US20080073350A1 - Assemblies for dispensing material, systems and kits including the assemblies, and methods of using and forming same - Google Patents

Assemblies for dispensing material, systems and kits including the assemblies, and methods of using and forming same Download PDF

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Publication number
US20080073350A1
US20080073350A1 US11/749,140 US74914007A US2008073350A1 US 20080073350 A1 US20080073350 A1 US 20080073350A1 US 74914007 A US74914007 A US 74914007A US 2008073350 A1 US2008073350 A1 US 2008073350A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
portion
assembly
spout
cap
neck
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Abandoned
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US11/749,140
Inventor
Tim Clarot
Samuel Belcher
Louis Germanio
Jeffrey Rice
Regina Miskewitz
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MATRIXX ORAL CARE LLC
ZICARE LLC
Original Assignee
MATRIXX ORAL CARE LLC
ZICARE LLC
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Priority to US80063106P priority Critical
Priority to US80063806P priority
Priority to US86391306P priority
Application filed by MATRIXX ORAL CARE LLC, ZICARE LLC filed Critical MATRIXX ORAL CARE LLC
Priority to US11/749,140 priority patent/US20080073350A1/en
Assigned to ZICARE, LLC reassignment ZICARE, LLC CHANGE OF NAME (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: MATRIXX ORAL CARE, LLC
Assigned to MATRIXX ORAL CARE, LLC reassignment MATRIXX ORAL CARE, LLC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: GERMANIO, LOUIS, JR., RICE, JEFFREY, BELCHER, SAMUEL, CLAROT, TIM, MISKEWITZ, REGINA
Publication of US20080073350A1 publication Critical patent/US20080073350A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61CDENTISTRY; APPARATUS OR METHODS FOR ORAL OR DENTAL HYGIENE
    • A61C17/00Devices for cleaning, polishing, rinsing or drying teeth, teeth cavities or prostheses; Saliva removers; Dental appliances for receiving spittle
    • A61C17/02Rinsing or air-blowing devices, e.g. using fluid jets or comprising liquid medication
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61CDENTISTRY; APPARATUS OR METHODS FOR ORAL OR DENTAL HYGIENE
    • A61C19/00Dental auxiliary appliances
    • A61C19/06Implements for therapeutic treatment
    • A61C19/063Medicament applicators for teeth or gums, e.g. treatment with fluorides

Abstract

Assemblies for storing and dispensing material, systems including an assembly and a composition, and methods of forming and using the assembly and systems are disclosed. An assembly may include a resilient vessel portion for storing material and a spout portion for directing the material as the material is dispensed from the system. The vessel portion and the spout portion may be formed separately and subsequently coupled together to form an assembly, or the vessel portion and the spout portion may be formed as a single unit.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/800,638, entitled METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR FACILITATING ORAL HEALTH, filed May 15, 2006; U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/800,631, entitled METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR FACILITATING AND MAINTAINING ORAL HEALTH THROUGH PRESCRIBED APPLICATIONS OF ORAL COMPOSITIONS, filed May 15, 2006; and U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/863,913, entitled ASSEMBLY FOR DISPENSING MATERIAL, SYSTEM INCLUDING THE ASSEMBLY, AND METHODS OF USING AND FORMING THE ASSEMBLY AND SYSTEM, filed May 15, 2006.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention generally relates to assemblies for storing and dispensing materials. More particularly, the invention relates to assemblies for sealing material within a container and for controllably dispensing material from the container, to systems including the assemblies, and to methods of using and forming the assemblies and systems.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Many containers for storing and dispensing material are known. For example, sealed containers formed of resilient material, such as foil or plastic, are known. Material is often dispensed from such containers by rupturing (e.g., tearing) a portion of the container and squeezing a portion of the container to cause the material to flow through the ruptured portion of the container.
  • Although these containers work well for several applications, they may be deficient for use in some applications. For example, the rupturing or tearing of the container can be unpredictable, which leads to an unpredictable opening in the container. As a result, flow and placement of material extruded from the container may be unpredictable and/or difficult to control.
  • Accordingly, improved containers and systems including the containers are desired.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention provides an improved assembly, system including one or more assemblies, and methods of using and forming assemblies and systems. More particularly, the invention provides an assembly for controllably dispensing material from a sealable container and a system including the assembly and material to be dispensed. The assembly and system of the present invention can be used in a variety of applications and are conveniently described herein in the context of sealably containing and delivering a material including an active ingredient to a desired location.
  • While the ways in which the present invention addresses the disadvantages of the prior art will be discussed in greater detail below, in general, the present invention provides a convenient, easy-to-assemble sealable assembly, which allows precise dispensing of material to a desired location.
  • In accordance with various examples of embodiments of the invention, an assembly includes a vessel portion, including a resilient, deformable vial, a neck and optionally a transition portion, and a spout portion including a cap and a spout. In accordance with some aspects of this embodiment, the assembly includes a separately-formed spout portion that sealably attaches to the vessel portion to form a dispensing assembly.
  • In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, a vessel portion and a spout portion of an assembly are detachably coupled together. In accordance with various aspects of the embodiment, a neck of the vessel portion and a cap of the spout portion are configured to interference fit or snap fit together. In accordance with one aspect, one of the neck and the cap includes a first protrusion and the other of the neck and the cap includes a recess for receiving the first protrusion. In accordance with yet another aspect of this embodiment, the neck includes a second protrusion (e.g., a capping ring) to facilitate handling of the vessel portion and/or to thwart detachment of the cap from the vessel portion. In accordance with another aspect, the cap portion includes a sealing flange to form a detachable seal with the neck of the vessel portion. In accordance with other aspects, the neck and cap engage each other, using thread and/or lug techniques, to form a seal between the vessel and spout portions. And, in accordance with yet further aspects, once the vessel portion and the spout portion are coupled, the portions are sealed using, the sealing flange, a sealant, by heat sealing the two portions together, and/or the like.
  • In accordance with an alternative embodiment of the invention, the cap of the spout portion rotatably couples to the neck of the vessel portion to form a rotatable seal between the vessel portion and the cap portion. In accordance with one aspect of this embodiment, one of the neck and the cap includes a first protrusion (e.g., a ring) and the other of the neck and the cap includes a recess for receiving the first protrusion. In accordance with other aspects, the vessel and the spout portions interference fit or snap-fit together to form a rotatable seal between the vessel portion and the spout portion. In accordance with yet another aspect of this embodiment, the neck includes a second protrusion (a capping ring) to facilitate handling of the vessel portion and/or to thwart detachment of the cap from the vessel portion. In accordance with yet a further aspect of this embodiment, the cap portion includes a sealing flange, which engages a top portion of the neck to form a rotatable seal.
  • In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, a system includes an assembly and a dispensable material within the assembly. In accordance with various aspects of this embodiment, the material includes one or more active ingredients for oral health care. In accordance with additional aspects of this embodiment, the material is configured to remain in an oral cavity for an extended period of time. In accordance with other aspects, the material is a viscous material. Examples of viscous materials have a viscosity greater than about 20,000 cp, preferably greater than 30,000 cp, and more preferably greater than about 35,000 cp. The viscosity of the materials may range from about 20,000 to about 250,000 cp, preferably about 25,000 to about 100,000, and more preferably about 30,000 to about 50,000 cp. Suitable active ingredients include cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), zinc salts, other antimicrobial agents, and other ingredients known to improve (typically reduce) measurable oral health care indices. In accordance with additional aspects of this embodiment, the container encapsulates a single dose of the material. In accordance with yet further aspects, the container is configured to facilitate application of the material to specific areas within an oral cavity. In accordance with yet additional aspects of this embodiment, the system is designed to improve one or more oral health indices selected from the group of GI, PI, TI, SI, GBI, x-ray analysis, and probe pocket depth. In accordance with yet additional aspects, a system includes a material, having a plurality of active ingredients to measurably improve oral health, and a container to hold the material. In accordance with various aspects of this embodiment of the invention, the material includes a carrier having a thickening agent, wherein the material is configured to maintain the plurality of active ingredients in contact with a surface for an extended period of time. Examples of thickening agents suitable for use in the material include hydroxyethylcellulose, glycerin, and other pharmaceutically acceptable thickeners, and examples of active ingredients include CPC, zinc salts, other antimicrobial agents, and similar agents known to reduce tartar or plaque. In accordance with further aspects, a system includes a material, having one or more active ingredients to measurably improve oral health and a carrier including a thickening agent, and a container to hold the material. Examples of thickening agents suitable for use in the material include hydroxyethylcellulose, glycerin, and other pharmaceutically acceptable thickeners, and examples of active ingredients include CPC, zinc salts, other antimicrobial agents, and similar agents known to improve oral health. In accordance with yet further aspects, a system for measurably improving oral health includes a material, including a colorant indicative healthy gingiva and an active ingredient, and a container.
  • In accordance with yet further embodiments of the invention, an assembly is formed by separately forming a vessel portion and a spout portion and subsequently coupling the vessel and spout portions to form an assembly. In accordance with various aspects of this embodiment, the vessel portion is formed using blow-molding and/or injection-molding techniques. In accordance with further aspects of this embodiment, the spout portion is formed using injection-molding techniques. In accordance with yet further aspects, the separately formed vessel and spout portions are sealably coupled together using interference-fit, snap-fit, thread, or lug fastening techniques.
  • In accordance with yet another embodiment of the invention, a system is formed by forming a vessel portion, forming a spout portion, filling the vessel portion with material, and sealably attaching the spout portion to the vessel portion to form the system.
  • In accordance with yet an additional embodiment of the invention, a method of using a system includes applying pressure to the vessel portion of a system to cause material to exit the system through the spout, which is rotatably and/or detachably coupled to the vessel portion.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • A more complete understanding of the invention may be derived by referring to the detailed description, considered in connection with the figures, wherein like reference numbers refer to similar elements throughout the figures, and:
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a side view of a system in accordance with various embodiments of the invention;
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a cross-sectional view of an assembly or container in accordance with various embodiments of the invention;
  • FIG. 3 illustrates a cross-sectional view of a spout or applicator portion in accordance with various embodiments of the invention;
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a cross-sectional view of a vessel or expulsion portion in accordance with various embodiments of the invention;
  • FIG. 5 illustrates a cross-sectional view of an assembly or container in accordance with various embodiments of the invention;
  • FIG. 6 illustrates a side view of an example of an assembly or container system in accordance with various embodiments of the invention;
  • FIGS. 7A-7D illustrate, respectively, left view, front view, right view and a top view of an example of a container system in accordance with various embodiments of the invention;
  • FIGS. 8A and 8B illustrate, respectively, a perspective view and top view of an example of a storage system for facilitating and maintaining oral health care through regular applications of oral compositions in accordance with various embodiments of the invention; and
  • FIG. 9 illustrates a block diagram of an example of a method for facilitating and maintaining oral health care through regular applications of oral compositions in accordance with various embodiments of the invention.
  • Elements in the figures are illustrated for simplicity and clarity and have not necessarily been drawn to scale. The dimensions of some of the elements in the figures may be exaggerated relative to other elements to help to improve understanding of embodiments of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The present invention provides an improved assembly for containing and dispensing material and a system including the assembly. As described in more detail below, the assembly provides a convenient, easy-to-use container and applicator for use with a variety of materials and applications. For example, the system can be used to contain and dispense oral care materials to a gum/tooth interface and surrounding areas within an oral cavity.
  • FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 illustrate a system 100, including an assembly or container 102 and a material or composition 104, in accordance with various embodiments of the present invention. System 100 can be used to dispense material 104, such as liquid, a semi liquid, or dry granule materials, to a desired location using assembly 102. In addition, system 100 can provide protection to material 104 from, for example, moisture, ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and the like, during storage.
  • Assembly 102 includes a vessel or expulsion portion 106 and an elongated spout or applicator portion 108. As discussed in more detail below, vessel portion 106 and spout portion 108 may be separately formed and coupled together to form assembly 102. Separately forming vessel portion 106 and spout portion 108 may facilitate filling assembly 102 with material 104, facilitate manufacture of the assembly, and may also facilitate dispensing material 104 to a desired location.
  • Vessel portion 106 may be formed of a variety of resilient materials, which preferably retain and return to their original structure when not under pressure, such as various types of plastics, foils, and the like. In accordance with one embodiment, vessel portion 106 is formed of thermoplastic resin, such as low-density polyethylene. Other thermoplastic materials suitable for use for vessel portion 106 may include high density polyethylene, medium density polyethylene, linear low density polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, K resin, polyethylene terephthalate and copolyesters, polypropylene, surlyn, silicones and other thermoplastics. Portion 106 may be opaque, transparent, or semitransparent. An advantage of forming vessel portion 106 of transparent or semitransparent material is that an amount of material 104 within vessel portion 106 can be ascertained when the portion is formed of such material. Material used to form vessel portion 106 may also include UV protection additives, colorants, or the like. When used to dispense food, drugs, supplements, or the like, vessel portion 106 is preferably formed of FDA-approved material.
  • In accordance with various embodiments of the invention, vessel portion 106 includes a resilient vial 110, a neck 112 (see FIG. 4), and an optional transition portion 114. Resilient vial 110 acts as a reservoir for material 104 and also facilitates expulsion of material from assembly 102 when pressure is applied to an external surface of vial 110. Neck 112 is configured to couple to spout portion 108, and transition portion 114 connects vial 110 to neck 112.
  • Although illustrated as substantially tubular, with a semispherical, sealed end 116, resilient vial 110 may be of any suitable shape. For example, vial 110 may be pyramidal, cone shaped, fluted, or have a rectangular cross section. Similarly, end portion 116 may be of any suitable shape, such as linear (e.g., a crimped end) or the like. In general, preferred shapes of vial 110 conserve material used to form the vial, allow for easy dispensing of material 104, are easy to produce, and produce relatively little scrap during production. Further, a size of vial 110 may be selected for a particular application. For example, a size of vial 110 may be selected for application of a single dose of material.
  • Transition section 114 is the portion of vessel portion 106 between vial 110 and neck 112. Transition portion 114 may be of any suitable shape such as frustro-conical, fluted, and the like.
  • Although not illustrated, systems in accordance with various embodiments of the invention may include tamper-resistant features. For example, system 100 may include a seal formed over neck 112, using, for example plastic or foil glued to or otherwise adhered to a top portion of neck 112. Alternatively, after spout portion 108 is attached to vessel portion 106, the two portions may be fused together using heat sealing and/or adhesive techniques.
  • Spout portion 108 includes a cap 118 and a spout 120, which has an end portion 122. As described in more detail below, cap 118 is configured to attach to neck 112 of vessel portion 106.
  • Cap 118 may be configured in any suitable shape that sealably couples to neck 112. In accordance with the illustrated embodiment, cap 118 fits over an exterior portion of neck 112. However, neck 112 and cap 118 may alternatively be configured such that cap 118 sealably attaches to an interior portion of neck 112.
  • An example of cap 118 includes a circular cross section; however, cap 118 may suitably be configured in other shapes, such as, for example, having a square, rectangular, or triangular cross section. Cap 18 may also include a decorative skirt on an exterior portion 119.
  • Spout 120 is configured to facilitate placement and controlled flow of material dispensed from system 100. Spout 120 may be substantially cylindrical, as illustrated. Alternatively, spout 120 may have a square, rectangular, ellipse, or other cross-section configuration. Spout 120 may also include a weakened section 126, which may be formed, for example, by scaring a portion of spout 120. Weakened section 126 may facilitate rupturing spout 120 at weakened section 126, which in turn allows for a predicable cross section of spout 120 and thus a relatively predictable flow of material dispense from system 100. Having a substantially constant cross-section of spout 120, as illustrated, also makes the flow more predictable, even if spout 120 is ruptured away from weakened area 126.
  • As illustrated, spout 120 may form an angle relative to an axis, A-A, illustrated in FIG. 2. In accordance with various embodiments of the invention, spout 120 forms an angle of about 0 degrees to about 80 degrees from axis A-A, preferably about 0 degrees to about 55 degrees, and more preferably about 40 degrees to about 55 degrees. In accordance with one specific example, spout 120 forms an angle of about 48 degrees relative to axis A-A.
  • End portion 122 forms a sealed end at one end of spout 120. In accordance with various embodiments of the invention, end portion 122 is flat and wider than an interior portion 124 of spout 120. Having end portion 120 wider than spout 120 allows a user to grip end 122 to, for example, tear spout 120 at weakened section 126. However, end 122 may be alternatively configured as, for example, a semisphere or other suitable shape.
  • Spout portion 108 may be formed using a variety of materials, such as any of the materials described above in connection with vessel portion 106. Examples of materials include polypropylene, high density prolethylene, low density polyethylene, medium density polyethylene, linear low density polyethylene, impact polystyrene, surlyn, silicone, K resin, nylon, copolyester, and similar materials. However, because spout portion 108 may be formed separately from vessel portion 106, it need not be formed of the same material.
  • In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, vessel portion 106 and spout portion 108 are configured to sealably (and optionally rotatably) couple to each other. In accordance with various aspects of this embodiment, one of neck 112 and cap 118 includes a protrusion and the other of neck 112 and cap 118 includes a recess to receive the protrusion, such that the protrusion and recess hold vessel portion 102 and spout portion 108 together, while optionally allowing the two portions to rotate about an axis, with respect to each other. In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, neck 112 and cap 118 are configured to allow vessel portion 106 and spout portion 108 to be detachably coupled to each other. In this case, neck 112 and cap 118 may be snap-fit together as described above, or one of neck 112 and cap 118 may include an external threaded portion and the other of neck and 112 and cap 118 may include an internal portion (e.g., a threaded portion) to threadably receive the other portion, such that neck 112 and cap 118 form a seal when the two parts are threadably engaged. In accordance with yet other embodiments, neck portion 112 and cap 118 may engage using lug or interference-fit technology.
  • FIG. 3 and FIG. 4 respectfully illustrate spout portion 108 and vessel portion 106, in greater detail, in accordance with various embodiments of the invention.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates a cross-sectional view of spout portion 108. Portion 108 is configured such that an interior surface 302 of spout 120 is fluidly coupled to an interior portion 304 of cap 118. In the illustrated embodiment, first end 306 of spout 120 is fluidly coupled to cap 118 and forms an angle relative to axis A-A, and second distal end 122 is along an axis B-B from first end 306.
  • In the illustrated embodiment, cap 118 includes a sealing flange 308 in the form of a protruding ring about interior surface 304 of cap 118, and a protrusion 310, also in the form of a ring on interior surface 304. Flange 308 is located near an upper surface 312 of interior surface 304 of cap 118 and is preferably angled away from surface 312 of cap 118, such that when spout portion 108 is coupled to vessel portion 106, flange 308 forms a seal with a top 402 (FIG. 4) of neck 112. In accordance with an alternate embodiment of the invention, cap 118 and neck 112 may be sealably connected using a valve seal.
  • Protrusion 310 is configured to fit within a recess 404 within neck 112. In the illustrated embodiment, protrusion 310 and recess 404 are configured, such that spout portion 108 and vessel portion 106 are sealably and (optionally) rotatably coupled together—e.g., in a snap-fit manner. FIG. 5 illustrates an alternative configuration of assembly 102, in which neck 112 includes a protrusion 502, which is received by a recess 504 within cap 118.
  • As illustrated in FIGS. 1, 4, and 5, neck 112 of vessel portion 106 also includes a capping ring 132. Capping ring 132 allows production equipment to hold and support vessel portion 106 during production, reduces tampering with system 100 by making it more difficult to remove spout portion 108 from vessel portion 106, and may act as a stop when spout portion 108 is attached to vessel portion 106, by preventing spout portion 106 from moving too far down neck 112 of vessel portion 106.
  • In accordance with additional embodiments of the invention, system 100 is formed by separately forming vessel portion 106 and spout portion 108, filling vessel portion 106 with material 104, and attaching spout portion 108 to vessel portion 106. Vessel portion 106 may be formed using a variety of techniques. By way of particular examples, vessel portion 106 is formed using blow-molding, injection-molding techniques, such that vessel portion 104 includes a relatively thin-walled vial section 110 and a relatively thick-walled neck 112. Vessel portion may alternatively be formed using extrusion blow-molding techniques.
  • Spout portion 108 can also be formed using a variety of techniques. By way of one example, spout portion 108 is formed using injection-molding techniques, such that cap 118 and elongated spout 120 are formed in a single process step. After portion 108 is formed, a portion of spout 120 is sealed to form sealed end 122 and another portion of spout 120 is scared to form weakened section 126. Sealed end 122 may be formed, for example, using heat, ultrasonic waves, a laser, or any combination of such techniques.
  • Once vessel portion 106 and/or spout portion 108 are formed, information may be printed on the respective portion, using ink jet, silk screen, paper label, a shrink band, or similar techniques.
  • With reference to FIG. 6, in accordance with another exemplary embodiment, a container 600 includes an expulsion portion 602 that can comprise a plastic-type, cylinder or tube-like structure 602A that suitably encloses a composition and can be squeezed or otherwise forced for expulsing composition into an applicator portion 604. For example, a tube-like structure can be easily gripped with the fingers or hand and squeezed to force any composition within to be transferred into applicator portion 604.
  • While expulsion portion 602 can suitably comprise a cylinder or tube-like shape 602A, expulsion portion 602 can also comprise a rectangular shape, a substantially flat-like shape, e.g., that similar to a hot water bottle, or any other shape that can contain or store a composition and allow for the expulsion of the composition by a force. In addition, while such a force can be suitably applied on an exterior of expulsion portion 602, e.g., similar to “squeezing” a tube of toothpaste approximate a center-section or on one end and rolling or collapsing the tube, such an expulsion force can also be realized by urging a plunger-like device against, e.g., much like a syringe, or any other like manner wherein the amount of force and/or the rate or expulsion or delivery into applicator portion 604 can be suitably controlled.
  • Container 600 can include an applicator portion 604 that is suitably molded in a unitary structure with expulsion portion 602. For example, container 600 can comprise an injection molded tube-like structure for portions 602 and 604. In accordance with other embodiments, applicator portion 604 can suitably comprise a separate component that is suitably screwed, press-fit, clamped or otherwise permanently, semi-permanently or removably attached to expulsion portion 602.
  • In accordance with an example of an embodiment, applicator portion 604 comprises a passive structure to allow a composition to be forced through an applicator tip 612 and onto a surface. For example, applicator portion 604 can comprise a semi-rigid or substantially rigid tube-like component 604A configured to allow composition to flow to applicator tip 612 upon an expulsion force being applied to expulsion component 602. In other embodiments, applicator portion 604 can also be configured as a less-rigid or otherwise expulsive component to allow for any remaining composition within applicator portion 604 to be suitably squeezed or otherwise delivered or applied by applicator tip 612 onto a surface.
  • Applicator tip 612 suitably comprises an opening at a discharge end of applicator 604 to allow for any composition to be discharged or otherwise delivered from the opening and applied to a surface. A composition can be discharged from applicator tip 612 and applied to surface, such as by tilting container 600. As such, the composition can be targeted for delivery onto a region at selected amounts and/or locations to achieve a desired treatment, while avoiding other areas of the oral cavity that composition is not to be applied or needed. In accordance with an example of an embodiment, applicator tip 612 can suitably comprise a similar shape or configuration to that of portion 604A, e.g., a tube structure; however, applicator tip 612 can also comprise a narrower or wider cross-sectional configuration. For example, tip 612 may include a disposable break-away portion, as is described in greater detail herein.
  • Referring to FIGS. 7A-7D, a system 700 in accordance with another embodiment is illustrated. System 700 is similar to system 600, except system 700 includes an angled spout portion 704 and an access/closure portion 706, can comprise a detachable device that suitably separates at a region 706A such that an applicator tip 712 is exposed. To gain access, a user can simply grip and detach, e.g., by pulling, bending, twisting and/or other like separating action, to remove access portion 706 from applicator portion 704. Access portion 706 can be completely detached and removed or discarded, or substantially detached such as by bending backwards to provide an opening and yet remain connected with at least some portion adjacent applicator tip 712.
  • In accordance with an example of an embodiment, access portion 706 can suitably comprise a tab component 708 configured to allow a user to simply grip and detach. Tab component 708 can comprise various shapes, thicknesses and sizes for facilitating easier removal of access portion 706 from applicator portion 704. Tab component 708 further comprises a closed end, i.e., without an opening or otherwise configured to facilitate a sealed closure of applicator portion 704. Having tab component 704 can making gripping of access portion 706 easier, although other examples of embodiments can be configured without tab component 708, such as access portion 706 having substantially the same shape, cross-sectional area and/or configuration of applicator portion 704.
  • In FIGS. 7A-7D, access portion 706 comprises a detachable component that remains detached, e.g., region 706A and applicator tip 712 are not made for re-attachment. Such embodiments may be desirable for single or other short term uses. In accordance with other examples of embodiments, access portion 706 can comprise a re-attachable configuration in which a detached region can be suitably screwed, clamped, press-fit or otherwise re-attached to applicator portion 704, such as to enable re-use over a period of days. In addition, to prevent misplacement after detaching or opening, access portion 706 can comprise a strap portion that surrounds or is otherwise attached to applicator portion 704 or any other part of container 700 that allows for access portion 704 to be suitably found and used to reseal or close applicator portion 704 after use.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 8A and 8B, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment a kit 800 includes an application tray 850 and a plurality of containers. The kit may include any suitable number or supply of containers. In the illustrated embodiment, kit 800 includes a two-week daily supply of containers 804, each such container 804 suitably stored or maintained within a plurality of compartments 852. The size and shape of compartments 852 can be configured in various arrangements, e.g., square or rectangular, circular or other like shapes, to suitably contain containers 804 within during transporting or other uses of application tray 850. In addition, application tray 850, including compartments 852, can comprise various materials, such as paperboard, plastics, thin-alloys, fiberglass, or other composites, or any combination of materials thereof, for providing the storage functions.
  • To further secure containers 804 within application tray 850, in accordance with an example of an embodiment, each compartment 852 can be configured with an opening, e.g., the spacing between compartment sides 852A, only slightly larger than an outer circumference or perimeter of containers 804 to facilitate a snug or tight fit when containers 804 are placed within compartments 852. In accordance with another example of an embodiment, each compartment 852 can also comprise a carved-out, bottom portion having a shape substantially conforming to a bottom shape of containers 804 to facilitate a snug or otherwise secure fit within compartments 852. Such carved-out bottom portions can comprise various paperboard, plastics, e.g., Styrofoam, or other like composites capable of providing a substantially conforming shape with containers 804.
  • To facilitate tracking of usage of containers 804, an example of an application tray 850 can be configured for identifying and displaying a prescribed period for systematic application of containers to facilitate compliance with a prescribed treatment plan. For example, in accordance with the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 8A, application tray 850 can comprise one or more period indicators 854A and 854B, e.g., a first week and a second week of a two-week supply, as well as single-dose container indicators 856, e.g., the days of the week. Thus, for example, for a two-week supply of single-dose containers 804 prescribed for daily use, a user can simply retrieve a single container 804 beginning on the first day of the week, i.e., Sunday, and selectively apply to a targeted area of an oral cavity interface, and discard that container 804 after use, followed by retrieval, application and use of remaining containers 804 as the weeks progress until the two-week supply is exhausted.
  • While the application tray 850 illustrated in FIGS. 8A and 8B comprises a two-week supply, shorter or longer periods of treatment and/or shorter or longer time periods between applications of containers 804 can also be provided within application trays 850. For example, application tray 850 can be configured to store and maintain a one-week supply, a month supply, three-month supply, or a year-supply, or any other shorter or longer prescribed periods depending on the prescribed treatment plan. In addition, the time period between prescribed uses of containers 804 can be configured for a morning and an evening/nighttime use, e.g., a.m. and p.m. indicators 856, or over periods of every one, two or three days or longer. In accordance with an example of an embodiment, application trays 850 can be configured for stacking, e.g., with a top cover surrounding containers 804 and/or with sides 852 extending to a height at least as long as the vertical length of containers 804. Such application trays 850 can be configured for discarding after use of all containers 804 within, or for restocking with new containers 804 ready for selective application of composition.
  • In an example of an embodiment, application tray 850 provides an integrated recordation device for further tracking usage of a plurality of containers 804, for example, to determine how many containers 804 have been used within a prescribed period of treatment, e.g., within two-week periods 854A and 854B, and/or how many containers 804 are remaining to be used within the prescribed period, e.g., indicators 856 can indicate that three containers 856 have been used, and that four days of containers 804 are remaining. A recordation device can also comprise a separate component, for example, an information and/or recordation display card that can be suitably folded or otherwise inserted within or coupled to application tray 850 that allows a user to mark-off, e.g., with a writing instrument or through puncture of use indicators configured within the display card.
  • Regardless of whether integrated within an application tray or comprising a separate component, a recordation device can also comprise other related information about a composition and/or a prescribed treatment plan. For example, information regarding the expiration or expectancy of effective use of composition 104 can be suitably configured on application tray 850 or otherwise on a separate display card, as well as a summary or detailed explanation of the prescribed treatment plan and/or instructions on how to selectively apply composition 104 depending on the target area of an oral cavity interface.
  • Referring to FIG. 9, as well as continuing reference to FIGS. 7A-7D, a method 900 of facilitating and maintaining oral health care through regular applications of oral compositions can include providing prescribed dosages of any composition within a plurality of containers (902), retrieving a single container and accessing a composition within the container (904), and selectively applying a composition to a surface and discarding of used container (906).
  • Providing prescribed dosages of a composition within a plurality of containers can comprise any method now known or hereinafter devised for filling containers with a substantially liquid or other like composition. For example, composition 104 can be suitably filled in one end of container 702 and then sealed to maintain composition 104 within container 702. In addition, providing composition 104 within container 702 can include providing a single and/or daily dose of composition 104, or multiple doses of composition 104.
  • Retrieving a single container 702 and accessing composition 104 within the container 102 may include retrieval from a storage system and removal of an access or closure device or component from container 702. For example, in accordance with an example of an embodiment, retrieval from a storage system can comprise retrieval from an application tray 850, while accessing composition 104 within container 702 comprises detachably removing of an access component, e.g., access portion 706, to provide an applicator tip.
  • Selectively applying composition 104 to an oral cavity interface and discarding of used container 702 can suitably comprise expulsing or otherwise forcing or delivering composition 104 from a storage portion to an applicator portion of container 702. For example, in accordance with an example of an embodiment, composition 104 can be “squeezed” from an expulsion portion, such as expulsion portion 712, into an applicator portion, such as 704, through an applicator tip, such as 704 and onto a targeted region of oral cavity interface. In accordance with another example of an embodiment, applying with an applicator portion 704 can be realized through an angled portion configured to facilitate targeted placement of composition 104. After such use, a container 702 can be suitably discarded and a next prescribed use can be initiated with a new, filled container 702. As a result, regular and/or systematic use systems described herein at one or more target regions can result in improved oral health.
  • As noted above, systems in accordance with the invention include material e.g., material 104 within an assembly—e.g., assembly 102. In accordance with various exemplary embodiments of the invention, material 104 includes an active ingredient, such as an active oral care ingredient. As explained in greater detail below, exemplary material 104 is designed to maintain the active ingredient in contact with a surface for an extended period of time to allow the active ingredient(s) to stay in contact with possibly affected areas on the surface.
  • In accordance with various aspects of this embodiment, the active ingredients include one or more of the following: cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), dicalcium phosphate dehydrate, hydrogen peroxide, sanguinaria extract, sodium bicarbonate, sodium lauryl sulfate, stannous fluoride, zinc salts such as zinc chloride, zinc acetate, zinc citrate, and zinc gluconate, zinc oxide, alkyl dimethyl amine oxide, alkyl dimethyl glycine, eucalyptol, menthol, methyl salicylate, thymol, sodium citrate, peppermint oil, sage oil, polymethylsiloxane, polxamer, and stannous pyrophosphate.
  • An amount of the active ingredient varies in accordance with the dosage size and particular ingredient. In accordance with particular examples, an active ingredient is present in an amount of about 0.001 wt % to about 1.5 wt %, preferably about 0.025 wt % to about 1.0 wt %, and more preferably, about 0.05 wt % to about 0.7 wt %. All percentages set forth herein are in weight percent of the total material, unless otherwise indicated.
  • In accordance with particular examples of this exemplary embodiment of the invention, the active ingredient includes CPC. In this case, the CPC is present in an amount of about 0.001% to about 1%, preferably about 0.01% to about 0.5%, and more preferably about 0.05% to about 0.25% or about 0.045% to about 0.10%.
  • In accordance with other examples, the active ingredient includes zinc gluconate. In this case, the zinc gluconate is present in an amount of about 0.001% to about 1.5%, preferably about 0.01% to about 1.0%, and more preferably about 0.05% to about 0.75%.
  • In accordance with further aspects, the material includes a thickener to obtain the desired viscosity. Suitable thickening agents include substances which increases the viscosity of the material, cause the material to gel or coagulate, or the like, such as food-grade or pharmaceutical grade thickeners, including, for example, hydroxyethylcellulose, glycerin, carrageenan, guar gum, methylcellulose, methyethylecellulose, aloe vera, and the like. The thickener is present in an amount of about 0.01 to about 10%, preferably about 0.1 to about 7%, and more preferably about 1% to about 5% or about 0.5% to about 3%.
  • The material may also include a humectant such a glycerin, which may be present in an amount of about 0.01% to about 15%, preferably about 0.1% to about 10%, and more preferably about 1 to about 7%. When used, the humectant may facilitate maintaining the material in a liquid form and may help maintain a desired viscosity of the material. In addition, glycerin may facilitate maintaining one or more of the active ingredients in an ionic form and may facilitate the transport of the active ingredients through the material.
  • The composition may also include a diluent. Exemplary diluents suitable for use with the present composition include Sorbitol, Xylitol, Mannitol, water, alcohols, and oils. In accordance with particular examples of the invention, the composition includes purified water in an amount of about 80% to about 99%, preferably about 85% to about 95%, and more preferably about 88% to about 92%.
  • Composition 104 may also include sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and xylitol, monnital, lactitol, and the like that act as a sweetener and also as a humectant and/or emulsifier. When used, sorbitol or other sugar alcohol can be present in an amount of about 0.001% to about 0.5%, in an amount of about 0.01% to about 0.1%, or even in an amount of about 0.025% to about 0.075%. Compositions in accordance with the invention may alternatively includes a greater percentage of sugar alcohol(s).
  • Composition 104 may also include a natural or artificial sweetener such as Magnasweet, cyclamates, sucralose, saccharin (e.g., sodium or calcium), ace-k, or aspartame which, when included in composition 104, can be present in an amount of about 0.001% to about 1.5%, in an amount of about 0.01% to about 1%, or even in an amount of about 0.25% to about 0.75%.
  • Colorants may also be added to the material as desired. In accordance with various aspects, the material includes colorants, such that when the material is applied to or proximate the gingiva, the material has a color indicative of healthy gingiva—i.e., the material is pink in color. Providing a material having a color indicative of healthy gingiva provides added incentive to users to continue using the material, which in turn promotes measurable improvement in oral health indices. Additionally or alternatively, colorants, which are indicative of flavor may be added to the composition. Examples include FD&C Blue #1, D&C Green #5, FD&C Yellow #5, and FD&C Yellow #6.
  • The material also optionally includes flavorants such as cinnamon bark oil, clove bud oil, mint flavorings, citrus flavorings, and the like. By way of one particular example, a material includes cinnamon bark oil present in an about of about 0.001% to about 2%, preferably about 0.01% to about 1%, and more preferably about 0.1% to about 0.5%; and clove bud oil in an amount of about 0.001% to about 2%, preferably about 0.002% to about 1%, and more preferably about 0.003% to about 0.0075%.
  • The viscosity of the material is configured to maintain the material in contact with a surface for an extended period of time, which has several advantages over traditional materials used to promote oral health. For example, because the material is viscous and “sticks” to a surface to which it is applied, relatively small amounts of the material and consequently the active agent(s) can be used to effectively prevent or remove plaque and/or tartar buildup on a surface. This is advantageous, not only from an economic viewpoint, but it also reduces an amount of the material that may be ingested. Additionally, the viscosity of the material enables easy delivery of the material from its container, while also facilitating maintaining the material in contact particular areas within an oral cavity, such as the crevices within teeth and between the teeth and gingiva. In accordance with further embodiments of the invention, the viscosity is low enough to allow application of the material to desired locations within the oral cavity.
  • Exemplary materials have a viscosity greater than about 20,000 cp, preferably greater than 30,000 cp, and more preferably greater than about 35,000 cp. By way of more particular examples, the viscosity of materials range from about 20,000 to about 250,000 cp, preferably about 25,000 to about 100,000, and more preferably about 30,000 to about 50,000 cp, and yet more preferably about 35,000 to about 45,000 cp. The viscosity values as set forth herein are measured at 77 F (25 C) using Spindle #6 at 10 RPM using a Brookfield, Model DV-II+ Pro, spindle # 6, 10 RPM for 90 seconds at 25 C.
  • By way of example, a material in accordance with this embodiment of the invention includes CPC and zinc gluconate as the active ingredients and hydroxyethylcellulose as the thickener. In one case, the CPC is present in an amount of about 0.001% to about 1%, preferably about 0.01% to about 0.5%, and more preferably about 0.05% to about 0.25% or about 0.045% to about 0.1%; the zinc gluconate is present in an amount of about 0.001% to about 1.5%, preferably about 0.01% to about 1.0%, and more preferably about 0.05% to about 0.75%; and the hydroxyethylcellulose is present in an amount of an amount of about 0.01 to about 10%, preferably about 0.1 to about 7%, and more preferably about 1% to about 5%.
  • The present invention has been described above with reference to examples of embodiments. Changes and modifications may be made to the embodiments without departing from the scope of the invention. For instance, some embodiments of the present invention have been described in connection with snap-fit connections. However, other techniques, such as tread and lug techniques, for connecting sections of an example of an assembly are also within the scope of the invention. Further, any element of an embodiment discussed above may be combined in any manner with any other element of any other embodiment discussed above. These and other changes or modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the present invention.

Claims (17)

1. An assembly for storing and dispensing material, the assembly comprising:
a vessel portion including a deformable vial section, a sealed end, and a neck section; and
a spout portion having a cap and a spout extending from the cap, the spout having a first end fluidly coupled to the cap and a sealed end distal the first end, the spout portion further including a first protrusion extending from an interior surface of the cap,
wherein the first protrusion and a top surface of the neck section form a seal between the vessel portion and the spout portion, and wherein the seal remains substantially in tack as spout portion rotates about an axis.
2. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the cap includes a second protrusion and the neck includes a recess for receiving the second protrusion.
3. The assembly of claim 2, wherein the first protrusion is angled downward relative to a top surface of the cap.
4. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the vessel portion further comprises a capping ring.
5. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the vessel portion further comprises a transition portion spanning between the vial section and the neck.
6. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the elongated spout forms an angle between about 0 and about 80 degrees relative to the axis.
7. The assembly of claim 6, wherein the angle is about 40 to about 55 degrees.
8. The assembly of claim 6, wherein the angle is about 48 degrees.
9. A system comprising:
an assembly for storing and dispensing material, the assembly comprising:
a resilient vessel portion including a deformable vial section, a sealed end, and a neck section; and
a spout portion having a cap and an elongated spout extending from the cap, the spout having a first end coupled to the cap and a sealed end distal the first end,
wherein the vessel portion is rotatably coupled to the spout portion, such that the spout can rotate about an axis while maintaining a seal between the vessel portion and the spout portion; and
a dispensable material sealed within the vessel.
10. An assembly for storing and dispensing material, the assembly comprising:
a vessel portion including a vial section, a sealed end, and an open neck section; and
a spout portion having a cap and an elongated spout extending from the cap, the spout having a first end coupled to the cap and a sealed end distal the first end,
wherein one of the neck and the cap include a first protrusion and the other of the neck and cap include a recess for receiving the first protrusion, such that the vessel portion is detachably coupled to the spout portion.
11. The assembly of claim 10, wherein the first protrusion forms a ring on an interior surface of the cap.
12. The assembly of claim 10, wherein the cap further includes a second protrusion located on an interior surface of the cap, wherein the second protrusion forms a seal between the neck and the cap.
13. The assembly of claim 10, wherein the vessel portion further comprises a capping ring.
14. The assembly of claim 10, wherein the vessel portion further comprises a transition portion spanning between the vial section and the neck.
15. The assembly of claim 10, wherein the elongated spout forms an angle between about 0 and about 80 degrees relative to an axis running through a center of the vial.
16. The assembly of claim 15, wherein the angle is about 40 to about 55 degrees.
17. The assembly of claim 15, wherein the angle is about 48 degrees.
US11/749,140 2006-05-15 2007-05-15 Assemblies for dispensing material, systems and kits including the assemblies, and methods of using and forming same Abandoned US20080073350A1 (en)

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US20100035202A1 (en) 2010-02-11
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