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Publication numberUS3820532 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 28, 1974
Filing dateNov 8, 1972
Priority dateNov 8, 1972
Publication numberUS 3820532 A, US 3820532A, US-A-3820532, US3820532 A, US3820532A
InventorsEberhardt R, Whisenant J
Original AssigneeEberhardt R, Whisenant J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Dental irrigator
US 3820532 A
Images(3)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

1 June 28, 1974 [5 DENTAL IRRIGATOR ABSTRACT A water operated dental irrigator comprising a hous- [76] Inventors: Roland C. Eberhardt, 564 W. 39th 1 St., San Pedro; Joseph W. ing having a discharge passage communicating at one Whisenant, 3646 Long Beach Blvd, end with a pressurized water supply and at the other Los Alamitos, both of Calif. with a discharge hose and nozzle, and a water driven Nov. 8, 1972 turbine wheel operating an interruptor valve in the [22] Filed:

discharge passage to produce an unlimited volume of [21] Appl. No.: 304,861 discrete pulses of pressurized water through the hose.

The turbine speed is variable through actuation of adjustable control nozzles which eject pressurized water to drive the turbine, and a metering valve controls the intensity of the pulsed water by controlling the amount of water admitted to the discharge passage 09 A Q mm ,A 6 M 8 P 2 mm m c r m L T. C d s xm UIF 1]] 2 00 555 [[l from the supply. A chamber in the housing communi- [56] References Cited UNlTED STATES PATENTS eating with the supply and the discharge passage al- 3,568,667 3/1971 Krieger et 128/66 3,690,314

9/1972 Trupp et al.

DENTAL IRRIGATOR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to dental irrigators, and has particular reference to a new and improved water operated dental irrigator which produces discrete water pulses selected from a wide range of intensities and rates.

In recent years, the home use of dental irrigators has increasingly been recommended by dentists for their patients. Basically, dental irrigators eject small pulsed streams of water at fairly high pressures and low volume to dislodge food particles from between teeth and from under gingival margins. While not a substitute for brushing, dental irrigators have been found to be an effective adjunct to brushing and other oral hygiene techniques for removing food particles from around and between teeth. Recent reasearch also suggests that dental irrigators may be effective in preventing the formation of plaque deposits on the teeth. 7

Numerous types of dental irrigators are presently available for home use. In some devices, the irrigators require electric motors and pumps, and separate water reservoirs. In other types of devices, the irrigators use water pressure alone for operation, typically by attaching the irrigator to a water faucet and then adjusting the pressure and temperature of the pressurized pulse stream by manipulation of the faucet water controls.

Heretofore, dental irrigators of the types mentioned above have not been capable of providing the user with independent controls for the water temperature, pressure, volume, and pulse rate. With most water operated devices, the pulse rate is either fixed or vairable only within small ranges, and the water temperature and pressure must be controlled through the water faucet controls alone, thus making the temperature and pressure interdependent on the metering of hot and cold water fed to the irrigator.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTIO This invention provides a dental irrigator operated entirely by water pressure from a faucet, and which emits discrete water pulses at a rate and with an intensity each selected independently by the user from relatively wide ranges, and which also allows the user to select the temperature of the emitted water without regard to the rate or intensity selected for those pulses.

More particularly, the irrigator is attached to a water faucet, and has a water driven turbine wheel operating an interruptor valve to produce discrete pulses of pressurizedwater which are discharged from the, irrigator through a discharge hose and nozzle. The spread of rotation of the turbine controls the pulse rate, and control nozzles which emit water onto the turbine to drive the turbine. are adjustable to allow selection of the turbine speed. To control the intensity of the pulses, an adjustable metering valve controls the amount of water delivered to the interruptor valve, and the water temperature is selected by suitable adjustment of the water faucet controls.

The irrigator includes a housing having a supply passage communicating with the supply pipe ,to the faucet, and a discharge passage communicating at one end with the supply passage and at the other with the dischargehose. The interruptor valve is disposed in the housing to periodically block the flow through the discharge passage, and comprises the turbine axle, a portion of which projects transversely through the discharge passage, and a notch through the side of the axle positioned to be aligned with the discharge passage when the axle is in one rotary position.

Each rotation of the turbine aligns the notch with the discharge passage once, thereby to produce one discrete pulse for each complete turbine rotation. The control nozzles eject water onto the periphery of the turbine which has axially directed reaction vanes, and by controlling the angle of impingement of ejected water, the speed of rotation of the turbine can be controlled.

The irrigator also provides means for selectively dispensing an oral antiseptic or mouthwash into the discharge hose between pulses. In this connection, a chamber is provided which receives an antiseptic containing cartridge, and water from the supply passage circulates through the chamber and cartridge and is discharged into the discharge passage downstream from the interruptor valve.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the drawings which disclose, by way of example, the principles of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view showing a dental irrigator in accordance with the invention mounted in a shower stall;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged top plan view, partially in crosssection, of the irrigator of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary front view of the irrigator of FIG. 1;

FIG.'4 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken substantially along line 4-4 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken substantially along line 5-5 of FIG. 4 and showing a gear drive assembly for a pair of control nozzles operating a water driven turbine wheel of the irrigator;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 5 but showing a different rotary orientation for the gear drive and nozzles;

FIG. 7 is a diagrammatic representation of the control nozzle orientations of FIGS. 5 and 6 relative to the turbine;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-section of the turbine taken substantially along line 8-8 of FIG. 6, and having a diagrammatic representation of the flow of water ejected by the control nozzles when it hits the turbine;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-section of a metering valve and taken substantially along line 9-9 of FIG. 2;

FIG. is a fragmentary cross-sectional view of an anti-siphon valve and taken substantially along line 15-15 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 16 is a fragmentary front view similar to FIG. 3 but showing the different position of the slide operator when the control nozzles are in the orientation of FIG.

FIG. 17 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional view taken substantially along line 17-17 of FIG. 15;

FIG. 18 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional view taken substantially along line l818 of FIG. 13;

FIG. 19 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional view taken in the direction of the arrow 19 of FIG. 14;

FIG. 20 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional view taken in the direction of the arrow 20 of FIG. 14;

FIG. 21 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken substantially along line 2121 of FIG. 13; and

FIG. 22 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional view taken substantially along the are 2222 of FIG. 21.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION As shown in thexemplary drawings, the present invention is embodied in a dental irrigator 20 for emitting pressurized water pulses to be used for oral hygiene. In this instance, the irrigator 20 is shown coupled to a water supply pipe 22 projecting from a wall of a shower stall 24 and terminating in a conventional shower head 26. Water for the irrigator 20 is diverted from the shower head 26 through a supply conduit 28 to the irrigator by a diverter valve of conventional design (not shown) located in the supply pipe 22, and which is operated by manually depressing a plunger 30 projecting from the side of the supply pipe.

The irrigator 20 herein is encased in a box-shaped plastic housidng of rectangular cross-section having a front wall 32, vertical side walls 34, and horizontal top and bottom walls 36 and 38, respectively. The back of the irrigator 20 is formed by the rear face 40 (see FIG. 4) of a rectangular block or core 42, herein plastic, to which the top and bottom walls 36 and 38, and the side walls 34 are secured. Pressurized water is supplied through the supply conduit 28 to the irrigator 20 and is discharged as discrete pulses through a flexible discharge hose 44 and detachable nozzle 46, each of conventional design. Herein, the nozzle 46 is shown detached from the hose 44 and stored together with the hose and other nozzles in a slotted bracket 48 secured to the bottom wall 38 of the irrigator 20 and projecting outwardly from the front wall 32.

In accordance with a primary aspect of the invention, the irrigator 20 produces discrete pulses through the discharge hose 44 and nozzle 46 at a rate and with an intensity selected by the user from relatively wide ranges, and produces such pulses at a substantially constant rate and intensity irrespective of minor fluctuations in the pressure of the water supply. Further, the irrigator 20 of this invention allows the user to select the water temperature of the pulses without regard to the rate or intensity selected for those pulses.

Toward the foregoing ends, the irrigator 20 includes a water driven turbine 50 (see FIGS. 4 and 7) coupled with an interruptor valve 52 (FIG. 14) to periodically block and unblock the flow of water from the supply conduit 28 to the discharge hose 44, and which is rotated by a pair of control nozzles 54 (FIG. 5 communieating with water from the supply conduit to eject continuous streams of water onto thee turbine. To control the pulse rate, the control nozzles 54 are adjustable to selectively vary the speed of the turbine 50 thereby to vary the rate of interruption of the flow to the discharge hose 44. The intensity is controlled by an adjustable metering valve 56 (FIG. 14) which operates to govern the amount of water fed from the supply conduit 28 to the interruptor valve 52, the temperature of the water entering the supply conduit being controlled through the usual water controls (not shown) in the shower stall 24.

As shown in FIGS. 4, 11, 13 and 14, the supply conduit 28 is connected to the irrigator 20 through an antisiphon valve 58 projecting from the top wall 36 and communicating with a vertical bore 60 directed into the core 42. Within the core 42 is an upper supply passage 62 extending laterally across the irrigator 20 between the side walls 34, a substantially vertical supply passage 64 adjacent the left projecting laterally across the irrigator near the bottom wall 38. The upper and lower supply passages 62 and 66 each communicate with one of the control nozzles 54 (see FIGS. 4 and 11), and pressurized water for the pulsed discharge is supplied from the upper supply passage to a substantially vertical discharge passage 68 (see FIG. 14) of relatively small diameter.

Shown in FIG. 15 is an enlarged sectional view of the anti-siphon valve 58 which prevents water from being pulled from the irrigator 20 back through the supply conduit 28 when the irrigator is not in use. The antisiphon valve 58 herein comprises an upstanding tubular body 70 having a flange 72 at the base attached to the top wall 36 of the irrigator 20 by screws 74, with an upwardly tapering outer surface 76 which terminates in a threaded end portion 78.

Within the tubular body 70 is a compressed extension spring 80 biasing a vertically movable valve disc 82 toward the threaded end portion 78. The supply conduit 28 has a flanged end 84 which is attached to the threaded end portion 78 through a threaded cap 86 which encircles the flanged end of the supply conduit and engages the threaded end portion to clamp the two together. The valve disc 82 is restrained against upward movement by a ring 88 positioned below the flanged end 84 inside the body 70, and has three lobes 90 which fit in axial recesses 92 in the wall of the body to prevent rotation of the valve disc during reciprocation.

As can best be seen in FIG. 17, three ports 94 are provided through the side of the body 70 in the lower portion of the recesses 92 opposite each lobe 90 of the valve disc 82. When the irrigator 20 is not in use, the spring 80 biases the valve disc 82 to the position shown in FIG. 15 above the ports 94 so that any suction in the supply conduit 28 away from the irrigator will simply draw air in through the ports. On the other hand, when the irrigator 20 is in use, water pressure will force the valve disc 82 to move downwardly in the recesses 92 against the action of the spring 80 thereby to block off the ports 94.

The turbine 50 is wheel-shaped and mounted on the front face 96 of the core 42 to rotate about a horizontal axis on an axial shaft 98 (FIG. 10) which projects through a horizontal bore 100 extending through the core to-the rear face 40. The bore 100, best seen in FIGS. 14 and 19, is positioned to intersect the discharge passage 68 between the metering valve 56 and the discharge hose 44, and herein has a diameter. sev eral times larger than that of the discharge passage.

. The shaft 98 of the turbine 50 has a lateral notch 102 formed in a portion of its surface adjacent the discharge passage 68 so that in only one rotary position, the notch is aligned with the discharge passage to make a through passage, as shown in FIGS. 14 and 19. Preferably, the notch 102 is formed by drilling a circular hole through the side of the shaft 98 with the diameter of the hole equal to that of the discharge passage 68. In this way, the shaft98 and notch 102 form the interruptor valve 52 which allows only one discrete pulse of water to pass-through the discharge passage 68 to the discharge hose 44 for each revlution of the shaft.

At the rear of the irrigator 20, an enlarged diameter washer 104 is attached bya screw 105 to the shaft 98 to prevent the shaft from sliding out of its bore 100, the front end of the shaft being secured to the turbine 50 by a screw 106. As can be seen in FIG. 10, the bore 100 for the shaft 98 has a diameter larger than that of the shaft so that a small clearance between the shaft and bore results. In normal operation, water will enter between the shaft 98 and bore 100 and form a water bear ing for the rotating shaft. To allow water to escape from the bore 100, and prevent pressure buildup the washer 104 has several radial grooves 108 which provide a passage between the rear end of the bore and the outside of the irrigator 20. ,j

The rate of rotation of the shaft 98, and consequently the pulse rate, is governed by the angle of impingement of water ejected'by the control nozzle 54 onto the turbine 50. As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, the control nozzle 54 are mounted to project from the front face 96 of the core' 42, one near the upper left corner, and the other near the lower right corner, and each ejects its stream onto the periphery of the turbine 50 at an angle with respect to the radial direction of the turbine and along parallel lines defined by chords of the turbine (see FIG. i

As shown in the drawings of FIGS. 5 through 8, the turbine 50 is'formed as a sandwich structure having front and rear 1 10 which are relatively thin and secured to the faces of a center disc 112 having a sawtooth-like periphery forming axial reaction vanes 114. To obtain maximum benefit from impinging water, the diameters of the front and rear discs 110 are larger than the diameter of the center disc 112 so that the peripheries extend substantially beyond the reaction vanes 114 thereby increasing the area of water contact. Additionally, generally radial vanes 116 are formed by grooving the inside peripheral portions of the front and rear discs 110 to provide further reaction surfaces for extracting energy from impinging water.

Referring to the diagrammatic illustration of FIG. 7, assuming a constant flow from the control nozzles 54, the slowest speed for the turbine 50 is achieved when the control nozzles are in the solid line positions, and the fastest speed occurs when the nozzles are in the broken line positions. As is well known, the radial component of the reaction force on a turbine does not generate torque and therefore, by decreasing the radial forces through movement of the control nozzles 54 from the solid line positions toward the broken line positions, the torque on the turbine 50 is increased and the rotational speed correspondingly is increased.

To permit selection of the pulse rate, the control nozzles 54 are coupled with a manually operable slide 118 (FIGS. 3 and 4) on the front wall 32 of the housing of the irrigator 20. Movement of the slide 118, herein comprising a pin 120 of circular cross-section projecting outwardly through an elongated slot 122 formed in a plate 124 secured by screws 126 to the front wall 32, is translated through a gear drive 128 into rotation of the control nozzles 54 between the two extreme positions illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6.

As can be seen in FIGS. 3 through 5, the pin 120 has a circumferential flange 130 formed between its ends and engaging the rear of the slotted plate 124, and the rear end, the left end in FIG. 4, of the pin rides in a groove 132 formed laterally across the front wall 32. Pivotally attached to the pin 120 between the flange 130 and the front wall 32 is one end of the rod 134 which projects from the pin behind the slotted plate 124 to an eccentric 136 formed on the side of a cylindrical post 138 outstanding from the front wall near the center of the irrigator 20.

The post 138 is attached, herein by a screw 140, to a shaft 142 secured to a toothed wheel 114 forming part of the gear drive 128, and is positioned behind the front wall 32 and supported by the front wall for rotation. Engaged on diagrametrically opposing sides of the toothed wheel 144 are the teeth 146 of two sector gears 148 which are, in turn, each secured to one of the control nozzles 54. When the slide 118 is moved through the slot 122 in the plate 124, the rod 134 rotates the shaft 142 and toothed wheel 114 to angularly diaplace the control nozzles 54 through the sector gears 148, each sector gear rotating each nozzle a corresponding amount so that the nozzles at all times eject water along parallel chords. 1

Each control nozzle 54 is similar in structure and operation, the details of the upper control nozzle shown in FIG. 5 being shown in enlarged section in FIGS. 11 and 12. Referring primarily to FIGS. 4, 11 and 12, the control nozzle 54 is mounted for pivotal movement in a cylindrical bore 150 in the core 42, and comprises a cup-shaped cylindrical body 152 having a laterally projecting spout 154 near the closed end 156, the spout having a discharge opening 155 of relatively small diameter. The body 152 is positioned in the bore 150 with the closed end 156 projecting forwardly from the front face 96 of the core 42 and with the spout 154 directed parallel to the front face.

The sector gear 148 is attached to the closed end 156 of the body 152, hwerein by two screws 158 (see FIG. 5), and projects over the front face 96 of the turbine 50 and into engagement with the toothed wheel 144. To mount the nozzle 54, a shaft 160 having an enlarged head 162 at one end projects from the rear face 40 of the core 42 centrally through the closed end 156 of the body 152 and an aperture 164 in the sector gear 148. The shaft 160 permits the control nozzle 54 to rotate within its bore 150, and is secured to the closed end 156 of the body 152 by a U-shaped clip 166 received in an annular recess 168 in the body and engaged in a circumferential groove 170 near the small end of the shaft.

The bore 150 within which the control nozzle 54 of FIG. 11 is mounted communicates with the junction of the upper supply passage 62 and the vertical supply passage 64 so that water in the upper supply passage can flow through the bore, into the body 152, and be ejected through the spout 154. In a similar manner, the lower right control nozzle 54 shown in FIG. 5, communicates with the right end of the lower supply passage 66. To seal the bodies 152 in the bores 150 and prevent water loss around the control nozzles 54, o-ring seals 172 are disposed in circumferential grooves 174 around the bodies in sealing engagement with the walls of the bores.

In operation, pressurized water is admitted through the supply conduit 28 and anti-siphon valve 58 to the upper, vertical, and lower supply passages 62, 64, and 66, respectively. Each of these passages fills with water under a pressure substantially equal to the pressure of the water entering the supply pipe 22. The pressure of the water in the relatively large supply passages 62, 64, and 66, forces constant streams of water to be ejected from the nozzles 54 onto the periphery of the turbine 50. Since the discharge openings 155 in the spouts 154 are of relatively small diameter, the ejected streams are not affected significantly by pressure changes in the supply pipe 22 and thus normal fluctuations in the supply pressure will not alter the pulse rate.

After the ejected water has performed its function of rotating the turbine 50, it falls onto the inner face 174 of the bottom wall 38 and is directed out of the back of the irrigator 20 through two discharge channels 176 in the bottom portion of the core 42. The size of the discharge channels 176 should be sufficient to allow water to be discharged from the irrigator 20 at a rate to prevent a water build up in the area of the turbine 50 that could contact the turbine and impede free rota tion.

Attached to the front wall 32 of the irrigator 20 above the slide 118 for operating the control nozzles 54, is a second slide operator 178 which controls the intensity of the pulsed water. The intensity slide operator 178, herein comprises a rectangular plate 180 of L- shaped cross-section (see FIGS. 1 through 4) extending around the junction of the front wall 32 and top wall 36, and a pair of projections 182 and 184 which ride in grooves 187 and 189 along the front wall 32 and top wall 36, respectively. Upstanding from the portion of the operator 178 overlying the top wall 36 is a post 186 to which is pivotally attached a rod 188 projecting across a portion of the top wall to one end portion of a rectangular shaped block 190 secured at the other end portion to a rotary shaft 192 of the metering valve 56.

Referring primarily to FIGS. 9 and 14, the shaft 192 projects downwardly through a hole 194 in the top wall 36 and into the center of an internally threaded and cup-shaped cylindrical insert 196 mounted in a generally cylindrical bore 198 which is formed in the core 42 above the entrance to the discharge passage 68 and which communicates near its lower end portion with the upper supply passage 62. The shaft 192 is rotatably mounted in the insert 196 and terminates at its lower end in a conical tip 198 projecting into the inlet 200 of the discharge passage 68, the inlet having a complementary taper to receive the tip. O-ring seals 202 and 204 are provided to form liquid seals between the shaft 192 and the insert 196, and the insert and the core 42, respectively.

Above the conical tip 198 and within the insert 196 is na enlarged diameter cylindrical member 202 secured to the shaft 192 and having external threads 204 mating with the internal threads in the insert. Rotation of the shaft 192 turns the threaded cylinder 202 to raise or lower the tip 198 and vary the extent of opening of the inlet 200 to the discharge passage 68, thereby to control the amount of water admitted to the discharge passage from the upper supply passage 62.

Thus, to select the desired intensity, the intensity slide operator 178 is moved along the front wall 32 by an outwardly projecting tap 206 to cause the rod 188 to rotate the block and shaft 192, thereby admitting more or less water from the pressurized water supply in the upper supply passage 62 into the discharge passage 68. To insure that some water flows through the discharge passage 68 whenever the irrigator 20 is in operation, and thus always have some load on the turbine 50 to prevent run-away, a small axial groove 208 is provided in the conical surface of the tip 198 to form a bleed passage when the tip is fully seated in the inlet 200.

In some instances, it may be desirable to introduce an oral antiseptic or mouth wash through the discharge hose 44 and nozzle 46. For this purpose, referring primarily to FIGS. 13 and 14, a cylindrical chamber 210 is provided in the core 42 on the right side of the irrigator 20 and having an opening 212 through the top wall 36. Herein, the chamber 210 is formed to receive a suitable cylindrical cartridge 214 containing an oral antiseptic.

A removable plug 216 closes the top of the chamber 210 to permit replacement of the cartridge 214 when necessary. As can be seen in FIGS. 13, 21 and 22, the plug 216 has an upper knob portion 218 overlying part of the top wall 36, and two radially projecting keys 220 which are received in a pair of circumferential grooves or keyways 222 formed partially around the inside side wall 224 of a generally cylindrical insert 226 secured in the core 42. Axial keyway portions 228 in the sides of the insert 226 permit the plug 216 to be inserted or withdrawn from the top of the chamber 210, and rotation of the knob 218 moves the keys 220 into the circumferential keyways which have inclined upper surfaces 230 to wedge the keys and lock the plug in place. An o-ring seal 232 is disposed around a center portion of the plug 216 to seal the plug against leakage of liquid from the chamber 210.

The chamber 210 communicates with the upper supply passage 62 through a one-way check valve 234 which permits one-way passage of water to the chamber for circulation through the cartridge 214. As shown in FIGS. 13 and 18, the check valve 234 comprises a ring 236 secured in the upper supply passage 62 and against which a disc-shaped plug 238 is biased by a compressed spring 240. The plug 238 has a conical tip 242 and four arcuate slots 244 which permit water flow into the chamber 210 from the upper supply passage 62 when water pressure in that passage moves the conical tip of the plug away from the ring 236.

Water circulating through the chamber 210 and car-' tridge 214 is discharged from the chamber near its bottom through a conduit 244 leading to the discharge passage 68 between the interruptor valve 52 and the discharge hose 44. Preferably, the water containing antiseptic from the chamber 210 is metered into the discharge passage 68 between pulses, this being accomplished herein by providing a flow restriction insert 246 (see FIGS. 14 and 20) in the conduit 244 near the junction with the discharge passage. Between each discrete pulse through the discharge passage 68, no water pressure is present in the discharge passage below the interruptor valve 52 and thus the antiseptic containing water is pushed through the restriction insert 246 into the dischasrge passage by the liquid pressure in the conduit 244.

Toselectively prevent the introduction of liquid from the chamber 210 into the discharge passage 68, a stopcock 248 is provided in the conduit 244 between the chamber and restriction insert 246. As shown in FIGS. 3, 5, and 14, the stop-cock 248 is operated by a pin 250 projecting through the front face 96 of the core 42, and attached to a knob 252 projecting from the front wall 32. In this connection, it should be noted that an arcuate groove 254 is provided in the side of the sector gear 148 for the lower right control nozzle 54 as viewed in FIG. 5, to permit the stop-cock pin 250 to pass from the core 42 through .the front wall 32.

As shown in the drawings, the core 42 is formed from a solid plastic block, and the various water passages and conduits are formed by boring through the block. To seal the ends of the various water passages and conduits resulting from the boring operations, suitable plugs 254 (see FIGS. 4, l3, and 14) are secured in the ends of the bores to prevent water leaks from between the core 42 and side walls 34.

To operate the irrigator 20, the user initially turns on the shower and adjusts the shower controls until the temperature of the water discharging from the shower head 26 reaches that desired. One of the discharge nozzles 46 is then selected from the bracket 68 and in serted into the end of the discharge hose 44, and the plunger 30 is depressed to divert water from the shower head 26 to the irrigator 20.

The pulse rate can then be selected by moving the slide 1 18 laterally along the front wall 32 to control the speed of the turbine 50. In actual tests, it has been found that the pulse rate can be varied between approximately l50 and 2,000 pulses per minute through control of the impingement angle of water emitted by the control nozzles 54.

Having selected the temperature and pulse rate, the user can then select the pulse intensity by movement of the intensity operator 178. Preferably, the reference scale 256 is provided on the front wall 32 to facilitate selection of the desired pulse rate and intensity.

If the user desires that mount wash or oral antiseptic also be dispensed, the stop-cock 250 is opened by rotation of the knob 252 from the OFF to the ON position. Once in use, the user can alter the temperature, pulse rate, or pulse intensity without changing or in any way altering either of the other two variables.

From the foregoing, it should be apparent that this invention provides a new and improved irrigator 20 of relatively simple design, and which permits independent selection of the temperature, pulse rate, and pulse intensity. While a particular form of the invention has been illustrated and described, it also will be apparent that various modifications and variations can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

We claim:

1. A dental irrigator for emitting pulses of water from a pressurized water supply through a discharge hose, said irrigator comprising:

a discharge'passage adapted to communicate with the supply at one end, and the hose at the other; an interruptor valve disposed in said passage for periodically blocking water flow through said passage;

a water driven turbine coupled with said valve and operating said valve to block and unblock said passage thereby to form water pulses, said turbine comprising a wheel having axial reaction vanes formed around the periphery;

and at least one control nozzle adapted to communicate with the supply and eject pressurized water onto said turbine for driving said turbine and operating said valve, said control nozzle being selectively adjustable to vary the angle of impingement of water ejected by said control nozzle onto said turbine wheel thereby to control the speed of rotation of said turbine wheel.

2. A dental irrigator for emitting pulses of water from a pressurized water supply through a discharge hose,

said irrigator comprising:

a discharge passage adapted to communicate with the supply at one end, and the hose at the other; an interruptor valve disposed in said passage for periodically blocking water flow through said passage;

means for controlling the amount of water admitted I from the supply into said passage;

a water driven turbine coupled with said valve and operating said valve to block and unblock said passage thereby to form water pulses;

and at least one control nozzle adapted to communicate with the supply and eject pressurized water onto said turbine for driving said turbine and operating said valve, said control nozzle being independently adjustable to drive said turbine at varying rotational speeds.

3. A dental irrigator as defined in claim 2 in which:

said means for controlling the amount of water admitted from the supply comprise a metering valve disposed in the inlet to said passage from said supply and adjustable to vary the extent of opening of the inlet;

said turbine is a wheel having axial reaction vanes around the periphery;

and said control nozzle drives said turbine by ejecting water onto said periphery, the speed of said turbine being controlled by adjusting the inpingement angle of ejected water emitted b/said control nozzle.

4. A dental irrigator ad defined in claim 3 including a second control nozzle disposed diametrically opposite said first control nozzle, and means for simultaneously adjusting each of said control nozzles whereby water ejected by each nozzle is always directed onto said turbine along parallel chords.

5. A dental irrigator to be attached to a water faucet for emitting discrete pulses of water from a pressurized water supply through a discharge hose, said irrigator comprising:

a housing including a supply passage coupled with the pressurized water supply, and a discharge passage coupling said supply passage with the discharge hose;

an interruptor valve disposed in said discharge passage for blocking water flow therethrough;

a water driving turbine having an axle mounted for rotation in said housing and coupled with said interruptor valve to periodically block and unblock flow through said discharge conduit;

and a pair of control nozzles adjustably mounted in said housing, each of said nozzles communicating with said supply passage and disposed to eject a stream of water from said supply passage onto said turbine thereby to drive said turbine.

6. A dental irrigator as defined in claim in which a portion of said axle projects transversely through said discharge passage, and said interruptor valve comprises a notch in the side of said axle and disposed to be aligned with said discharge passage when said axle is in one rotary position whereby one discrete water pulse is created by each rotation of said turbine and axle 7. A dental irrigator as defined in claim 5 in which said turbine has a circular cross-section with axially directed reaction vanes formed around the periphery, and said control nozzles are mounted on diametrically opposite sides of said turbine and eject water streams onto said periphery along parallel lines defined by chords of said turbine.

8. A dental irrigator as defined in claim 7 in which said nozzles are adjustable to vary the angle of impingement of ejected water on said periphery whereby the speed of said turbine can be varied by adjusting said nozzles.

9. A dental irrigator as defined in claim 8 in which said nozzles comprise tubular bodies having laterally directed spouts through which water is ejected, said bodies being mounted in said housing for rotation; and said irrigator includes a slide operator coupled with each of said nozzles to rotate said bodies and adjust the impingement angles of water ejected through said spouts.

10. A dental irrigator as defined in claim 9 in which said slide operator is coupled to said nozzles through a toothed wheel and a pair of sector gears, one attached to each of said bodies and engaged with said toothed wheel, whereby translation of said slide operator rotates said toothed wheel to simultaneously angularly displace each of said sector gears and bodies by the same amount.

11. A dental irrigator as defined in claim 5 including a metering valve disposed in said housing at the inlet to said discharge passage from said supply passage, said metering valve being adjustable to vary the amount of water admitted to said discharge passage from said supply passage.

12. A dental irrigator as defined in claim 1 1 including a slide operator on said housing and coupled with said metering valve to selectively adjust said metering valve and control the amount of water admitted to said discharge passage.

13. A dental irrigator as defined in claim 5 including means for selectively dispensing an oral antiseptic into said discharge passage in between pulses of pressurized water.

14. A dental irrigator as defined in claim 13 in which said means for dispensing an oral antiseptic comprise a chamber in said housing communicating with said supply passage and receiving an antiseptic containing cartridge; a conduit communicating between said chamber and said discharge passage downstream of said interruptor valve; and valve means for selectively preventing flow from said chamber through said conduit.

15. A dental irrigator as defined in claim 5 including an adjustable metering valve disposed in said housing at the inlet to said discharge passage from said supply passage, and controlling the amount of water admitted to said discharge passage; and in which the speed of said turbine can be varied by adjusting said control nozzles.

16. A dental irrigator as defined in claim 15 in which said turbine has a circular cross-section with axially directed reaction vanes formed around the periphery, and said control nozzles are mounted on diametrically opposite sides of said turbine and ejected water stream onto said periphery along parallel lines defined by chords of said turbine.

17. A dental irrigator as defined in claim 16 in which a portion of said axle projects transversely through said discharge passage, and said interruptor valve comprises a notch in the side of said axle and disposed to be aligned with said discharge passage when said axle is in one rotary position whereby one discrete water pulse is created by each rotation of said turbine and axle.

18. A dental irrigator as defined in claim 15 including means for selectively dispensing an oral antiseptic into said discharge passage in between pulses of pressurized water.

19. A dental irrigator as defined in claim 3 wherein said irrigator housing is mounted in a shower stall and said supply passage is coupled with a supply pipe of a shower head faucet in said shower stall.

20. A dental irrigator for emitting discrete pulses of pressurized water from a supply through a discharge hose, said irrigator comprising:

a water driven turbine wheel;

an interruptor valve operated by said turbine to periodically interrupt the flow of water from the supply to the discharge hose and form discrete water pulses;

means for selectively discharging an oral antiseptic into the discharge hose in between pulses of water;

and at least one control nozzle for ejecting water from the supply to drive said turbine.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification601/165
International ClassificationA61C17/028, A61C17/02, A61C17/00
Cooperative ClassificationA61C17/028, A61C17/0214
European ClassificationA61C17/028, A61C17/02F