US20040074795A1 - Interlocking syringe rack segments and syringe rack systems incorporating said segments - Google Patents

Interlocking syringe rack segments and syringe rack systems incorporating said segments Download PDF

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US20040074795A1
US20040074795A1 US10278223 US27822302A US2004074795A1 US 20040074795 A1 US20040074795 A1 US 20040074795A1 US 10278223 US10278223 US 10278223 US 27822302 A US27822302 A US 27822302A US 2004074795 A1 US2004074795 A1 US 2004074795A1
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Prior art keywords
syringe
rack
rack segment
defined
assembled
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Abandoned
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US10278223
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Dan Fischer
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Ultradent Products Inc
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Ultradent Products Inc
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61CDENTISTRY; APPARATUS OR METHODS FOR ORAL OR DENTAL HYGIENE
    • A61C19/00Dental auxiliary appliances
    • A61C19/02Protective casings, e.g. boxes for instruments; Bags
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M5/00Devices for bringing media into the body in a subcutaneous, intra-vascular or intramuscular way; Accessories therefor, e.g. filling or cleaning devices, arm-rests
    • A61M5/008Racks for supporting syringes or needles
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61CDENTISTRY; APPARATUS OR METHODS FOR ORAL OR DENTAL HYGIENE
    • A61C5/00Filling or capping teeth
    • A61C5/60Devices specially adapted for pressing or mixing capping or filling materials, e.g. amalgam presses
    • A61C5/62Applicators, e.g. syringes or guns

Abstract

An assembled rack is provided for holding a set of syringes. The syringes may be conventional syringes or unique syringes that have a hollow elongated barrel engaged by a plunger with unique relative lengths. The assembled rack is made by interlocking smaller rack segments to create an assembled rack of any desired length. The assembled rack is configured to rest on a flat surface and hold the syringes so that the syringes are horizontal relative to the flat surface for easy viewing. The assembled rack has a series of cradles adapted to hold the barrels of syringes. To optionally stack one assembled rack on another assembled rack, the racks may have stacking prongs extending therefrom and corresponding recesses.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. The Field of the Invention [0001]
  • The present invention relates to a system of syringes arranged for performing a procedure, preferably in sequential order. More particularly, the present invention is directed to a system including a set of syringes and a rack configured to hold and display the set of syringes. The rack systems comprise segmented rack components that can be assembled as desired to form a syringe rack of a desired size. [0002]
  • 2. The Relevant Technology [0003]
  • Many dental procedures require the delivery of multiple compositions so several syringes are typically used. For example, when restoring a carious tooth with a composite filling the procedure may involve the use of a caries indicator, an etchant, a primer or bonding agent, a bonding resin, and a polymerizable composite. Such a procedure also typically involves the use of a polishing agent and a sealant. Due to the many compositions that are utilized in such procedures, there is a need for a system of organizing the various delivery devices. More particularly, a system is needed which reduces the time in between the steps of applying the various compositions. [0004]
  • The delivery devices used in such procedures are typically syringes. An example of a widely used conventional syringe is shown in FIGS. [0005] 2A-2D at 100. Although such a syringe may be useful as a delivery device in many procedures, particularly dental procedures, some circumstances require the use of uniquely configured syringes. For example, many dental procedures are optimally performed with enhanced delivery control. Additionally, it is often preferable to deliver very small amounts of a liquid from a syringe that is sized so as to be disposed of after a single use. Accordingly, syringes are also needed which enable small amounts to be delivered from single use disposable syringes that enable a user to have a high degree of control during delivery.
  • In conclusion, a system is needed for supporting a set of syringes in an organized arrangement. The system needs to allow the syringes to be easily fully viewed when held by a display and holding device and to be easily removed and returned to the device. In addition, it would be an improvement to provide a system that can be configured as needed to support any desired number of syringes. Such a system is needed for conventional syringes and also for syringes designed for single use so that the entire system is disposable. [0006]
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to interconnecting syringe rack segments, kits comprising such segments, and syringe rack systems comprising one or more assembled syringe racks adapted for holding a set of syringes. The syringes may be conventional syringes or unique syringes that have a hollow elongated barrel engaged by a plunger with unique relative lengths. [0007]
  • The assembled rack is configured to rest on a flat surface and hold the syringes so that the syringes are horizontal relative to the flat surface. For example, if a user has the rack resting on a table the entire syringe can be easily viewed. More importantly, the syringe barrel of each syringe can be seen and the printed indicia can be easily read. [0008]
  • The assembled rack and the set of syringes held in the rack may be used in various procedures; however, dental procedures are particularly benefited by the use of the rack and the set of syringes. Dental procedures such as procedures related to the restoration of a tooth typically involve the use of several different compositions that are sequentially delivered from different syringes. The systems and methods disclosed herein are very useful for such procedures as the syringes are held in a manner that enables the practitioner to easily remove each syringe from the rack and return each syringe to the rack in a sequential manner such that the time in between the steps of applying the various compositions is minimized. [0009]
  • The assembled rack has a series of cradles adapted to holding the barrels of syringes. The cradles conform to the configuration of the syringe barrels, which are typically round. Each cradle has a slot configuration with an open top, two opposing sides and a bottom surface. Since the cradle holds the syringe in an open configuration the full length of the syringe barrel can be seen, so that a user can quickly identify the contents of the syringe based on indicia such as the printed material on the barrel, the color of the barrel, the color of the plunger, etc. [0010]
  • Each cradle preferably has a locking extension that extends from both sides of the cradle. The locking extensions are raised portions that extend slightly beyond the surface of the sides to provide a tight fit with the syringe barrel. This tight fit enables the syringe barrels to be held in place as the rack is moved with the set of syringes during transportation and use. [0011]
  • Each cradle is separated from an adjacent cradle by a spacing element. The spacing elements have a width or thickness that is at least about the same as or slightly greater than the length of elements extending from the syringes. More particularly, the grasping handle of each syringe is prevented from contacting the syringe barrel of an adjacent syringe due to the length of the spacing elements. Accordingly, syringes can be positioned close together without diminishing the accessibility of the syringes. [0012]
  • The thickness between each bottom surface of each cradle and the base surface of the rack is preferably about the same as or greater than the length that each grasping handle extends from each syringe barrel. This configuration prevents the syringes from being pivoted out of the cradles when the rack is placed on a flat surface. Also when several racks are stacked on each other, this configuration prevents the grasping handles of the syringes in one set from becoming encumbered by the grasping handles of the syringes in the adjacent set. [0013]
  • To attach a rack segment to another rack segment, each rack segment includes projections and corresponding recesses for interlocking various rack segments together in an interlocking segmented configuration. The projections for interlocking are preferably at the opposing ends of the rack. When individual rack segments are connected together, they form an assembled syringe rack. Kits according to the invention include a plurality of rack segments, preferably of varying sizes, that can be assembled to yield a final rack having a desired number of syringe cradles in a row. For example, a kit that comprises segments having either 2 or 3 cradles can be used to form a finished rack having 2 or more syringe cradles as desired. [0014]
  • To optionally stack one rack on another, the rack segments preferably have stacking prongs extending from the top of the rack segments (e.g., extending from the spacing elements) and corresponding recesses in the bottom of the rack segments. Stackable rack systems are disclosed more particularly in U.S. application Ser. No. 09/597,208, filed Jun. 20, 2000, which is incorporated herein by reference. The optional prongs are preferably at the opposing ends of the rack. [0015]
  • The syringes used with the rack may be conventional syringes or syringes that are uniquely configured for delivery of small amounts of a composition in a unidose or single application. The chamber of the syringe barrel is preferably sized to hold just enough composition for use in a single dental restorative procedure. The small size of the syringe barrel enables less plastic material to be used so that the syringes can be disposed of after a single use. [0016]
  • In contrast to existing syringes which have chambers and plungers with approximately the same lengths, the plunger may have a length that is significantly longer than that of the chamber of the barrel. The plunger preferably has a length that is at least twice that of the chamber of the barrel. Accordingly, when the plunger is fully advanced within the chamber a portion of the plunger extends out of the chamber with a length that is preferably at least equal to that of the chamber. The length of the plunger relative to that of the chamber enables the syringe to be grasped in a single position and then to be used to continuously deliver the composition by advancing the plunger within the chamber until the composition is expressed from the chamber. This is a significant advantage as it eliminates the possibility of accidentally moving the syringe due to altering one's grasp of the syringe. It is typically necessary to regrasp existing syringes as the plunger is depressed within the barrel. Not only is it unnecessary to regrasp the syringe during the depression of the plunger into the chamber, the configuration of the syringe also enables a user to exert less effort in delivering the composition. Further, the configuration enables a user to exert essentially the same amount of effort throughout the depression of the plunger within the chamber of the barrel, thereby avoiding the possibility of suddenly varying the delivery rate. [0017]
  • These and other features of the present invention will become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, or may be learned by the practice of the invention as set forth hereinafter. [0018]
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • To further clarify the above and other advantages and features of the present invention, a more particular description of the invention will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments thereof which are illustrated in the appended drawings. It is appreciated that these drawings depict only typical embodiments of the invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope. The invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which: [0019]
  • FIG. 1A is a perspective view of an assembled segmented interlocking rack according to the invention holding a set of syringes therein; [0020]
  • FIG. 1B is a bottom view of assembled segmented interlocking rack shown in FIG. 1A; [0021]
  • FIG. 1C is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of the assembled segmented interlocking rack shown in FIG. 1A; [0022]
  • FIG. 1D is a perspective view of a plurality of assembled segmented interlocking racks shown in FIG. 1A that have been vertically stacked together; [0023]
  • FIG. 1E is an exploded view of the segmented interlocking rack shown in R, FIGS. 1A and 1C; [0024]
  • FIG. 2A is a perspective view of a conventional syringe; [0025]
  • FIG. 2B is a cross-sectional view of the syringe shown in FIG. 2A; [0026]
  • FIG. 2C is a perspective view of the syringe shown in FIG. 2A loaded with a composition and with the plunger positioned to initially express the composition from the syringe; [0027]
  • FIG. 2D is a perspective view of the syringe shown in FIG. 2A after the plunger has been fully depressed to express all of the composition from the syringe; [0028]
  • FIG. 3A is a perspective view of a unit dose syringe; [0029]
  • FIG. 3B is a cross-sectional view of the syringe shown in FIG. 3A; [0030]
  • FIG. 3C is a perspective view of the syringe shown in FIG. 3A loaded with a composition and with the plunger positioned to initially express the composition from the syringe; [0031]
  • FIG. 3D is a perspective view of the syringe shown in FIG. 3A after the plunger has been fully depressed to express all of the composition from the syringe; [0032]
  • FIG. 4 is a side view of another embodiment of an inventive syringe; [0033]
  • FIG. 5 is a side view of an additional embodiment of an inventive syringe; [0034]
  • FIG. 6A is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of an assembled segmented interlocking rack according to the invention holding a set of syringes; [0035]
  • FIG. 6B is a bottom view of the assembled segmented interlocking racks shown in FIG. 6A; [0036]
  • FIG. 6C is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of the assembled segmented interlocking rack shown in FIG. 6A; [0037]
  • FIG. 6D is a perspective view of a plurality of assembled segmented interlocking racks shown in FIG. 6A; that have been vertically stacked together; and [0038]
  • FIG. 6E is an exploded view of the segmented interlocking rack shown in FIGS. 6A and 6C. [0039]
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • The present invention relates to a rack system for syringes arranged for performing a procedure, preferably in sequential order. More particularly, the present invention is directed to a system including a set of syringes and a rack configured to hold and display the set of syringes. The syringes in the set may be conventional syringes. However, the syringes in the set are preferably configured to deliver relatively small amounts such that the syringes are disposed of after a single use. [0040]
  • FIG. 1A depicts a set of conventional syringes [0041] 100 a-f being held by assembled segmented interlocking syringe rack 10. Rack 10 is assembled by interlocking smaller rack segments together, as will be discussed in more detail below. Assembled rack 10 has a series of cradles 20 adapted to holding the barrels of syringes. Cradles 20 are preferably rounded as shown in order to conform to the typically round configuration of syringe barrels. More particularly, each cradle preferably has two opposing sides 22 with a curved bottom surface 24. An advantage of this open configuration is that each syringe is held securely by its barrel in one of the cradles in a manner that enables the full length of the barrel to be simultaneously viewed, so a user can quickly identify the contents of the syringe based on indicia such as the printed material on the barrel, the color of the barrel, the color of the plunger, and the like.
  • Note that the length of each cradle is optionally less than about half of the length of the syringe barrels [0042] 120. This length is sufficient to maintain a syringe in a horizontal position relative to the cradle and also ensures the easy removal of a syringe from the cradle.
  • Each cradle [0043] 20 optionally has a locking extension 28 that extends from both sides 22 of the cradle. The locking extensions 28 are raised portions that extend slightly beyond the surface of sides 22 such that there is a tighter fit with the syringe barrel as compared with the fit between the syringe barrel and the lower portion of sides 22 when the syringe barrel 120 is resting on bottom surface 24. The fit between locking extensions 28 and syringe barrel 120 enables the syringe barrels to be held in place as assembled rack 10 is moved or repositioned with the set of syringes 100 a-f. More particularly, the fit is preferably sufficiently tight that assembled rack 10 may be moved in any direction without displacing syringes 100 a-f, including moving the assembled rack such that it is upside down as shown in the bottom view depicted in FIG. 1B.
  • Each cradle is separated from an adjacent cradle by a spacing element [0044] 30. As shown in FIG. 1C, the width or thickness of interior spacing elements 30 is preferably selected so that the syringes can be positioned close together, as shown in FIG. 1A. For example, grasping handle 126 e of syringe 100 e is shown in FIG. 1A spaced about 1 mm or less from barrel 120 d of syringe 100 d. The spacing element may, however, have any suitable width. The spacing elements 30 a at the terminal ends of the rack segments are shown having a width equal to internal spacing elements 30, although each rack segment could be configured to have narrower (e.g. half the width of the internal spacing elements 30) terminal spacing elements 30 a. This alternative is preferable in instances where a more compact configuration is desired. As discussed below, an example is provided in FIGS. 6A-6D of an embodiment of an assembled rack with wider internal spacing elements and narrower terminal spacing elements.
  • FIGS. 1B and 1C depict assembled rack [0045] 10 with only three syringes instead of six syringes as in FIGS. 1A and 1D. The number of syringes in the set varies depending on the particular procedure that the set is used to complete, as described below in greater detail. As indicated above, FIG. 1B depicts the bottom view of assembled rack 10. From this view it is evident that assembled rack 10 is hollow. The hollow configuration reduces the manufacturing costs. Assembled rack 10 can alternatively be formed to be solid. When assembled rack 10 is hollow, as shown, the bottom side of each cradle 20 appears as a rounded swell 40 and the bottom side of each spacing element 30 appears as a flat surface 42.
  • As shown in FIGS. 1C and 1E, assembled rack [0046] 10 is assembled by attaching interlocking rack segments 10 w, 10 x, 10 y, and 10 z. To attach the rack segments in a horizontal configuration, each rack segment includes projections 54 and corresponding recesses 52 for interlocking any number of rack segments together in an interlocking segmented configuration. Each rack segment may include any desired number of cradles, although it is preferable for each segment to have either two or three cradles to reduce manufacturing costs and reduce the size of the segments that must be shipped. An assembled rack of any desired number of cradles (other than 1) can be created from a combination of one or more segments having two cradles and/or one or more segments having three cradles. For example, where it is desirable to have a rack with two or three cradles, a single rack segment may be used. For an assembled rack with four cradles, two two-cradle segments can be interlocked to create a four cradle assembled rack. One two-cradle segment and one three-cradle segment can be interlocked to create a five cradle assembled rack. The assembled rack illustrated in FIG. 1A is made up of two three-cradle rack segments and two two-cradle rack segments to form an assembled rack with ten cradles.
  • Each rack segment (or rack segment body) includes one or more projections [0047] 54 and corresponding recesses 52. The projections and recesses are located so as to allow the recesses 52 on rack segment to receive projections 54 of an adjacent rack segment. Projections 54 preferably extend horizontally from each rack segment's terminal spacing element. Alternatively, rather than projecting out perpendicularly from the terminal end of rack 10, projections 54 could project at and interlock at an angle relative to the terminal end. In this way the rack segments can be interconnected side by side to create an assembled syringe rack. The projections and recesses for interlocking the rack segments are preferably at the opposing ends of the rack as seen in FIG. 1E. These projections and recesses are examples of means for interlocking another rack to the rack in a manner that is secure yet detachable.
  • As shown in FIGS. 1A and 1C, assembled rack [0048] 10 may optionally have stacking prongs or projections 32 extending vertically from terminal spacing elements 30 a at the opposing ends of each rack segment of assembled rack 10. The optional prongs 32 enable a series of assembled racks (e.g., racks 10, 10 a, and 10 b as shown in FIG. 1D) to be stacked on top of each other. The optional stacking prongs are preferably hollow such that each stacking prong has a recess 44 as shown in FIGS. 1B and 1C.
  • As mentioned above, FIG. 1A and FIG. 1D depict assembled rack [0049] 10 holding six syringes 100 a-f, while FIG. 1B and FIG. 1C depict three syringes 100 a-c. Assembled rack 10 may be configured with more or less cradles 20. For example, when used with a relatively small number of syringes—such as three syringes—the three syringes may be merely spaced apart from each other as shown in FIG. 1B and FIG. 1C or, alternatively, assembled rack 10 could be assembled with different and/or fewer segments so as to have less cradles 20. Assembled rack 10 may hold syringes for use in many different procedures. However, assembled rack 10 preferably holds syringes arranged for sequential use in a procedure requiring use of different compositions held in different syringes. Such a system is particularly useful for many dental procedures.
  • An example of a dental procedure that may be beneficially performed in accordance with the present invention through using syringes sequentially arranged in assembled rack [0050] 10 is a dental restoration procedure, especially a dental restoration procedure that is achieved using dental composite material. As indicated above, restoration of a carious tooth with a composite filling typically involves the use of a caries indicator, an etchant, a primer, a bonding agent, a polymerizable composite, a polishing agent and a sealant. If syringes 100 a-f shown in FIG. 1A and FIG. 1B are filled with such dental compositions then syringe 100 a may hold a carious indicator, such as SEEK® caries indicator sold by ULTRADENT PRODUCTS, INC., syringe 100 b may hold an etchant such as ULTRA-ETCH® etchant sold by ULTRADENT PRODUCTS, INC., syringe 100 c may hold a one-part priming-bonding agent such as PQ1® priming-bonding agent sold by ULTRADENT PRODUCTS, INC., syringe 100 d may hold a flowable composite such as PERMAFLO® flowable composite sold by ULTRADENT PRODUCTS, INC., syringe 100 e may hold a polishing agent such as ULTRADENT® DIAMOND POLISH sold by ULTRADENT PRODUCTS, INC., and syringe 100 f may hold a sealant such as PERMASEAL® sealant sold by ULTRADENT PRODUCTS, INC.
  • Dental procedures such as restoration procedures involving use of composite materials to fill the preparation are typically performed with syringes such as syringe [0051] 100 depicted in FIGS. 2A-2D. However, such procedures may also be performed with a syringe such as syringe 200 shown in FIGS. 3A-3D and in FIGS. 6A-6D with assembled rack 10′. Syringe 200 has several advantages over syringe 100 that enable syringe 200 to be particularly useful with an assembled rack such as assembled rack 10 or assembled rack 10′. The primary advantage of syringe 200 is that it is specifically designed for a single use. Accordingly, each syringe in the system that is held by assembled rack 10 may be used and then the entire system, including assembled rack 10 and the syringes, may be disposed of after a single use. Another advantage of syringe 200 is enhanced delivery control.
  • To appreciate the differences between syringe [0052] 100 and syringe 200, it is necessary to first understand the configuration of a conventional syringe such as syringe 100. The elements of such a syringe are briefly described hereinbelow in reference to FIGS. 2A-2D.
  • The main components of syringe [0053] 100 are of course the barrel 120 and the plunger 150 that is slidably engaged in barrel 120. Barrel 120 has a top grasping end 121 opposite a bottom end 129 with a substantially cylindrical sidewall 122 extending therebetween. Sidewall 122 has an exterior surface 123 and an interior surface 124. Interior surface 124 defines a substantially cylindrical chamber 125 for holding a composition. Chambers such as chamber 125 of barrel 120 are typically configured to hold about 1.2 cc of liquid.
  • Barrel [0054] 120 has a grasping handle 126 which is an annular flange extending radially outward from sidewall 122 at top grasping end 121 of barrel 120. Grasping handle 126 is centrally located around opening 127 which has the same diameter as the interior surface 124 of chamber 125.
  • A radial extension [0055] 128 extends integrally from sidewall 122 at bottom 129 inward to define an exit port 132. Radial extension 128 acts as a stop for plunger 150 as plunger 150 is depressed.
  • Exit port [0056] 132 is the opening into channel 133 which enables channel 133 to communicate with chamber 125. Note that channel 133 is the interior surface of tapered exit tube 130. Channel 133 extends through tapered exit tube 130 and terminates at outlet 134.
  • Surrounding exit tube [0057] 130 is an attachment sleeve 136. Attachment sleeve 136 has an anterior surface 137 with engagement threads 138 positioned thereon. A nozzle or tip 140, shown in FIGS. 2C and 2D, may be selectively attached to barrel 120 by coupling with threads 138. A variety of tips are available which may be attached such that channel 133 of exit tube 130 is in fluid communication with the tip for guided delivery of the composition to a desired location.
  • Tip [0058] 140 is configured to selectively attach in fluid communication with exit tube 130. To accomplish this end, tip 140 has a threaded end 142 for engagement with threads 138 of attachment sleeve 136. Opposite threaded end 142 is a flexible and angled spout 144 for guiding delivery of the composition to a desired location. Of course different sizes and shapes of spouts can be used depending on the type and intended use of the composition. Furthermore, in alternative embodiments, tip 140 may be permanently attached to bottom end 129 or mechanisms other than threads may be used to attach different sizes and/or shapes of tips.
  • Plunger [0059] 150 has a distal lead end 151 opposite from a proximal pushing end 153 with a stem 152 extending therebetween. Radially extending outward at pushing end 153 is an annular pushing handle 158 used in advancing plunger 150. Plunger 150 is sized to be slidably received within chamber 125 through opening 127 at top grasping end 121. Plunger 150 has a length that permits it to be advanced to bottom end 129 such that a small portion of plunger 150 remains extending beyond opening 127.
  • Positioned at lead end [0060] 151 of plunger 150 is a cylindrically shaped sealing gasket 160. More particularly, gasket 160 is coupled to stem 152 via a gasket holder as shown in FIG. 2B at 164. Gasket 160 is made of a soft, compressible, sealing material, such as rubber, which allows the exterior surface of gasket 160 to seal against interior surface 124 of chamber 125 as plunger 150 is advanced within chamber 125 or selectively slid down to bottom end 129. Gasket holder 164 has a post 166 with a head element 165 integrally extending at one end and a base 167 integrally extending from the other end. Head element 165 and post 166 are inserted into an opening 162 of gasket 160 which expands such that head element 165 can be inserted therein and then elastically return to its original size such that head element 165 is removably held in gasket 160. Base 167 is connected to stem 152 to hold gasket holder 164 in position.
  • As discussed above, a small portion of plunger [0061] 150 remains extending beyond opening 127, as shown in FIG. 2D, when plunger 150 has been fully depressed such that gasket 160 contacts radial extension 128. The length of the portion of plunger 150 extending beyond opening 127 of syringe 100 when plunger 150 is fully depressed is about 1 cm. This configuration is typical for a conventional 1.2 cc syringe. Note that the length of the barrel is about 5 cm while the length of the plunger which includes gasket 160 is about 6 cm such that the ratio of the length of the plunger to the length of the chamber is 1.2:1.
  • While syringes such as syringe [0062] 10 are suitable for many uses, these syringes also have certain limitations. For example, in some instances it can be difficult to apply an adequate amount or the appropriate amount of force required to push the composition from chamber 125 into channel 133 and ultimately out of tip 140 attached to barrel 120. FIG. 2C depicts a loaded syringe with only gasket 160 and a portion of stem 152 in chamber 125 of barrel 120. As shown in FIG. 2C, a user typically grasps syringe 100 such that barrel 120 is held by the user's middle and index fingers as well as the user's thumb. As the plunger is depressed further and further into chamber 125 until gasket 160 contacts radial extension 128 to stop the depression of plunger 150 as shown in FIG. 2D, the user may have to exert increasing effort to dispense the composition. Accordingly, it may become difficult to dispense the composition at a uniform rate and in a controlled manner. When a composition is relatively viscous, the difficulty experienced in applying either an adequate amount or the appropriate amount of force may further increase.
  • As indicated above, FIGS. [0063] 3A-3D illustrate a syringe 200 which is useful for dispensing compositions in accordance with the present invention. Syringe 200 is shown having a barrel 220 with a plunger 250 slidably engaged therein. Note that in contrast to syringe 100 shown in FIGS. 2A-2D, barrel 220 is much shorter than barrel 120. More particularly, barrel 220 is shown having a length which is almost half that of barrel 120. Accordingly, plunger 250 is much longer than barrel 220. Although the advantages of this configuration are fully related below it should be understood that the primary advantage resulting from this configuration is that a user can grasp the syringe and express all of the composition contained in the syringe without having to change the grasping position.
  • As also discussed in greater detail hereinbelow, barrel [0064] 220 is adapted for unidosing so that its contents are dispensed in a single use. The syringe may then be discarded along with assembled rack 10 and the other syringes once each syringe has been used. Other features will be appreciated after understanding the details of the elements of syringe 200 as set forth herein below. The components of syringe 200 are essentially identical to those of syringe 100 with the exception of the barrel lengths. Barrel 220 is much shorter than barrel 120. Although the components are essentially identical, the components of syringe 200 are also described in detail to provide a complete description of syringe 200. Note that the components of syringe 200 that are similar or identical to those of syringe 100 are numbered similarly with a difference of 100.
  • Barrel [0065] 220 has a top grasping end 221 opposite a bottom end 229 with a substantially cylindrical sidewall 222 extending therebetween. Sidewall 222 has an exterior surface 223 and an interior surface 224. Interior surface 224 defines a substantially cylindrical chamber 225 for holding a composition. Cylindrical chamber 225 is discussed in greater detail hereinbelow in reference to plunger 250.
  • Barrel [0066] 220 has a grasping handle 226 which is an annular flange extending radially and perpendicularly outward from sidewall 222 at top grasping end 221 of barrel 220. Grasping handle 226 is centrally located around opening 227 which has the same diameter as the interior surface 224 of chamber 225. Grasping handle 226 is an example of means for grasping the barrel such that a user's fingers can grasp the barrel. Additional examples of means for grasping the barrel include a raised engagement surface on the barrel as shown in FIG. 4 at 226′, a textured engagement surface on the barrel as shown in FIG. 5 at 226″ or combinations of such surfaces. The engagement surface may be textured as shown by any suitable mechanism. Additionally, the engagement surface may be a smooth or textured groove around the perimeter of the barrel. As shown, the grasping handle 226 and the alternative grasping surfaces 226′ and 226″ are located at top grasping end 221 of barrel 220. While the grasping handle or grasping surface may also be located elsewhere on the barrel such as at bottom end 229, the location at top grasping end 221 is advantageous for several reasons. First, this enables a user to comfortably grasp the handle or surface of the barrel and the plunger. Additionally, it provides optimal visibility to the delivery site such that the user's view is not blocked by the user's fingers.
  • A radial extension [0067] 228 extends integrally from sidewall 222 at bottom end 229 inward to define an exit port 232. Exit port 232 is the opening which enables the composition in chamber 225 to exit. Radial extension 228 acts as a stop for plunger 250 as plunger 250 is depressed.
  • Exit port [0068] 232 is also the opening into chamber 233 which enables channel 233 to communicate with chamber 225. Note that channel 233 is the interior surface of tapered exit tube 230. Channel 233 extends through tapered exit tube 230 and terminates at outlet 234.
  • Surrounding exit tube [0069] 230 is an attachment sleeve 236. Attachment sleeve 236 has an interior surface 237 with engagement threads 238 positioned thereon. A nozzle or tip 240, shown in FIGS. 3C and 3D, may be selectively attached to barrel 220 by coupling with threads 238. A variety of tips are available which may be attached such that channel 233 of exit tube 230 is in fluid communication with the tip for guided delivery of the composition to a desired location. Note that exit tube 230 and attachment sleeve 236 are integral parts of barrel 220.
  • Tip [0070] 240 is configured to selectively attach in fluid communication with exit tube 230. To accomplish this end, tip 240 has a threaded end 242 for engagement with threads 238 of attachment sleeve 236. Opposite threaded end 242 is a flexible and angled spout 244 for guiding delivery of the composition to a desired location. Different sizes and shapes of spouts can be used depending on the type and intended use of the composition. Furthermore, in alternative embodiments, tip 240 may be permanently attached to bottom end 229 or means for attaching the barrel to a tip 140 other than threads may be used to attach different sizes and/or shapes of tips. Additionally, syringes within the scope of the present invention need not necessarily utilize a separate tip or have an integral tip.
  • Plunger [0071] 250 has a distal lead end 251 opposite from a proximal pushing end 253 with a stem 252 extending therebetween. Plunger 250 is sized to be slidably received within chamber 225 through opening 227 at top grasping end 221. Plunger 250 has a length that permits it to be advanced to bottom end 229 while a significant portion of plunger 250 remains extending beyond opening 227. The length of plunger 250 is discussed in greater detail hereinbelow.
  • Radially extending outward at pushing end [0072] 253 of plunger 250 is an annular pushing handle 258 used in advancing plunger 250. Note that the pushing handle of the plunger is preferably configured as shown at 258 which is described in greater detail in U.S. Design Pat. No. 322,317. U.S. Design Pat. No. 322,317, which issued to Dan E. Fischer on Dec. 10, 1991 and is owned by Ultradent Products, Inc., is hereby incorporated by reference.
  • Positioned at lead end [0073] 251 of plunger 250 is a cylindrically shaped sealing gasket 260. More particularly, gasket 260 is coupled to stem 252 via a gasket holder as shown in FIG. 3B at 264. Gasket 260 is made of a soft, compressible, sealing material, such as rubber, which allows the exterior surface of gasket 260 to seal against interior surface 224 of chamber 225 as plunger 250 is advanced within chamber 225 or selectively slid down to bottom end 229. Gasket holder 264 has a post 266 with a head element 265 integrally extending at one end and a base 267 integrally extending from the other end. Head element 265 and post 266 are inserted into an opening 262 of gasket 260 which expands such that head element 265 can be inserted therein and then elastically return to its original size such that head element 265 is removably held in gasket 260. Base 267 is connected to stem 252 to hold gasket holder 264 in position.
  • A plunger within the scope of the present invention includes at least a stem and preferably also includes a handle such as pushing handle [0074] 258. The plunger may also include a gasket held by a gasket holder extending from a stem as discussed above. The plunger may also be shaped like the plunger shown and described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,986,820, which is hereby incorporated by reference. U.S. Pat. No. 4,986,820, which is entitled “Syringe Apparatus Having Improved Plunger,” issued to Dan E. Fischer and is owned by Ultradent Products, Inc. Note that the entire plunger disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,986,820 is integral. Another integral plunger is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,398,763, which is hereby incorporated by reference. As described hereinbelow, specialized plungers may also be utilized which deploy a paddle. Examples of such specialized plungers are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,309,372, which is hereby incorporated by reference. In any event, as discussed below, plungers within the scope of the present invention are configured to be significantly longer than the length of the chamber of the barrel. The plungers disclosed herein are examples of plunger means for advancing the composition positioned within the barrel through the exit port at the first end of the barrel.
  • Plunger [0075] 250 is shown having a length which is about twice as long as chamber 225. This is perhaps most clearly seen in FIG. 3D, where plunger 250 is fully advanced within chamber 225, since the portion of plunger 250 extending out of chamber 225 has a length that is at least equal to that of the portion of plunger 250 within chamber 225. This length provides significant advantage over prior art syringes. For example, reference to syringe 100 as depicted in FIGS. 2C and 2D shows that a user must change hand positions as the plunger is depressed while reference to FIGS. 3C and 3D shows that the plunger can be fully depressed while holding syringe 200 is a single position.
  • To appreciate the importance of not altering the position in which the syringe is held, it is necessary to understand the manner in which such syringes are typically held and used. The grip shown being utilized in FIGS. 2C and 3C wherein the proximal pushing end of the plunger is pressed against the palm of the user's hand while the user's fingertips pull the grasping handle of the barrel to advance the plunger within the chamber is particularly useful in dentistry. This grip enables the user to deliver the composition contained in the chamber with a high degree of control. FIG. 2C shows the fingertips of the index finger and thumb positioned on grasping handle [0076] 126 while FIG. 3C shows a more secure grip. More particularly, FIG. 3C shows the fingertips of the middle finger, the index finger and the thumb holding grasping handle 226. Either grip may be utilized although, as mentioned, the grip shown in FIG. 3C is more secure and it also enables the user to apply greater pressure. In any event, these grips are useful in dentistry as they enable a user to hold the syringe in such a manner the user may maneuver the syringe as desired within the patient's mouth while maintaining a high degree of control.
  • As mentioned above, it is often necessary to change the grip used with a conventional syringe such as that shown in FIGS. 2C and 2D. As plunger [0077] 150 is pushed farther into chamber 125, the user experiences increasing difficulty in pushing the plunger. More particularly, when the fingers are extended they can more easily push downward, however, as they draw closer to the palm with this particular grip the fingers do not have adequate strength to press grasping handle 126 toward the user's palm or toward pushing end 153 of barrel 120. The difficulty experienced makes it necessary for a user to shift from the position shown in FIG. 2C to that shown in FIG. 2D. This change in position may result in undesired movement of the syringe. As the grasp of the user is altered, the syringe may be inadvertently swung to the side away from the intended delivery site. The movement may be slight, however, some substances which may safely contact enamel or dentin can be potentially harmful to soft tissues such as the gums.
  • In addition to undesired movement of the syringe as well as the resulting interruption to a particular procedure, the configuration of syringe [0078] 100 increases the hand fatigue which a dental practitioner experiences. More particularly, many users attempt to compress a plunger into a chamber until it is necessary to regrasp the syringe due to the resistance experienced. Instead of stopping while it is still easy to compress, users typically strain to deliver the composition until the point is reached when it becomes difficult for that particular hand grasp. When frequently repeated, this exertion can cause hand fatigue.
  • The length of plunger [0079] 250 relative to that of chamber 220 enables the syringe to be grasped in one position and then to be used to continuously deliver the composition in chamber 220 as shown in FIGS. 3C and 3D. As indicated above, this is a significant advantage as it eliminates the possibility of accidentally moving the syringe due to altering one's grasp of the syringe. Not only is it unnecessary to regrasp the syringe during the depression of plunger 250 into chamber 220, the configuration of syringe 200 also enables a user to exert less effort in delivering the composition. Further, the configuration enables a user to exert essentially the same amount of effort throughout the depression of the plunger within the chamber of the barrel.
  • As indicated above, chamber [0080] 125 is designed to hold about 1.2 ml and the length of the chamber is about 5 cm while the length of the plunger is about 6 cm. The ratio of the length of the plunger 150 to the length of the chamber 25 is accordingly, as also noted above, 1.2:1.
  • Plunger [0081] 250 is shown having a length which is about twice as long as chamber as indicated above, so that the ratio of the length of the plunger to the length of the chamber is about 2:1. More particularly, when the chamber is designed to hold a composition ranging from about 0.1 ml to about 0.7 ml, then the length of the chamber is about 2 cm and the length of the plunger is about 6 cm. The syringe shown at 200 depicts such a configuration. The length of the chamber is most preferably 3.15 cm when the barrel is used with a plunger having a length of about 6.2 cm; which yields a ratio of 1.97:1. While the preferred ratio is about 2:1, the ratio of the length of the plunger to the length of the chamber may also be no less than about 1.8:1 and still enable a user to deliver the entire content of the composition held in the chamber without regrasping the syringe. The ratio may even be as low as no less than about 1.5:1.
  • Chamber [0082] 225 can have any size and shape. However, chamber 225 is preferably sized to hold small quantities of a composition. For example, as indicated above, chamber 225 of barrel 220 is preferably configured to hold an amount of a composition ranging from about 0.1 ml to about 0.7 ml. Chamber 225 is more preferably configured to hold an amount of a composition ranging from about 0.25 ml to about 0.3 ml. By utilizing a barrel having a chamber sized to hold such preferred volumes, the chamber and the plunger may have the optimal length ratios discussed above, which enable a user to easily deliver metered amounts as needed.
  • The preferred barrel volume corresponds with the amount needed of most dental compositions for a single use when utilized in particular procedures. While many compositions can be held in a syringe and used at various times, many dental compositions which are formed by mixing two parts cannot be used after a certain period of time has expired as the compositions may set or harden. In such instances, it is particularly desirable that the chamber hold no more than is necessary for the single use as any more will be wasted. Accordingly, limiting chamber [0083] 225 to holding small quantities of a composition enables syringe 200 to be used for a single application without leaving any excess composition to be wasted. Since loading a syringe for unidosing requires less composition, the result is a less expensive procedure. Such unidoses are also sized approximately for laboratory uses in dental schools as the dental students typically need only very small quantities.
  • FIGS. [0084] 6A-6D depict a set of syringes 200 a-f held in an assembled rack 10′. Syringes 200 a-f are all configured such that the ratio of the length of the plunger to the length of the chamber is about 2:1 as it is for syringe 200. Accordingly, assembled rack 10′ holds a set of syringes that are all configured such that each syringe delivers small quantities of a composition. Such a set of syringes is ideal for completing an entire dental procedure such as restoring a tooth with a dental composite material by delivering a sequence of materials as outlined above. Since only small amounts are needed, the entire system can be disposed of after the procedure is completed.
  • The parts of assembled rack [0085] 10′ are identified with the same numeral as those of assembled rack 10 where the parts are the same and a prime symbol is used to denote those that are similar yet slightly different. Assembled rack 10′ has less cradles 20 than does assembled rack 10. It is assembled by interlocking rack segment 10 y′ and 10 z′, as best seen in FIG. 6E. Note also that the spacing elements 30′ of assembled rack 10′ are larger than those of assembled rack 10 to prevent any overlap of the grasping handles 226. Note however that this configuration requires the use of more plastic than the compact configuration of assembled rack 10. Syringes such as syringe 200 may be used with an assembled rack such as assembled rack 10′ as shown in FIGS. 6A-6D or with an assembled rack such as assembled rack 10. Similarly, conventional syringes such as syringe 100 may be used with an assembled rack such as assembled rack 10 as shown in FIGS. 1A-1D or with assembled rack 10′.
  • Like assembled rack [0086] 10, the spacing elements 30′ of assembled rack 10′ are not all identical. Note that terminal spacing elements 30 a′ and 30 b′ at opposite ends of assembled rack 10′ are narrower than the spacing elements 30′ in the interior of assembled rack 10′. This is a result of the individual segmented rack portions each having half-width terminal spacing elements. This is illustrated in FIG. 6E.
  • This differs from assembled rack [0087] 10 illustrated in FIG. 1A in that the spacing elements 30 of the small rack segments that make up assembled rack 10 are all identical widths. When the rack segments are interlocked, this results in wider spacing elements where the rack segments interlock, as seen in FIG. 1A. Spacing elements of any width can be used, although preferably the width of each of the spacing elements of the assembled rack is at least about as wide as the distance that the grasping handles extend from the syringe barrels, as discussed above. For a compact assembled rack, it is preferable to use rack segments where the internal spacing elements have a width equal to or slightly greater than the distance that the grasping handles extend from the syringe barrels, and for terminal spacing elements to have a width that is half (or slightly greater than half) the distance that the grasping handles extend from the syringe barrels. When the rack segments are interlocked, this results in a spacing element between rack segments that is equal to or slightly wider than the distance that the grasping handles extend from the syringe barrels.
  • FIG. 6B depicts the bottom view of assembled rack [0088] 10′ to show the hollow interior. Like assembled rack 10, the assembled rack 10′ can be hollow as shown or solid. When assembled rack 10′ is hollow, as shown, the bottom side of each cradle 20 appears as a rounded swell 40 and the bottom side of each spacing element 30′ appears as a flat surface 42′. Note that flat surfaces 41 a and 41 b are respective back sides of terminal spacing elements 30 a′ and 30 b′. Also visible in FIG. 6B at terminal ends are prongs 54 for interlocking and recesses 52 for receiving said prongs.
  • In FIGS. [0089] 6A-6B it can be clearly seen that the length of each cradle 20 of assembled rack 10′ is just slightly less than the length of each barrel 220. Since barrel 220 is shorter than barrel 120, the ratio of the length of cradle 20 with respect to the ratio of barrel 220 is much closer than it is for barrel 120. More particularly, each cradle 20 has a length that is at least about ⅔ the length of barrel 220. Since each barrel 220 is only slightly longer than each cradle 20, barrel 220 is more tightly held than barrel 120 of syringe 100.
  • FIG. 6C shows that platform portion [0090] 34 has a thickness between each bottom surface 24 of each cradle 20 and base surface 36 that is about the same as or greater than the length that grasping handle 226 extends from each syringe barrel 220. As indicated with respect to assembled rack 10, this configuration prevents the syringes 200 from being pivoted out of the cradles when assembled rack 10′ is placed on a flat surface. As also indicated with respect to assembled rack 10, this configuration is beneficial for stacked assembled racks as shown in FIG. 6D as it prevents the grasping handles 226 of the syringes in one set from becoming encumbered by the grasping handles 226 of the syringes of the adjacent set.
  • As with assembled rack [0091] 10, assembled rack 10′ and assembled rack 10 a′ have optional stacking prongs 32′ as best seen in FIGS. 6C and 6D. The optional stacking prongs 32′ are shown extending from the terminal spacing elements 30 a′ and 30 b′ and from the center spacing elements 30′ where the segmented racks interlock. However, the stacking prongs may extend from any of the spacing elements. Note that the stacking prongs 32′ are rectangular while the stacking prongs 32 are frustoconical. These stacking prongs are examples of means for stacking another rack on the rack in a manner that is secure yet detachable.
  • As indicated above, FIG. 6D depicts assembled rack [0092] 10′ positioned on assembled rack 10 a′. More assembled racks can of course be stacked on assembled rack 10′ as needed. FIGS. 6A and 6D depict assembled rack 10′ holding six syringes 200 a-f. Syringes 200 a-f may hold compositions like those described in reference to syringes 100 a-f FIGS. 6B-6C depict four syringes identified in the drawings as 200 a, 200 c′, 200 c″ and 200 d which may respectively hold an etchant, a bonding primer, a bonding resin and a flowable composite. The configuration of syringes 200 c′ and 200 c″ is not different from that of syringe 200 c, however, the prime symbols are used to indicate that while 200 c may hold a bonding agent syringes 200 c′ and 200 c″ may respectively hold a bonding primer and a bonding resin.
  • The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.[0093]

Claims (30)

    What is claimed is:
  1. 1. A syringe rack segment for use in assembling a syringe rack, comprising:
    a rack segment body having a top, a bottom and opposing sides,
    the bottom of the rack segment being adapted to rest on a flat surface,
    the top of the rack segment comprising a plurality of syringe cradles,
    each adapted to hold a syringe therein;
    attachment means on at least one of the opposing sides of the rack segment body for selectively interconnecting two or more of the rack segment bodies side by side to yield an assembled rack comprising a desired number of rack segment bodies.
  2. 2. A syringe rack segment as defined in claim 1, the rack segment body comprising two syringe cradles.
  3. 3. A syringe rack segment as defined in claim 1, the rack segment body comprising three syringe cradles.
  4. 4. A syringe rack segment as defined in claim 1, the rack segment body comprising four or more syringe cradles.
  5. 5. A syringe rack segment as defined in claim 1, the attachment means comprising one or more projections disposed on a first side of the rack segment body.
  6. 6. A syringe rack segment as defined in claim 5, the attachment means further comprising one or more recesses corresponding to the one or more projections on an opposite side of the rack segment body.
  7. 7. A syringe rack segment as defined in claim 6, the attachment means comprising one or more projections and one or more corresponding recesses on both sides of the rack segment body.
  8. 8. A syringe rack segment as defined in claim 1, each cradle further comprising at least one locking extension that serves to more securely retain a syringe within the cradle.
  9. 9. A syringe rack segment as defined in claim 1, further comprising one or more stacking projections extending from the top of the rack segment body and one or more corresponding recesses within the bottom of the rack segment body that facilitate stacking of one rack segment body over another.
  10. 10. A syringe rack segment as defined in claim 1, each cradle being separate from an adjacent cradle by a spacing element disposed therebetween.
  11. 11. A syringe rack segment for use in assembling a syringe rack, comprising:
    a rack segment body having a top, a bottom and opposing sides,
    the bottom of the rack segment being adapted to rest on a flat surface,
    the top of the rack segment comprising a two or more syringe cradles,
    each adapted to hold a syringe therein;
    at least one projection on at least one of the opposing sides of the rack segment body and at least one recess on at least other of the opposing sides of the rack segment body that cooperate to permit selective side by side interconnection of two or more of the rack segment bodies.
  12. 12. A kit for use in assembling a syringe rack, the kit comprising a plurality of syringe rack segments, each syringe rack segment comprising:
    a rack segment body having a top, a bottom and opposing sides,
    the bottom of the rack segment being adapted to rest on a flat surface,
    the top of the rack segment comprising a plurality of syringe cradles,
    each adapted to hold a syringe therein;
    attachment means on at least one of the opposing sides of the rack segment body for selectively interconnecting two or more of the rack segment bodies side by side to yield an assembled rack comprising a desired number of rack segment bodies.
  13. 13. A kit as defined in claim 12, at least one of the syringe rack segments having two cradles and at least one other of the syringe rack segments having three cradles.
  14. 14. A kit as defined in claim 16, further comprising at least one additional syringe rack segment having one cradle.
  15. 15. A kit as defined in claim 12, at least one of the syringe rack segments having at least four cradles.
  16. 16. A kit as defined in claim 12, the attachment means comprising one or more projections disposed on a first side of the rack segment body.
  17. 17. A kit as defined in claim 16, the attachment means further comprising one or more recesses corresponding to the one or more projections on an opposite side of the rack segment body.
  18. 18. A kit as defined in claim 12, further comprising one or more stacking projections extending from the top of the rack segment body and one or more corresponding recesses within the bottom of the rack segment body that facilitate stacking of one rack segment body over another.
  19. 19. A kit for use in assembling a syringe rack, the kit comprising a plurality of syringe rack segments, each syringe rack segment comprising:
    a rack segment body having a top, a bottom and opposing sides,
    the bottom of the rack segment being adapted to rest on a flat surface,
    the top of the rack segment comprising a plurality of syringe cradles,
    each adapted to hold a syringe therein;
    at least one projection on at least one of the opposing sides of the rack segment body and at least one recess on at least other of the opposing sides of the rack segment body that cooperate to permit selective side by side interconnection of two or more of the rack segment bodies.
  20. 20. A syringe rack system comprising at least one set of syringes and at least one assembled syringe rack formed by assembling a plurality of syringe rack segments side by side, each syringe rack segment comprising:
    a rack segment body having a top, a bottom and opposing sides,
    the bottom of the rack segment being adapted to rest on a flat surface,
    the top of the rack segment comprising a plurality of syringe cradles,
    each adapted to hold a syringe therein;
    attachment means on at least one of the opposing sides of the rack segment body for selectively interconnecting two or more of the rack segment bodies side by side to yield the assembled rack.
  21. 21. A syringe rack system as defined in claim 20, wherein each syringe within the set of syringes comprises a hollow syringe barrel with a chamber containing a composition and a plunger that can be used to selectively advance the composition contained within the barrel chamber.
  22. 22. A syringe rack system as recited in claim 21, wherein each syringe contains from about 0.1 ml to about 0.7 ml of the composition.
  23. 23. A syringe rack system as defined in claim 20, the assembled syringe rack comprising at least one syringe rack segment having two cradles and at least one syringe rack segment having three cradles.
  24. 24. A syringe rack system as defined in claim 23, the assembled syringe rack further comprising at least one additional syringe rack segment having one cradle.
  25. 25. A syringe rack system as defined in claim 20, the assembled syringe rack comprising at least one syringe rack segment having at least four cradles.
  26. 26. A syringe rack system as defined in claim 20, the attachment means comprising one or more projections disposed on a first side of each rack segment body.
  27. 27. A syringe rack system as defined in claim 26, the attachment means further comprising one or more recesses corresponding to the one or more projections on an opposite side of each rack segment body.
  28. 28. A syringe rack system as defined in claim 20, further comprising one or more stacking projections extending from the top of each rack segment body and one or more corresponding recesses within the bottom of each rack segment body.
  29. 29. A syringe rack system as defined in claim 28, the syringe rack system comprising a plurality of assembled syringe racks stacked together.
  30. 30. A syringe rack system comprising at least one set of syringes and at least one assembled syringe rack formed by assembling a plurality of syringe rack segments side by side, each syringe rack segment comprising:
    a rack segment body having a top, a bottom and opposing sides,
    the bottom of the rack segment being adapted to rest on a flat surface,
    the top of the rack segment comprising a plurality of syringe cradles,
    each adapted to hold a syringe therein;
    at least one projection on at least one of the opposing sides of the rack segment body and at least one recess on at least other of the opposing sides of the rack segment body that interconnect two or more of the rack segment bodies side by side within the assembled syringe rack.
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