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Publication numberUS3896824 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 29, 1975
Filing dateMay 17, 1973
Priority dateAug 27, 1971
Publication numberUS 3896824 A, US 3896824A, US-A-3896824, US3896824 A, US3896824A
InventorsThornton Thomas F
Original AssigneeThornton Thomas F
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Teeth cleaning
US 3896824 A
Abstract
A teeth cleaner to be passed through a crevice between adjacent teeth for dislodging particles therein consisting of a plurality of elongate filaments having a string portion in which the filaments are parallel and closely packed and a spongy brush portion of larger diameter caused by the textured filaments being randomly distorted.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1191 Thornton I 1 TEETH CLEANING [76] Inventor: Thomas F. Thornton. 221 Mill Rd..

7 New Canaan. Conn. 06840 [22] Filed: May 17. 1973 [21] Appl. No; 361.237

' Related 05. Application Date [63] Continuatiomin-part of Ser. No. 138.501. Aug. 27.

1971. abandoned. v

152] US. Cl. 132/89 (51] Int. Cl. A61C 15/00 [58] Field of Search 132189. 90. 91. 92. 93

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 792.471 6/1905 Smith 132/93 1.285.988 11/1918 Gudebrod .L 132/93 Acrum. SIZE or turn CLEANER 1 1 July 29, 1975 1.989.895 2/1935 Gildernl. 132/93 2.612.177 9/1952 Footer 132/93 7 3.078.856 2/1963 Bender ct a1. 132/93 3.247.857 4/1966 Kahbnr; 132/93 3.699.979 10/1972 Muhler 132/89 3.771.536 11/1973 Dragon 132/89 Primary Examiner-G. E. McNeill Attorney. Agent. or Firm-Ernest M. Junkins 1 1 ABSTRACT A teeth cleaner to be passed through a crevice between adjacent teeth for dislodging particles therein consisting of a plurality of elongate filaments having a string portion in which the filaments are parallel and closely packed and a spongy brush portion of larger diameter caused by the textured filaments being randomly distorted.

8 Claims. 3 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJULZSIHIS 3.896.824

ACTUAL 'SIZE or TEETH CLEANER TEETH CLEANING The present application is a continuation-in-part of my copending application. Ser. No. l38.50l. filed Aug.

27. l97 l now abandoned and entitled Teeth Cleaning.

v the crevice to resiliently engage the surfaces of the teeth defining the crevice. Thus. while the string or floss removes some particles. there is no assurance that it will essentially completely fill the crevice to physicaiiy and mechanically remove all the particles in the [IS-under tension produced by rollers [4 so that the yarn. between the point A at the rollers and the point B at the spool. is under a tension of l to pounds. The tensioncd yarn is guided through a bath of nylon resin dissolved in alcohol and then partially dried for thirty seconds by heat lamps 16. The yarn is then subjected to heat by a heater 1? for complete drying and pressure from a press 18. A portion of the yarn from the point A to the point C is notplaced under tension while it is being dried.

The yarn is continually processed to produce a continuous length of teeth cleaner shown in H0. 3. The

. points A and C are indicated where they will occur and crevice and to rub against and abrase the surfaces of a the teeth defining the cavity.

lt is an object of the present invention to provide 21 teeth cleaner which is capable of being as easily inserted into a crevice between teeth as dental floss but yet which is capable of essentially completely filling the crevices to assure complete removal of particles therein.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a teeth cleaner which has a portion which is formed to be of a diameter normally larger than the crevice but yet in which the spongy portion is resiliently compressible to enable it to adapt to the shape of the crevice. A further object of the present invention is to achieve the aboveobjects with a teeth cleaner that is economical. to manufacture and does not deteriorate with only a single use so that it may be used for numerous crevices. v r

In carrying out the present invention. the teeth cleaner herein specifically described consists of a plurality of elongate filaments or fibers that extend throughout the length of the cleaner. One portion of the filaments are formed to be a string portion by being essentially paralleland closely packed so that they in effect resemble conventional dental floss. The remaining portion of the filaments form a brush portion with V the filaments extending in the same direction as in the string portion but by being textured. i.e. randomly crinkled and commingled. the brush portion is thus spongy and of a larger thickness than the string portion. It is thus essentially elastic. capable of being easily reduced in diameter by a compression force or an elongating force but yet having memory which causes them to return to their normal bulky or crinkled state upon removul of the thickness reducing force.

Other features and advantages will hereinafter ap pear.

in the drawing:

FIG. 1 is a view of the teeth cleaner of the present invention.

FlG.2 is a diagrammatic 'view of one method of forming teeth cleaners.

FIG. 3 shows the manner of forming individual cleaners from the continuous length produced by the method shown in FIG. 2. a v

it will be seen that basically the points B and C correspond. The continuous yarn is then severed March of the points D to produce the individual cleaners 10.

It will be understood that the textured yarn on the spool 13 consists of perhaps 200 to 300 continuous fiIaments that were parallel and smooth but which have been textured by mechanical and/or heat treatments to permanently set or form coils. curves. twists. crimps and/or loops in the parallel filaments. Such yarn is generally commercially available with one or more fila ments and may be of the type disclosed in US. Pat. Nos. 2.919.524: 3.077.724 and 3.091.912. though. of course. the'invention is not to be limited thereto but includes textured and/or bulk. stretch yarns that have coiled. curled. crumpcd or loop distorted and commin gled filaments.

The stretching of the yarn between the points A and B causes the yarn to stretch and remove the set coils. crimp and/or loops so that the yarn that forms the string portion ll has its filaments become straight and parallel. The nylon resin from the bath coats the filaments and thus prevents them from becoming textured again upon release of the tension. The brush portion 12 is completely dried while under no tension so that it reverts to becoming textured again. Moreover. the nylon resin also coatsthc bulky brush portion to somewhat stiffen it and to give it more resistance to being compressed.

In use. the string-portion effectively acts as dental floss. permitting easy insertion past the contact point of the crowns bf adjacent teeth into the crevice between the teeth with the dislodgment of particles at the contact points. The string portion is then pulled. to cause the brush portion to enter into and pass through the crevice. The brush portion rubs against the sides of the teeth to be compressed to assume the shape of the crevice and as it is pulled through it dislodges particles therein between the gum line and the contact points. 7

The brush portion then after removal reverts to its initial noncompressed bulky shape to permit it to be used in the next crevice.

It will be understood that the brush portion is thus a spongy mass of textured nylon filaments which are held plied to a user. it is also contemplated that the teeth cleaners may be packaged as'a continuous strand. such as shown in FIG. 3 prior to severing. so that the cleaners are joined to each other with the user severing each cleaner from the length as is desired.

Variations and modifications may be made within the scope of the claims and portions of the improvements may be used without others.

I claim:

1. A teeth cleaner for passage through a crevice formed between adjacent teeth comprising an elongate flexible string portion and an elongate brush portion secured to the string portion. said brush portion being of spongy. elastic material formed to have a crosssectional extent normally substantially larger than the cross-sectional extent of the string portion and formed of a plurality of textured commingled filaments that have been permanently deformed and crinkled and in which the string portion is formed of a plurality of essentially straight filaments that are unitary with the filaments of the brush portion.

2. The invention as defined in claim 1 in which there is a hardened coating on the brush portion for stiffening and roughening the surface of the filaments.

3. The invention as defined in claim I in which there is a hardened coating on the string portion for maintaining the filaments essentially straight.

4. The invention as defined in claim 1 in which the portions of the filaments forming the string portion are essentially parallel and closely packed together.

5. The invention as defined in claim I in which there tured by permanently deforming and crinkling the filments.

7. The invention as defined in claim 6 in which there is a plurality of teeth cleaners formed as a continuous strand with alternate and stretched portions.

8. A teeth cleaner for insertion between and passage through the interproximal crevice between adjacent teeth comprising an elongate flexible string portion and an elongate brush portion means formed to be unitary to the string portion by being a continuation of the same material as the string portion and being formed to have a cross-sectional extent normally substantially larger than the cross-sectional extent of the string portion but being readily variable in cross-sectional extent for interdental conformity with the crevice.

i 8 i l t Page 1 of 2 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 31395 1 Dated Tnl InVen Thnmnq F. Thornton It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Figures 1, 2 and 3, should appear as shown on the attached sheet.

Claim 7, line 14, after "a1ternate insert textured Signed and Scaled this fifteenth D3) of June 1976 [SEAL] A ms t:

RUTH C. MASON C. MARSHALL DANN Arresting Officer Commissioner oj'Parenrs and Trademarks Page 2 of 2 Q Patnt No.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US792471 *Feb 9, 1905Jun 13, 1905James L SmithToothpick.
US1285988 *Jul 19, 1918Nov 26, 1918Gudebrod Bros Silk CoDental floss.
US1989895 *Oct 6, 1931Feb 5, 1935Jennie O Van GilderElastic material
US2612177 *Aug 9, 1950Sep 30, 1952Jerome FooterDental floss
US3078856 *Jan 5, 1961Feb 26, 1963Harry BenderDisposable dental implement
US3247857 *Jun 23, 1965Apr 26, 1966Kanbar Maurice SDental floss
US3699979 *Apr 8, 1971Oct 24, 1972Indiana University FoundationImpregnated article for cleaning the interproximal surfaces of the teeth
US3771536 *May 8, 1972Nov 13, 1973Dragan WDental floss and method of making same
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4008727 *May 19, 1975Feb 22, 1977Thornton Thomas FInterproximal space tooth cleaner
US4142538 *Jan 17, 1977Mar 6, 1979Thornton Thomas FDifferent stiffness continuous length teeth cleaner
US4215478 *Mar 6, 1978Aug 5, 1980Boudreaux Raymond EDental hygiene flossing system
US4367759 *Feb 22, 1982Jan 11, 1983Kline Larry HFlexible teeth-cleaning device
US4947880 *Jul 27, 1988Aug 14, 1990John O. Butler CompanyDental flossing device
US4974614 *Aug 18, 1988Dec 4, 1990Frank SelkerDental floss
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US5129824 *Dec 21, 1989Jul 14, 1992Keller Duane CMethod for treating periodontal disease
US5284169 *May 15, 1992Feb 8, 1994Gillette Canada, Inc.Method of producing a thin brush dental floss
US5289836 *Nov 9, 1992Mar 1, 1994Peng Chien LunDental floss device with a guide post
US5311889 *Feb 1, 1993May 17, 1994Csm Patents, Inc.Dental floss & pre-threaded leader
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US5682911 *Jun 10, 1996Nov 4, 1997The Megan Sumi CorporationInterproximal floss brush
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EP0613665A2 *Mar 4, 1994Sep 7, 1994Thomas F. ThorntonTeeth cleaning element
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Classifications
U.S. Classification132/321
International ClassificationA61C15/00, A61C15/04
Cooperative ClassificationA61C15/041
European ClassificationA61C15/04B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 17, 1987AS01Change of name
Owner name: COOPER CARE, INC.,
Owner name: ORAL-B LABORATORIES, INC.
Effective date: 19840530
Aug 17, 1987AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: GILLETTE CANADA INC., 5450 COTE DE LIESSE RD., MON
Owner name: ORAL-B LABORATORIES INC.
Effective date: 19870812
Aug 17, 1987ASAssignment
Owner name: GILLETTE CANADA INC., 5450 COTE DE LIESSE RD., MON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:ORAL-B LABORATORIES INC.;REEL/FRAME:004758/0064
Effective date: 19870812
Owner name: ORAL-B LABORATORIES, INC.
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:COOPER CARE, INC.,;REEL/FRAME:004758/0066
Effective date: 19840530
Nov 1, 1983ASAssignment
Owner name: COOPER CARE, INC., 3145 PORTER DRIVE, PALO ALTO, C
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:EDUCATIONAL HEALTH PRODUCTS, INC.;REEL/FRAME:004196/0443
Effective date: 19831006
Nov 1, 1983AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: COOPER CARE, INC., 3145 PORTER DRIVE, PALO ALTO, C
Effective date: 19831006
Owner name: EDUCATIONAL HEALTH PRODUCTS, INC.