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Publication numberUS3698405 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 17, 1972
Filing dateApr 8, 1970
Priority dateApr 8, 1970
Publication numberUS 3698405 A, US 3698405A, US-A-3698405, US3698405 A, US3698405A
InventorsWalker Richard M
Original AssigneeWalker Richard M
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Orthodontal toothpick
US 3698405 A
Abstract
An improved toothpick, primarily for use by orthodontal patients, is disclosed, wherein a plastic or metal rod has a resilient jacket bonded to the rod and may have over a portion of its surface a multitude of protrusions such as bristles, stubs, short filaments or filters extending radially outward from the surface. When the toothpick is inserted between adjacent teeth and passed therethrough several times, a virulent scrubbing action results which not only dislodges unwanted food particles but provides a massaging action for the gums. This massaging action aids in maintaining the gums in a healthy condition and also aids in preventing pyorrhea by preventing accumulation of plaque.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Walker 1 Oct. 17, 1972 I ORTHODONTAL TOOTHPICK 72 Inventor: Richard M. Walker, so Beacon f' Street, Chestnut Hill, Mass. 02167 Asmmm f have V Attorney-Nicholas Prasrnos [22] Filed: April 8, 1970 21 Appl. No.: 26,540 [57] ABSTRACT An improved toothpick, primarily for use by 5 .S. l ..l32 84 .orthodomal patients is disclosed wherein a plastic or iSii lint. .tA45d 44i18 metal rod has a resilient jacket bonded to the rod and [58] Field of Searchv 132/89 93 4 may have over a portion of its surface a multitude of i I protrusions such as bristles, stubs, short filaments or 56 R d filters extending radially outward from the surface. 1 e erences I c When the toothpick is inserted between adjacent teeth UNITED STATES PATENTS and passed therethrough several times, a virulent scrubbing action results which not only dislodges un- 2 wanted food particles but provides a massaging action 49 5/1970 Baitz 32/89 for the gums. This massaging action aids in maintain- 1989895 2/1935 "132/93 ing the gums in a healthy condition and also aids in preventing pyorrhea by preventing accumulation of FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS P q 589,0l6 6/1947 Great Britain ..l32/89 5 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures PA'TENTEDnm 11 I972 B 3 k x3 m P 1 3 2 3 FIG 3A FIG ZA 2.2 FIG 28 FIG IB FIGG RICHARD M. WALKER INVENTOR 41% QM ATTORNEY FIG 58 FIG 4B I ORTHODONTAL TOOTHPICK I BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION When a person is afflicted with gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and/or pyorrhea alveolaris, a surgical operation known as a gingivectomyis performed. In this operation the teeth are scraped (scaled) below the gum line and all diseased gum tissue is removed. As a result of this operation the gum line is lowered and a portion of the tooth root is exposed. At this new gum line the tooth is smaller than at the original gum line, therefore an opening results between the teeth. This opening fills with food particles and the formation of plaque which adheres to the tooth surfaces is accelerated. This condition can ultimately cause loss of teeth. It goes without saying, therefore, that a regular routine of brushing ones teeth after every mealis necessary by a person having experienced such an operation. However, several problems arise in brushing the teeth properly and in maintaining such a routine. The first problem encountered, after such an operation, is that brushing becomes a three-dimensional process instead of a surface area or two-dimensional problem. The patient must not only brush the front and back of his teeth but also in the openings between his teeth. One state of the art technique for accomplishing this is to include a conical rubber tip at one end ofa toothbrush. The rubber tip is inserted between the teeth to dislodge food particles. However, it is difficult to force this tip through the opening between teeth and obtain the necessary scrubbing action of a substantial amount of tooth surface because of the curvature of the teeth. Another technique is the water-pik method wherein a thin pulsating jet of water under pressure is directed at the gum line. Still another technique is the use of dental floss. All of these techniques are inadequate in that they do not provide a scrubbing action for all the surfaces, and the patient is required to go back, to the orthodontist at regular intervals (3 months or shorter) for cleaning and scraping of these areas missed by the patient. These sessions with the orthodontist are painful and also costly.

The second problem encountered arises in maintaining a routine of cleaning between teeth after every meal. Aside from the natural inertia to performing this task, other factors make it virtually impractical to stick to such a routine. For one, it is difficult and impractical to carry a toothbrush or water-pik to a restaurant when eating out, or to keep a toothbrush in a sanitary condition under these circumstances. Moreover, a toothbrush, even one with a conical rubber tip attached, does not reach the further recesses between teeth and near the gum area.

What is needed is a device which is small, and easily carried on ones person. This device should be capable of being maintained in a sanitary condition prior to use, and be readily disposable after use. This means that the device should be cheap to manufacture, readily and cheaply encapsulated in a protective package, and

should be available to. the customer at low cost. In use this device should be resilient and capable of passing entirely through a space between any two teeth, must provide a scrubbing action and be capable of dislodging even soft food particles rather than cutting through them.

. radially extending protrusions in the form of filaments SUMMARY OF THEINVENTION,

It is proposed in this invention to provide a toothpick wherein a rod of such material as plastic, metal orwood has a resilient jacket bonded to the rod and may have stubs, or bristles on a portion of the surface of the toothpick. I 1

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, an elongated] cylindrical body made of any suitable material such as plastic, metal or wood has a resilient jacket firmly bonded to the rod. The resilient jacket may be sponge rubber having at least percent air. The maximum outer diameter of the sponge rubber is made large enough to fill the largest opening to be cleaned, and it compresses to the smallest diameter opening to be cleaned. Short resilient filaments, bristles, stubsor humps extending radially outward from the axis of the body may be imbedded or otherwise attached to a portion of its surface although not entirely" necessary with this embodiment. In use, the patient inserts one end of the invention between two adjacent teeth as far as necessary to obtain scrubbing action through the entire opening, and oscillates the toothpick back and forth fora desired length of time. The expansion and contraction of the resilient jacket will normally provide a massagingand scrubbing action to the gums and dislodge inaccessible food particles. For sanitary reasons, each toothpick may be individually packed in a paper or plastic wrapper or may be packaged in bulk in any suitable container.

It is a general object of the invention to provide a readily portable and sanitary means for cleaning between teethand massaging the gums between teeth.

It is another object of this invention to provide a device which is cheapto manufacture and readily disposable after use.

Still another object of this invention is to supplement regular brushing of the teeth by providing a device which can reach areas impossible to reach by the present toothbrush.

Additional objects, features and advantages of this invention will become apparent in the following detailed description of certain illustrative embodiments of the principles of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The invention is described with reference to the accompanying not-to-scale drawings, in which:

FIG. 1A is a side elevation view of one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 1B is an end view of the embodiment of FIG. 1A;

FIG. 2A is a side elevation view of another embodiment of the invention;

I FIG. 2B is an end view of FIG. 2A;

FIG. 3A is a side elevation view of still another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3B is a front elevation view of the embodiment of FIG. 3A; r

FIG. 4A is a cross-section in side elevation of a fourth embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4B is an end view of the embodiment of FIG. 4A;

FIG. 5A is a view in cross-section of a fifth embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 5B is an end view of the embodiment of FIG. 5A; 7 FIG. 6 illustrates the invention individually enclosed by a sanitary package.

Referring to FIGS. 1A and 18, a body 1.1 of material of the size and shape of the well-known circular toothpick except that it has a uniform cylindrical shape having a blunted hemispherical end, has imbedded or otherwise attached to the body 1.1, protrusions consist ing of short lengths of filament, or bristle 1.2.

The body 1.1 may be of any material such as nylon, phenolic or neoprene or similar plastic material. The filaments 1.2 may also be nylon, other plastic or hair bristle and may be imbedded in the body 1.1 by first sprinkling them on the body 1.1 under the influence of an electrostatic field so as to cause them to stand radially on end on the body 1.1 and then subjecting the body 1.1 made of thermoplastic material to a temperature sufficient to soften the body and to imbed the filaments into the body 1.1. In this technique of fabrication the filaments 1.2 have a higher softening point than the body 1.1.

The invention may be made by another technique well known in the brush making industry. The short bristles or filaments 1.2 are sprinkled under the influence of an electrostatic field between continuous threads of filament such as nylon. The electrostatic field tends to align the filaments parallel to each other and transverseto the continuous threads of filament. By twisting the ends of the continuous threads of filament in opposite directions, a rope of filament is formed having the short bristles or filaments 1.2 embedded between them and extending radially outward from the surface. Subsequent heating and moulding will form the body 1.1 from the continuous twisted filament, having short bristle or filaments 1.2 extending radially out from the body 1.1. A stop mechanism 1.5 may be incorporated in the body The stop 1.5 is placed at such a distance from the filaments 1.2 so as to permit the filaments 1.2 to straighten out when the toothpick is inserted between the teeth, otherwise the fibers or filaments 1.2 would be imbedded in the gums on the pull-back stroke.

FIG. 2A and 2B show an embodiment of the invention which has a body 2.1 and short stubs 2.2. The embodiment here is much the same as that shown in FIG. 1A except that the filaments 1.2 have been replaced by stubs 2.2.

This embodiment can be moulded in one operation with special moulds having the shape of the body 2.1 and the stubs 2.2, by the application of heat and pressure. Of course several hundred or even thousands of these devices could be moulded at one time by the proper design of dies, and the flashing or unwanted portion of the material can be used over and over again, making this a simple and economic manufacturing technique.

In FIGS. 3A and 3B the invention is shown in another embodiment wherein the body 3.1 is in the shape of a thin strip of fiat material such as nylon having stubs 3.2

attached or integral to the surface of the body 3.1. I

FIGS. 4A and 4B show an embodiment wherein a plastic rod 4.1, although other material such as metal may be used, has a sponge rubber jacket firmly bonded to the rod 4.1 over its entire surface. Stubs 4.2 ma protrude from the surface of the sponge rubber 4.;

although in this version they are not essential. The sponge rubber is of a composition having at least percent air. The maximum outside diameter of the sponge rubber is made large enough to fill the largest opening to be cleaned and compresses to the smallest diameter opening to be cleaned, hence eliminating the need for different sizes of toothpicks. The sponge rubber, furthermore, may be pre-impregnated with toothpaste before packaging.

FIGS. 5A and 5B show a modification of the embodiment of FIGS. 4A and 48 wherein the rubber or sponge rubber 5.2 are bonded onto the rod 5.1 at either end for a short distance only. This structure will adjust to the size of the opening by permitting the rubber to stretch at the center section.

FIG. 6 illustrates one technique of packaging the in- I vention to maintain cleanliness. Several individual compartments 6.5 are formed by bonding two heat sealable plastic films at several regions 6.6 by the application of heat. The ends of the compartments 6.5 are completely enclosed by sealing the ends 6.7. Although not shown in FIG. 6 and not necessary to the use of the invention, the compartments 6.5 may contain toothpaste about the toothpicks 6.1.

The foregoing description of certain embodiments of the invention is by way of example only, and is not intended to limit the scope of the appended claims. No attempt has been made to illustrate all possible embodiments of the invention but to illustrate its principles and the best manner presently known to practice it. Therefore, such other forms of the invention as may occur to one skilled in this art on a reading of the foregoing specification are also within the spirit of this invention.

What is claimed is:

1. An orthodontal toothpick comprising a slim elongated rod and a plurality of protrusions on a portion of the surface of said elongated rod extending radially outward and beyond said surface, and attached to said rod and including stopping means to prevent travel of said toothpick through an aperture beyond said stopping means.

2. An orthodontal toothpick as recited in claim 1 wherein said protrusions comprise short resilient filaments firmly attached to the surface of said rod.

3. An orthodontal toothpick as recited in claim 1 wherein said protrusions comprise short integrally moulded stubs on the surface of said rod.

4. An orthodontal toothpick as recited in claim wherein said elongated rod and said protrusions consist of plastic material.

5. An orthodontal toothpick as recited in claim 4 wherein said plastic is selected from the group consisting of nylon, phenolic and neoprene.

Patent Citations
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US792471 *Feb 9, 1905Jun 13, 1905James L SmithToothpick.
US1989895 *Oct 6, 1931Feb 5, 1935Jennie O Van GilderElastic material
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US3511249 *May 13, 1968May 12, 1970Baitz AlexanderDevice for dislodging food particles from between human teeth
GB589016A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
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US7722274Oct 31, 2007May 25, 2010Colgate-Palmolive CompanyOral care toothbrush
US8240937Jan 24, 2008Aug 14, 2012Colgate-Palmolive CompanyOral care implement with bead retention
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US8449211Dec 15, 2008May 28, 2013Colgate-Palmolive CompanyOral care toothbrush
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US8628264Oct 2, 2012Jan 14, 2014Colgate-Palmolive CompanyOral care implement
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Classifications
U.S. Classification132/309, 15/207.2
International ClassificationA61C15/02, A61C15/00
Cooperative ClassificationA61C15/02
European ClassificationA61C15/02