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Publication numberUS3667483 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 6, 1972
Filing dateDec 14, 1970
Priority dateDec 14, 1970
Publication numberUS 3667483 A, US 3667483A, US-A-3667483, US3667483 A, US3667483A
InventorsMccabe James B
Original AssigneeMccabe James B
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Dental floss reciprocator
US 3667483 A
Abstract
Dental floss reciprocator embodying pair of arms projecting from support frame and spaced from each other to receive teeth therebetween. Guides at outer ends of arms receive and permit relative movement of floss passing from supply reel to take-up reel. Forward and rearward angular movement imparted alternately to reels with forward movement greater than rearward movement to reciprocate and move floss progressively to take-up reel.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent McCabe [54] DENTAL FLOSS RECIPROCATOR James B. McCabe, 1900 Dec Dara Drive, Birmingham, Ala. 35226 22 Filed: Dec. 14, 1970 211 Appl.No.: 97,979

[72] Inventor:

[15] 3,667,483 [451 June 6, 1972 3,534,745 10/1970 Waters ..l32/92R Primary Examiner-Robert Peshock Attorney-Jennings, Carter & Thompson [5 7] ABSTRACT Dental floss reciprocator embodying pair of arms projecting from support frame and spaced from each other to receive teeth therebetween. Guides at outer ends of arms receive and permit relative movement of floss passing from supply reel to take-up reel. Forward and rearward angular movement imparted alternately to reels with forward movement greater than rearward movement to reciprocate and move floss progressively to take-up reel.

9 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures I l [92 34 Z3 3 Y4 DENTAL FLOSS RECIPROCATOR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to apparatus for reciprocating dental floss between teeth and more particularly to apparatus for reciprocating the dental floss relative to spaced apart supports therefor.

l-leretofore in the art to which my invention relates, teeth have been cleaned with dental floss by grasping the ends of the dental floss and then reciprocating the same back and forth between the teeth. Also, vibrating units have been proposed with the entire unit, including the dental floss, vibrating relative to the teeth, such as the apparatus disclosed in the Cooke U.S. Pat. No. 1,475,986. Units which vibrate with the dental floss are not only difficult to hold, due to vibration, but the support means for the dental floss inserted within the mouth also vibrates relative to the teeth and the adjacent parts of the mouth, thus causing discomfort to the user.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with my present invention, Iprovide outwardly projecting arms on a supporting frame with the arms spaced from each other a distance to receive teeth therebetween. Guide members are carried by the outer ends of the arms to receive-and permit relative movement of the dental floss as it passes from a supply reel to a take-up reel. Forward and rearward, angular movement is imparted alternately to the reels with the forward angular movement being greater than the rearward angular movement whereby the dental floss is reciprocated back and forth between the arms, and moves progressively forward to the take-up reel.

Apparatus embodying features of my invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawing, forming a part of this application, in which:

FIG. 1 is a vertical sectional view taken generally along the line 11 ofFIG. 2;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken generally along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged, sectional view taken generally along the line 3--3 of FIG. 1;- FIG. 4 is an enlarged, fragmental view showing the top portion of the take-up reel; and,

FIG. 5 is a fragmental view showing a modified form of my invention.

Referring now to the drawing for a better understanding of my invention, 1 show a supporting frame in the form of a housing which may form a handle for the apparatus. Projecting outwardly from one end of the housing 10, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, is a bifurcated member 11 having outwardly projecting arms 12 and 13. The arms 12 and 13 extend generally parallel to each other with the outer ends thereof being spaced from each other a distance to receive teeth 14 therebetween, as shown in FIG. 2. The outer end of each arm 12 and 13 is provided with a recess which defines a guide member 16 for dental floss indicated at 17.

The housing 10 is provided with a horizontal partition wall 18, as shown in FIG. 1. Extending vertically through the partition wall 18 and mounted for rotation in suitable bearings 19 is a vertical shaft 21 which is secured non-rotatably to a dental floss supply reel 22. Also, mounted for rotation on suitable bearings 23 and extending through the horizontal wall 18 is a vertical shaft 24 which is secured non-rotatably to a take-up reel 26. The dental floss 17 passes from the supply reel 22 Suitable guide members 27 are provided on the arms 12 and 13, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 for receiving the dental floss 17 as it passes to and from the reels 22 and 26. Preferably, the guide members 27 are provided with outwardly opening recesses to facilitate insertion of the dental floss into the guide members. I

Secured non-rotatably to the lower end of the shafts 21 and 24 beneath the horizontal wall 18 are disc-like members 28 and 29, respectively. Mounted within the housing 10 beneath the partition wall 18 is a motor unit indicated generally at 31 which may be operated by a battery or other suitable source of power. Projecting outwardly from the power unit 31 and operatively connected thereto by a speed reducer unit 30 is a power driven shaft 32. The speed reducer unit 30 may be of a conventional type, such as a reduction gear unit, whereby the shaft 32 is driven at a slower speed than motor 31. Mounted adjacent the outer end of the shaft 32 is a cam-like member 33 having an arcuate contact surface 34 which is adapted to engage the under surface of the disc-like member 28, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3. Mounted non-rotatably on the shaft 32 inwardly of the cam-like member 33 is a cam-like member 36 having an arcuate contact surface 37 which is adapted to engage the under surface of the disc-like member 29. As shown in FIG. 3, the contact surfaces 34 and 37 are of an equal length to provide generally semi-circular, arcuate members which engage the disc-like members 28 and 29 upon rotation of the shaft 32. Preferably, the arcuate contact surfaces 34 and 37 are formed of a resilient material, such as rubber to provide the necessary frictional engagement between the contact surfaces and the disc-like members 28 and 29.

As shown in FIG. 1, the cam-like members 33 and 36 engage the disc members 28 and 29 at points between the shafts 21 and 24 whereby upon engagement of cam 33 with disc 28, the reels 22 and 26 are rotated in one direction and upon engagement of the cam 36 with disc 29, the reels are rotated in the opposite direction. To further assure rotation of the reels 22 and 26 with each other, pulleys 38 are mounted on each of the shafts 21 and 24 and are connected to each other by a V belt 39. It will thus be seen that by engaging cam 33 with disc 28 at the right side of shaft 21 and engaging cam 36 with disc 29 at the left side of shaft 24, the reels 22 and 26 are rotated in opposite directions upon engagement of the cam-like members 33 and 36 with disc-like members 28 and 29, respectively.

As shown in FIG. 1, the cam-like member 33 engages the disc-like member'28 adjacent the periphery thereof while the cam-like member 36 engages the disc-like member 29 inwardly of the periphery thereof. Accordingly, the disc-like member 28 is driven at a point further from its axis of rotation than disclike member 29 whereby it is driven at a slower speed than disc-like member 29. It will thus be seen that upon rotation of the shaft 32, forward and rearward angular movement is alternately imparted to the reels 22 and 26 with the forward angular movement being greater than the rearward angular movement whereby the dental floss 17 is reciprocated back and forth between the guide members 16 of arms 12 and 13 and moves progressively forward to take-up reel 26. That is, since disc-like member 29 is driven faster than disc-like member 28, the reels 22 and 26 are rotated forwardly an an gular distance greater than the rearward movement thereof.

It will also be apparent that the speed of rotation of both disc-like members 28 and 29 may be varied by varying the position of the cam-like members 33 and 36 relative to the axis of rotation of the disc-like members 28 and 29, respectively, whereby the dental floss 17 is reciprocated at a slower speed or faster speed.

As shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, each of the reels 22 and 26 is provided with angularly spaced slots 41 in the periphery thereof for receiving the free end of a length of dental floss 17 whereby a severed end of dental floss is attachable to the takeup reel 26. That is, in the event the dental floss 17 is broken as it is reciprocated between the teeth 14, the user merely ties a knot 42 in the free end of the dental floss 17 and then passes the free end through the notch 41 whereupon the knot 42 is positioned outwardly of the slot 41, as shown in FIG. 4. Upon rotation of the take-up reel 26, the dental floss 17 is wound thereon, as described hereinabove. While it is only necessary to have the slots 41 in the take-up reel 26, the slots 41 are provided in both reels 22 and 26 whereby upon removal of the dental floss from the reel 22, it can then be employed as reel 26 whereby dental floss is wound thereon from a new supply reel 22.

In FIG. of the drawing I show a modified form of my invention in which a cam-like member 33a is provided having a relatively small contact surface 34a. The cam-like member 33a is mounted on the shaft 32, as described above and rotates therewith whereby the contact surface 34a engages the under surface of the disc-like member 28. Also mounted on the shaft 32 is a cam-like member 36a having a relatively large contact surface 37a which is in position to engage the under surface of the disc-like member 29, as described above. By varying the lengths of the contact surfaces 34a and 37a, I can vary the amount of the forward and rearward angular movement of the reels 22 and 26 whereby the forward movement is greater than the rearward movement. That is, since the contact surface 37a is greater than the contact surface 340, the forward angular movement of the reels 22 and 26 would be greater than the rearward angular movement thereof.

From the foregoing, the operation of my improved apparatus for reciprocating dental floss between teeth will be readily understood. Upon actuating the power unit 31, rotary motion is imparted to shaft 32 and the cam-like members 33' and 36. As the cam surface 34 engages the disc-like member 28, rotary motion is imparted to shaft 21 to rotate the reels 22 and 26 in a rearward direction to wind dental floss 17 onto the reel 22 and remove dental floss from reel 26. Reels 22 and 26 rotate with each other due to the driving connection therebetween by belt 39. As cam surface 34 moves out of engagement with disc-like member 28, cam surface 37 then engages disc-like member 29 to thus impart rotation thereto in a direction to drive shaft 24 and reel 26, together with reel 22, in a forward direction to wind dental floss 17 onto take-up reel 26 and remove dental floss from the supply reel 22. Since the cam surface 37 engages its disc-like member 29 at a point inwardly of the periphery thereof, it drives the shaft 24 at a faster speed than the speed at which shaft 21 is driven. That is, cam surface 34 engages disc-like member 28 adjacent the periphery thereof whereby it is further from the axis of rotation of disc 28 than cam surface 36 is from the axis of rotation of disc-like member 29.

The operation of the apparatus shown in FIG. 5 is similar to the operation of apparatus shown in FIGS. 1 through 4. Instead of depending upon the position of the cam-like members 33 and 36 relative to the axis of rotation of their associated disc-like members, the forward, angular movement of the reels 22 and 26 is increased by providing a longer contact surface 37a on cam-like member 36a while a shorter contact surface 34a is provided on the cam-like member 33a.

From the foregoing it will be seen that I have devised improved apparatus for reciprocating dental floss between teeth. By providing means for reciprocating the dental floss without reciprocating the support means for the dental floss, there is no vibration of the entire support means within the mouth of the user. Also, I provide positive reciprocation of the dental floss independently of the support means therefor, thus providing for more eflicient operation of the apparatus since there are no reciprocating or vibrating parts which engage adjacent portions of the mouth and thus absorb energy. F urther more, by providing means for quickly attaching a broken length of dental floss to the take-up reel by merely inserting the broken end in one of the slots 41, the apparatus is operated with a minimum of effort.

While I have shown my invention in but two forms, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that it is not so limited, but is susceptible of various other changes and modifications without departing from the spirit thereof.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for reciprocating dental floss between teeth comprising:

a. a supponing frame,

b. a pair of outwardly projecting arms carried by said frame with the outer ends of said arms spaced from each other a distance to receive teeth therebetween,

c. a guide member adjacent the outer end of each arm disposed to receive dental floss and permit movement thereof relative to said guide member,

d. a dental floss supply reel mounted for rotation on said frame and disposed to supply dental floss to one said guide member with the dental floss then passing to the other said guide member so that said dental floss spans the outer ends of said arms in position to move between teeth,

e. a dental floss take-up reel mounted for rotation on said frame and disposed to receive said dental floss from said other guide member, and power drive means operatively connected to each of said reels imparting forward and rearward angular movement alternately to said reels with said forward angular movement being greater than said rearward angular movement to reciprocate said dental floss back and forth between and relative to said arms and move said dental floss progressively forward to said take-up reel.

2. Apparatus for reciprocating dental floss between teeth as defined in claim 1 in which said arms extend generally parallel to each other.

3. Apparatus for reciprocating dental floss between teeth as defined in claim 1 in which said guide members are recesses in the outer ends of said arms.

4. Apparatus for reciprocating dental floss between teeth as defined in claim 1 in which angularly spaced slots are provided in the periphery of said take-up reel for receiving the free end of a length of dental floss whereby a severed end of dental floss is attachable to said take-up reel.

5. Apparatus for reciprocating dental floss between teeth as defined in claim 1 in which said supply reel is operatively connected in driving relation with said take-up reel whereby both reels rotate at the same time.

6. Apparatus for reciprocating dental floss between teeth as defined in claim 5 in which said reels are connected to each other by a belt and pulley assembly.

7. Apparatus for reciprocating dental floss between teeth as defined in claim 1 in which said means imparting forward and rearward angular movement alternately to said reels comprises:

a. a first shaft operatively connected to said take-up reel,

b. a first disc-like member mounted non-rotatably on said first shaft, c. a second shaft operatively connected to said supply reel,

d. a second disc-like member mounted non-rotatably on said second shaft,

e. a power driven shaft,

f. a first cam-like member carried by said power driven shaft disposed to engage said first disc-like member during part of each revolution of said power driven shaft to rotate said take-up reel an angular distance in a forward direction, and

g. a second cam-like member carried by said power driven shaft disposed to engage said second disc-like member during the remainder of each revolution of said power driven shaft to rotate said supply reel an angular distance in a rearward direction.

8. Apparatus for reciprocating dental floss between teeth as defined in claim 7 in which said first cam-like member engages said first disc-like member during more than one half of each revolution of said power driven shaft and said second cam-like member engages said second disc-like member during less than one half of each revolution of said power driven shaft.

9. Apparatus for reciprocating dental floss between teeth as defined in claim 7 in which said first cam-like member engages said first disc-like member at a location which is closer to its axis of rotation than said second cam-like member engages said second disc-like member relativeto its axis of rotation so that said first disc-like member is driven faster than said second disc-like member.

Patent Citations
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US3340881 *Sep 2, 1964Sep 12, 1967Cowan Laverne MDental floss holder
US3534745 *Aug 30, 1968Oct 20, 1970Waters William ADental tape holder for power driven tooth cleaning devices
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Classifications
U.S. Classification132/322
International ClassificationA61C15/04, A61C15/00
Cooperative ClassificationA61C15/047
European ClassificationA61C15/04E1