitudinal axis and the opposite edges of said split engage opposite surfaces of said plate.
6. The device as defined in claim 1 which includes ajaw-cngaging member adjustably mounted on said tubular handle.