WO2003020076A1 - Dentition cleaning device and system - Google Patents

Dentition cleaning device and system Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2003020076A1
WO2003020076A1 PCT/US2001/041944 US0141944W WO03020076A1 WO 2003020076 A1 WO2003020076 A1 WO 2003020076A1 US 0141944 W US0141944 W US 0141944W WO 03020076 A1 WO03020076 A1 WO 03020076A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
squeegee
cleaning
section
device
protruding
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2001/041944
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
James A. Gavney
Gregory L. Keaton
Original Assignee
Gavney James A
Keaton Gregory L
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Gavney James A, Keaton Gregory L filed Critical Gavney James A
Priority to PCT/US2001/041944 priority Critical patent/WO2003020076A1/en
Publication of WO2003020076A1 publication Critical patent/WO2003020076A1/en

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Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A46BRUSHWARE
    • A46BBRUSHES
    • A46B9/00Arrangements of the bristles in the brush body
    • A46B9/005Arrangements of the bristles in the brush body where the brushing material is not made of bristles, e.g. sponge, rubber or paper

Abstract

A cleaning device, system and method is disclosed that is preferably an oral-care appliance for cleaning teeth and gums. The oral-care appliance is configured with squeegees having protruding squeegee edges, which preferably from squeegee compartments. The appliance can be configured with or without bristles. The squeegee edges provide efficient contact with teeth and gums without causing abrasion, while the squeegee compartments provide for the distribution and application of an oral cleaning material or medication.

Description

DENTITION CLEANING DEVICE AND SYSTEM

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally contact appliances for applying materials to surfaces and for cleaning surfaces. More specifically, the invention relates contact devices with squeegees for applying materials to surfaces and for cleaning surfaces.

BACKGROUND

While there are clearly many options when choosing a cleaning system, medium or device for a particular cleaning task, many of the devices and systems fall short of an ideal cleaning device or system, even when they are used for their intended application. In particular none of the prior art cleaning devices are optimized for cleaning a surface where the surface is soiled with a soft residue which is strongly adhered to the surface.

A dish brush, when used in combination with soapy water, generally does not clean dishes, pots or pan efficiently if a food residue is strongly adhered to the surface of the dish, pot or pan. This is primarily because the brush itself does not provide for a high degree of surface contact and relies on the soap suds and scrubbing convection to remove the food residue.

While sponges typically provide for high surface contact, they are typically hand-held and usually require the operator's hands to become immersed in the cleaning solution. Also, sponges retain moisture and tend to become irreparably soiled and stained by residue making them highly unattractive and repugnant. A souring pad (such as a steel wool pad) can provide for high surface contact but suffer from all of the shortcomings of a sponge. Further, scouring pads often scratch or destroy the surface being cleaned.

A toothbrush fails to effectively clean dentition because the bristles provide for little surface contact, as described above. Plaque, while relatively soft, has low solubility in water and strongly adheres to enamel surfaces of the teeth and thus is not readily removed through bush convection. Further, toothbrushes have a propensity to retain water and material that is removed from the teeth providing an excellent environment for the growth and the cultivation of bacteria, germs and the like. Further, excessive or even recommended use of a toothbrush can advance gum or gingival recession. Although the connection between toothbrushes and receding gums has been documented for over half a century, progress in the field of dentition cleaning devices designed to reduce the advancement of gum recession has been tortuously slow.

There have been several attempts to improve oral hygiene by providing cleaning devices that help remove plaque from the tongue, gums and palate. For example, Nezjak describes an oral hygiene brush in U.S. Pat. No. 4,610,043 that comprises a toothbrush and a rigid plaque scraper mounted on the side of the toothbrush head. The plaque scraper is engineered for removing plaque from the tongue, and Nezjak's device requires that a toothbrush still be used for cleaning teeth. Herrera, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,032,082 discloses a device for removing denture adhesive from the palate. The device comprises a head that has several lines of projections extending from a common surface. The projections are made of a material whose flexibility is temperature dependent, so that submerging the projections in hot water makes them more pliable, and placing them in cold water makes them more rigid. This device is tailored toward removing adhesives from the mouth, and cannot effectively clean teeth. Tveras, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,810,856 discloses an oral scraping device having at least one wiping element. Each wiping element is flexible, and has at least one scoop-like side that terminates with a wiping edge in an undercutting fashion. This device is designed for scraping the tongue, and in the preferred embodiment, is mounted on a toothbrush handle on the end opposite the toothbrush head. Thus, using the device of Tveras, teeth must still be cleaned with a toothbrush.

In U.S. Pat. No. 6,067,684 Kweon describes a "Toothbrush" with silicon rubber bristles. The bristles are plate-shaped bristles arranged in parallel and preferably in two rows. The rows of plate-shaped bristles form a gap which allows for simultaneous polishing of the inside and the outside of teeth. The toothbrush taught by Kweon lacks the appropriate construction to effectively clean gums or to efficiently distribution and/or apply a oral cleaning fluid throughout the dentition during a cleaning operation.

What is needed is an efficient contact cleaning device and system that provides an alternative to bristles devices and systems. More importantly what is needed is an device and system for cleaning teeth and gums without causing significant abrasion to the surrounding gum tissue and which is capable or being used with a variety of oral clean materials and/or medications including liquid oral clean materials and medications. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention is directed to a device, system and method which utilize wiping sections with elongated squeegees. The elongated squeegee comprise a first squeegee edge which protruding in at least one protruding direction and which preferably boundaries an inner squeegee region. The wiping sections utilized in the instant invention are configured to permanently or detachably couple to an elongated handles that extend in directions that are non-parallel to the at least one protruding direction of the squeegee edge

The device preferably has a plurality of protruding squeegee edges that extend from within the inner squeegee region to form a plurality of squeegee compartments. In accordance with an embodiment of the invention one of more of the squeegee edges are adjoined. The squeegee walls and/or squeegee edges can also be contoured

The wiping section are preferably configured to couple to elongated handles through attaching portions with attaching surfaces. The attaching portions of the handles can be contoured or shaped in any number of ways and formed from any materiels suitable for the application at hand, including materials that are the same or different than the materials use to form the wiping section. In accordance with an embodiment of the instant invention the device also comprising a bristle section, a sponge section and/or a scouring section. In further embodiments, the wiping section further comprises a bristle section, a sponge section and/or a scouring section protruding from the inner squeegee region of the wiping section.

The elongated squeegees utilized in the instant invention are preferably formed from a resilient polymeric material such as silicone, rubber, latex, poly-urethane or any combination thereof and preferably have hardnesses values in a range of 10 to 90 Shore A.

The device and system of the instant invention are configured to apply material to surface and preferably clean surfaces. Preferably, the device and system of the instant invention are configured to clean teeth and gums with a oral cleaning material. The material is preferably a fluid material, but can also be a powder. Most preferably the fluid material is a liquid or a liquid suspension with a viscosity in a range of 1.0 to 250,000 centi-poise (Cp) at 20 degrees Celsius. The material can be applied to the surfaces of teeth and gums by directing the material into the squeegee compartments and or channels of the wiping section and contacting surfaces of the teeth and gums with squeegee edges such that the material is expelled from the squeegee compartments and or channels and onto the surfaces of teeth and gums. The material is directed into the squeegee compartments and/or channels from an external source or alternatively, is directed into the squeegee compartments and/or channels through apertures between squeegee walls of the wiping section. In accordance with this embodiment, the material is preferably direct into the compartments and/or channels apertures that couple to a materials source through the handle portion.

The device of the instant invention is preferably made by forming a elongated handle made from a suitable plastic material and which extends in an elongated direction. The handle is placed within a co-molding fixtures or tree configured to mold the wiping section on to the attaching surface(s) of the handle. A suitable molding material is injected into the molding fixture or tree, thereby molding the wiping section onto the attaching section(s) of the handle.

The attaching section(s) of the handle can be configured with anchoring holes and/or a modified attachment surface(s) to help secure the molded wiping section to the handle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

Fig. la-c show a device with a wiping section in accordance with the instant invention.

Fig. 2a-b show a dentition cleaning device with a squeegee configuration comprising bristle in accordance with the instant invention. Figs. 3a-o show a top perspective views of several squeegee configurations in accordance with the current invention.

Figs. 4a-d show several top perspective views of squeegee configurations that have directionally dependent squeegee cleaning action.

Figs. 5a-d show several squeegee configurations with bristle sections incorporated. Figs. 6a-d show cross-sectional view of squeegees with continuous squeegees walls protruding from a single squeegee member.

Figs. 7a-f show several squeegee segments with contoured cleaning edges used in the dentition cleaning system and device of the current invention.

Figs. 8a-f show several squeegee segments with contoured or modified squeegee walls used in the dentition cleaning system and device of the current invention.

Figs. 9a-b illustrate a perspective view and a top perspective view of a continuos squeegee member with contoured squeegee walls and a contoured squeegee cleaning edge.

Fig. 10 illustrates a motorized rechargeable dentition cleaning device in accordance with the current invention. Figs. 1 la-d show perspective views of a dentition cleaning head according to a preferred embodiment of the current invention.

Fig. 12 illustrates a perspective view of a manual hand held dentition cleaning device according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. Figs. 13a-b illustrate a dentition cleaning system with a hand held dentition cleaning device and a low viscosity dentition cleaning solution that is deliverable through a container equipped with a pump.

Figs. 14a-b illustrate a dentition cleaning device with a removable seal according to an embodiment of the current invention. Figs. 15a-b illustrate the cleaning head portion of a cleaning device with a cavity and apertures for delivering cleaning solution to the cleaning head.

Figs. 16a-b illustrate cross-sectional views of squeegee configurations that provide for primary squeegee cleaning in a plurality of non-coincident wiping planes.

Fig. 17a-b illustrate squeegee configuration with squeegee compartments that provide rotational squeegee wiping.

Fig. 18 illustrate device with a wiping section for applying materials onto surfaces or for cleaning surfaces, in accordance with the instant invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION The current invention utilizes elongated squeegees in the numerous configurations described below to provide an effective applicator and/or cleaning device. The elongated squeegees are preferably made from a soft flexible, pliable or malleable material such as rubber, latex, urethane, silicone and the like. The flexibility, pliability or malleability of the squeegees are preferably in a range of 10 to 90 Shores A and more in a range of 15 to 50 Shore A durometers as determined by a method described in Document ASTM D2240-00, Developed by the American Society for Testing Materials, entitled "Standard Test Method for Rubber Property-Durometer Hardness", the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference. The dimensions of the squeegees can vary in the numerous ways described below but preferably protrude from a support surface by an average distance of 0.1 to 3.0 cm in the squeegee protruding direction. Further, while the squeegee wall thickness can vary at any point between the squeegee walls, the squeegee wall thicknesses are preferably within the range of 0.1 to 5.0 mm.

For descriptive purposes squeegees are classified as the following: squeegee segments have at least two terminus ends; continuos squeegees have no ends; and squeegee networks have squeegee walls that are shared by one or more adjacent squeegee enclosures or compartments. Squeegees can also have a single terminus end, wherein the squeegee forms and squeegee enclosure or compartment, but does not connect end-to-end.

Figs, la-c show views of an exemplary device 10, in accordance with the current invention. The device 10 comprise a wiping section 15. The wiping section 15 has an elongated squeegee element 20. The elongated squeegee element 20 protrudes in at least one protruding direction 22. The elongated squeegee element 20 preferably protrudes with a continuous squeegee edge 17 that boundaries an inner squeegee region 24. The wiping section 15 also preferably comprises a second squeegee edge 21 protruding from within the inner squeegee region 24. The second squeegee edge 21 preferably protrudes in a direction similar to the protruding direction 22 of the squeegee element 20.

Preferably, the elongated squeegee element 20 protrudes from an attaching member 13 with attaching surfaces 28 and 29. The wiping section 15 is permanently attached to the attaching surface 28 or, alternatively, is configured to detachably couple to the attaching surface 28 through snap features, clips features, hook-loop fabrics or any other suitable attachment means.

The wiping section 15 is configured to couple to an elongated handle 11 configured to extend in at least one direction 23 that is non-parallel with the protruding direction 22. The wiping section 15 is configured to coupled to the handle 11 through an attaching member 13, as shown in Figs, la-c, or is configured to couple through an attaching surface(s) that is integral with the handle 11, as described in detail below. According to an embodiment of the invention, the wiping section 15 is configured to couple to the handle 11 through one or more hinge elements 19, that connect the attaching section 13 to the handle 11, wherein the one or more hinge elements 19 allows the handle 11 to assume a range of directions 23.

The wiping section 15, and the support member 13 can be configured to have any number of sizes and shapes. Further, the wiping section 15 and the attaching section 13 can be contoured for wiping curved or contoured surfaces, as described in detail below.

In further embodiments of the invention, the first squeegee edge 17 the second squeegee edge 21 are adjoined to form the squeegee compartments 25 and 27. In yet further embodiments of the instant invention, a second squeegee edge 12 is continuous and protrudes from the inner squeegee region 24, wherein the squeegee edge 17 and 12 form a squeegee channel 27. In still further embodiments of the instant invention, the wiping section 15 further comprises a cleaning section 14 protruding within the inner squeegee region 24, wherein the cleaning section 14 is a bristle section, a sponge section, a scouring section or any combination thereof. The device 10 can also be configured with a second wiping section 16 which comprises a squeegee section, a bristle section, a sponge section or any combination thereof. The second wiping section 16 can be permanently attached to the attaching surface 29 of the attaching section 13 or, alternatively, can be configured to detachably couple to the attaching surface 29 of the attaching section 13 through snap features, clip features, loop-hook fabrics or any other suitable attachment means.

The device 10 of the instant invention is configured to apply material to a surface and preferably clean the surface. Preferably, the device is configured to clean teeth and gums with a oral cleaning material. In accordance with an embodiment of the invention the attaching section 13 is configured with one or more aperture 30 positioned within the inner squeegee region 24 through which the material is directed into the squeegee compartment 27, such as described in detail below.

Figs. 2a-b shows a perspective view of a dentition cleaning device 100 that has a handle portion 101 and a dentition squeegee cleaning portion 102 in accordance with the present invention. The dentition cleaning device 100 preferably has a squeegee cleaning portion 102 with squeegee members 107 and 109 which protrude from a support section 103 of the handle 101. A continuous squeegee member 105 forma an inner squeegee region and preferably encircles the squeegee segments 107 and 109. Within the inner region of the continuous squeegee member 105, a plurality of bristle sections 111 preferably also protruding from the support section 103 of the handle 101. The bristle sections 111 are preferably inter-dispersed between the squeegee members 107 and 109.

Figs. 3a-o illustrate top perspective views of several alternative squeegee configurations that provide for a plurality of primary squeegee directions. Fig. 3a shows a squeegee configuration 200 with two elongated squeegee members 199/201 that protrude from a support member 21. Because the squeegee members 199/201 are positioned in an angled fashion, the squeegee configuration 200 provides for two primary squeegee directions that are substantially normal to the two corresponding elongation directions of the squeegee members 199 and 201. Fig. 3b shows a squeegee configurations 202 with a plurality of linear squeegee segment members 203/205 positioned at alternating angles and protruding from several positions of a support member 23. Fig. 3c illustrates a squeegee configuration 204 with a curved elongated squeegee member 207 that protrudes from a support member 25. The curved or cupped squeegee configuration 204 provides for primary squeegee directions all directions of a plane substantially containing the squeegee member 207 elongation directions. However, the squeegee configuration 204 does not provide for equal squeegee actions in all directions, because the squeegee member 207 will squeegee a surface twice each time the squeegee member 207 is moved with a sideways cleaning motion, but will squeegee a surface once for each up or down cleaning motion. Thus, the squeegee configuration 204 provides for a plurality of directionally dependent primary squeegee directions. Fig. 3d illustrates a squeegee configuration 206 with several cupped squeegee members 209/211 that protrude from a support member 27 with the squeegee members 209 and 211 cupped in opposite directions. Fig. 3e shows a squeegee configuration 208 with a continuous circular squeegee member 213 protruding from a support member 22. The continuous circular squeegee member 213 forms an inner squeegee region 232 and an outer squeegee region 234. Like the cupped squeegee configuration 204, the squeegee configuration 208 provides for primary squeegee directions in all directions of a plane substantially parallel to the elongation directions of the circular squeegee member 213. However, the circular squeegee configuration provides for a plurality of directionally independent primary squeegee directions. Fig. 3f illustrates a squeegee configuration 210 with several continuos circular squeegee members 215, 217 and 219 protruding from a support member 24 that form a concentric set of squeegees with continuous circular channels

236 and 236'. The set of concentric continuous circular squeegee members provide for a plurality of primary squeegee directions in all directions of a plane substantially normal to the squeegee elongation directions. Fig. 3g shows a squeegee configuration 212 with a spiraling squeegee member 221 protruding from a squeegee support member 26. The spiraling squeegee member 221 forms a spiraling squeegee channel 238 and provides for a plurality of primary squeegee directions in all directions of a plane substantially normal to the squeegee elongation directions. Fig. 3h shows a squeegee configuration 214 with a plurality of spiraling squeegee members, such as 223 and 225 protruding from a squeegee support member 28 to provide a plurality of primary squeegee directions in all directions of a plane substantially normal to the squeegee elongation directions. Fig. 3i also shows a squeegee configuration 216 with a spiraling squeegee member 227 protruding from a squeegee support member 32. The squeegee member 227 spirals in a substantially rectangular fashion and forms a rectangular-like squeegee channel 240. The squeegee configuration 216 provides for directionally dependent squeegee action, wherein a diagonal cleaning motion will give a different squeegee action than a sideways or up and down cleaning motion. Fig. 3j and Fig. 3k illustrate squeegee configurations 218 and 220 that have squeegee segments protruding from squeegee support members 34 and 36, respectively, where the squeegee segments are positioned at varying angles on the squeegee support members 34/36. Fig. 3j shows linear squeegee segments 229 and 231 positioned at or near to right angles relative to each other and forming a rectangular segmented squeegee configuration 218. Fig. 3k shows squeegee configuration 220 comprising squeegee segments 235 that are positioned within an inner squeegee region of a larger circular squeegee member 233. Fig. 31 and Fig. 3m illustrate yet other squeegee configurations 222 and 224 that have squeegee members protruding from squeegee support members 38 and 42. In Fig. 31 the squeegee configuration 222 has cross-type squeegee segments 237. The squeegee configuration 222 can also have a major squeegee member 239, wherein the major squeegee member 239 comprises a long squeegee segment 243 intersected short squeegee segments 241 that are positioned at near to right angles relative to the long squeegee segment 243. The squeegee configuration 224 of Fig. 3m has a squiggling squeegee member 245 protruding from a squeegee support member 42 to provide several primary squeegee directions. Portions of squiggling squeegee member 245' is configured to enclose inner squeegee regions

247 and 247'. Squiggling squeegee 245" is configured to form a set of connected squeegee compartments 246, 246', 246"and 246'". In Fig. 3n and Fig. 3o, squeegees are configured to produce a variety of squeegee compartments. The squeegee configuration 226 illustrates a complex arrangement of squeegees that form scale-shaped squeegee compartments 249 within a circular squeegee 248 and with squeegees flaring out 251 from the circular squeegee

248 to add other cleaning features. The configuration 228 illustrates a continuos network of squeegee walls 255 that protrude from the support 46 and that forms an array of symmetrical squeegee compartments 253.

Figs. 4a-d illustrate several squeegee configurations that provide for directionally dependent squeegee action. Fig. 4a shows a squeegee configuration 300 with several circular squeegee members 303, 303' and 303" protruding from a circular squeegee support member 301. Within the inner squeegee region of the circular squeegee members 303, 303' and 303" are linear squeegee segments 305, 305' and 305", respectively. The linear squeegee segments 305, 305' and 305" only provide for primary squeegee actions when the squeegee configuration 300 is moved on a surface with an upward or a downward cleaning motion, as indicated by the arrow WI. The linear squeegee segments 305, 305' and 305" do not, however, provide primary squeegee actions when the squeegee configuration 300 is moved on the surface with a sideways cleaning motion, as indicated by the arrow W2. Fig. 4b illustrates an alternative squeegee configuration 302 that provides for directionally dependent primary squeegee action. Linear squeegee segments 306 are positioned in the squeegee channel 308 of a spiraling rectangular squeegee member 309. The squeegee segments 306 and the spiraling squeegee 309 protrude from a squeegee support member 307. In this example, the linear segments 306 provide for primary squeegee actions when the squeegee configuration 302 is moved on a surface with a sideways cleaning motion, as indicated by the arrow W2, but do provide for primary squeegee action when the squeegee configuration 302 is moved on the surface with an upward or a downward cleaning motion, as indicated by the arrow WI. Fig. 4c shows a squeegee configuration 304 with two non-concentrically positioned circular squeegee members 315 and 317 protruding from a circular squeegee support member 313. In the squeegee configuration 304, it is the non-uniform channel spacing 314 between the squeegee members 315 and 317 that provides for directionally dependent primary squeegee actions, wherein the number of squeegees edges that contact a surface by moving the squeegee configuration 304 in with a sideways cleaning motion, as indicated by the arrow W2, is different that the number of squeegee edges that contact the surface by moving the squeegee configuration 304 in a sideways cleaning motion, as indicated by the arrow W2. Fig. 4d shows a different squeegee configuration 306 that provides for directionally dependent squeegee action. The squeegee configuration 306 comprises two rectangular squeegee members 320 and 322. The longer squeegee walls 321 and 323 of the rectangular squeegees, 320 and 322, are thinner than the shorter squeegee walls, 319 and 325. In this way the primary squeegee action is made to be different by virtue of alternating squeegee wall thicknesses or physical properties of the squeegees 320 and 322. In this embodiment, the thicker squeegees 319 and 325 exhibit primary squeegee action by moving the squeegee configuration 306 in an upward or downward cleaning motion, as indicated by the arrow WI, but do not provide for primary cleaning action when the squeegee configuration 306 is moved in with a sideways cleaning motion, as indicated by the arrow W2. It will be clear to one skilled in the art that there are many alternative squeegee configurations that can provide for directionally dependent squeegee actions. These variations can be achieved by varying squeegee geometries, squeegee configurations, squeegee thickness, squeegee materials and combinations thereof.

Figs. 5a-d show top views of several dentition cleaning heads configured with squeegee sections and bristles. Fig. 5a shows a substantially rectangular cleaning head portion 400 with a spiraling rectangular squeegee 403 protruding from a rectangular support member 401. In the rectangular-like squeegee channel 404 there are several brush sections such as 405, 405' and 405" protruding from the surface 402. Fig. 5b illustrates an oval cleaning head configuration 410 with circular squeegee members 409, 409' and 409" protruding from the surface 414 of a circular support member 413. Within the inner squeegee region of the circular squeegee members 409, 409' and 409" there are bristles sections 411, 411' and 411". Fig. 5c shows an elongated cleaning head configuration 415 comprising squeegee segments such as 416 and 417 protruding from a rectangular support member 418 and forming a segmented rectangular squeegee configuration. Within the segmented rectangular squeegee configuration, there is a substantially rectangular brush section 419 protruding from the support member 415. Fig. 5d illustrates a cleaning head configuration 420 with a spiraling squeegee member 423 protruding from a circular support member 421 and forming a spiral channel 422. There are several medium ports 425, 425' and 425" positioned within the spiraling channel 422. The medium ports 425, 425' and 425" provide a means for directing a medium to dentition surfaces during cleaning or alternately for drawing a vacuum near a surface of dentition. The cleaning configuration 420 further includes a brush section 427 attached substantially central to the support member 421. The configuration 420 is particularly useful where a cleaning medium such water is required or where vacuum convection is needed to remove cleaning solutions, saliva and the like. The cleaning configuration 420 can also be configured to attached to a rotary device to provide a rotary cleaning action to the surfaces of dentition during a cleaning operation. It is clear that any of the cleaning head configurations described herein are adaptable to have ports or apertures through which oral cleaning solutions can be delivered or through which a vacuum can be drawn to facilitate cleaning of dentition.

Fig. 6a-d show cross-sectional views of several dentition cleaning head configurations with a squeegee member having continuos elongated squeegees. Fig. 6a shows a cross-sectional view of a dentition cleaning head 602 with a squeegee member 622 attached to a support 62. The squeegee member has four substantially circular protruding squeegee edges 619, 621, 623 and 625. Positioned substantially in the center of the squeegee member 622, is a brush section 620. Fig. 6b shows cross-sectional view of a dentition cleaning head 604 with a squeegee member 632 attached to a support 64. The squeegee member 632 has four substantially circular protruding squeegee edges 631, 633, 635 and 637. The protruding squeegee edges protrude in an alternating fashion with the cleaning edges of squeegees 633 and 637 protruding farther than the cleaning edges of squeegee 631 and 635. Positioned substantially in the center of the squeegee member 632 is a brush section 630. Fig. 6c shows cross-sectional view of a dentition cleaning head 606 with a squeegee member 642 attached to a support 66. The squeegee member 642 has four continuous protruding squeegees 641,

643, 645 and 647. The cleaning edges of the squeegees 641, 643, 645 and 647 protrude in a cascade fashion with the edge of squeegee 641 protruding farthest and the edge of squeegee 647 protruding the least. Positioned substantially in the center of the squeegee member 642 is a brush section 640. Fig. 6d shows a cross-sectional view of a dentition cleaning head 608 with a squeegee member 652 attached to a support 68. The squeegee member 652 has three continuous protruding squeegee edges 651, 653, and 655. The edges of the squeegees edges 651, 653, and 655 are spatially displaced such that the distance between the squeegees 651 and 653 is greater than the distance between the squeegees 653 and 655. The dentition cleaning head configuration 608 has two brush section 650 and 660. The brush section 650 is positioned substantially in the center squeegee member 652 while the brush section 660 is a continuos brush section that positioned in the squeegee channel defined by protruding squeegees 651 and 653.

All of the dentition cleaning heads detailed and described, herein can be configured to have bristles or bristle sections integrated into the cleaning head, attached to the squeegee members themselves or attached to another portion of the cleaning device. For some applications of the invention the combination of a squeegee or squeegees and bristles is preferred. In one embodiment of the invention a squeegee section encircle bristle sections or portions thereof to reduce potential contact of the bristles with soft gum tissue while messaging the gums during cleaning of the teeth.

Figs. 7a-f illustrate squeegee segments with contoured squeegee cleaning edges that are useful in the dentition cleaning device and system of the current invention. Fig. 7a shows a squeegee segment 75 with a planar protruding edge 76. Fig. 7b illustrates a squeegee segment 77 with a V-shaped cleaning edge 78; Fig. 7c illustrates a squeegee segment 79 with a curved, convex contoured cleaning edge 80; Fig. 7d shows a squeegee segment 81 with a concave contoured squeegee edge 82; Fig. 7e shows a squeegee segment 83 with a diagonally contoured cleaning edge 84; and Fig. 7f shows a squeegee segment 85 with a pointed cleaning edge 86.

Figs. 8a-f illustrate several squeegee segments with contoured squeegee walls. Fig. 8a illustrates a squeegee segment 170 with a planar protruding edge 171 and a concave squeegee wall 172; Fig. 8b illustrates a squeegee segment 173 with a planar pointed protruding edge 174 and tapered squeegee walls 175/184; Fig. 8c illustrates a squeegee segment 177 with a planar protruding edge 178 and concave V-shaped squeegee walls 179/180; Fig. 8d illustrates a squeegee segment 181 with a jagged protruding edge 182 and a grooved squeegee wall 183 grooved in the squeegee protruding direction; Fig. 8e illustrates a squeegee segment 184 with a planar cleaning edge 185 and walls 186/187, with smaller squeegees 188, 188' and 188" attached to the wall 187; and Fig. 8f shows a squeegee segment 189 with a planar cleaning edge 190 and planar squeegee walls 192/193 with bristles 194, 194' and 194" attached to and protruding from the squeegee wall 193.

Figs. 9a-b show a continuos squeegee with a contoured squeegee cleaning edge and contoured squeegee walls. Fig. 9a shows a perspective view of a substantially circular squeegee member 261 with a contoured protruding squeegee edge 262 and a contoured squeegee wall 263/264. The squeegee cleaning edged 262 and the squeegee walls 263/264 are contoured in a corrugated wave-like fashion. Fig. 9b shows a top view of the squeegee member 261 illustrating the corrugated wave-like contouring of the squeegee member walls 263/264.

Fig. 10 illustrates an electric dentition cleaning device 270 that utilizes a dentition squeegee cleaning head 271 according with a preferred embodiment of the invention. The dentition cleaning head 271 several continuos squeegee members positioned in a substantially concentric fashion wherein smaller squeegee members are positioned within the next larger squeegee element as shown. The dentition cleaning head 271 is attached to a body 272. The body 272 is attached to a motorized handle 273 that provides agitation to the cleaning head 271 through the body 272. The motorized handle 273 is preferably capable of being turned on and off through the switch 275 and is powered by an internal battery (not shown) that is rechargeable through the contacts 276 and 276' with a properly configured battery charger (also not shown).

Figs. 1 la-d illustrate several views of a dentition cleaning head configured according to a preferred embodiment of the current invention. Fig. 11a shows a top view of a dentition cleaning head 350. The dentition cleaning head has a base portion 353, a continuous outer squeegee member 351, two curved squeegee segments 355/355', and two oval squeegee members 357/359 with the smaller squeegee member 359 positioned concentrically within the inner squeegee region of the larger squeegee member 357. Fig. 1 lb illustrates a side view 370 of the squeegee cleaning head 350. The outer squeegee member 351 preferably extends farther from the base 353 than the inner squeegee members 355, 355', 357, and 359 and has a squeegee cleaning edge 356 that is contoured as shown. The contoured squeegee cleaning edge 356 facilitates the ability of the squeegee 351 to penetrate grooves of teeth and spaces between teeth. Further, its is believed that a contoured squeegee cleaning edge 356 will facilitate the ability of the squeegee 351 to penetrates spaces between the gum line and teeth during a cleaning operation. The cleaning head 350 may also have a cavity 363 to increase the flexibility of the dentition cleaning head 350. Fig. l ie illustrates a cross sectional view 380 of the cleaning head 350 shown in Fig 11a. All of the squeegee members 351, 355, 355', 357 and 359 preferably have tapering wall thicknesses, being thicker near the surface 373 and thinner near the cleaning edges. The length of the dentition cleaning head

368 is preferably in a range of 1.0 to 4.0 cm. The outer squeegees squeegee member 351 preferably does not protrude a distance 362 father than 1.5 cm from the bottom of the base support 353 or a distance 364 more than 1.0 cm from the inner surface 373. The tops of the squeegee cleaning edges are preferably less than 0.5 mm in thickness and most preferably less than 0.2 mm. The average separation 360 between adjacent squeegee members is preferably in the range of 1.0 cm to 0.05 cm and most preferably between 0.3 and 0.1 cm. However, the preferred separation 360 will vary depending on the cleaning solution used. The average separation 360 is preferably chosen such that water or a liquid oral cleaner is retained in the squeegee channels of the dentition cleaning head 350 even when the dentition cleaning head 350 is inverted, but such that cleaning solutions and debris are easily rinsed away under running water. Fig. lid shows an end view 390 of the dentition cleaning head 350. The width of the dentition cleaning head 366 is preferably in the range of 0.5 cm to 2.0 cm. Side squeegee edge 358 of the squeegee member 351 is also preferably contoured as shown. Figs. 1 la-d are set forth as an example of the preferred embodiment. It is clear that the dimensions of the dentition cleaning head 350 can altered in many ways depending on the application at hand. For example, larger devices are useful for providing oral care for other animals including horses and dogs, while smaller devices are useful for cleaning the gums and teeth of infants or small children.

Fig. 12 illustrates a perspective view of a hand-held manual dentition cleaning device 450 configured with a cleaning head 451 similar to that described in Figs. 1 la-d. The dentition cleaning head 451 is preferably formed from soft flexible non-toxic material such as rubber, latex, silicon or polyurethane. The dentition cleaning head 451 is attached to a handle 453 by any suitable method known in the art, but is preferably co-molded to the handle during manufacturing of the device 450. Holes may be provided in the preformed plastic handle 453 prior to co-molding the dentition cleaning head 450 to the handle 453 to ensure that dentition cleaning head 451 remains secured to the handle 453. A second smaller dentition cleaning head may also be attached to the opposite side of the handle or the device may be equipped with a bristle section on the opposite end of the handle 453 or on the other side of the handle

(not shown) to provide a multi-functional dentition cleaning device.

Figs. 13a-b illustrate a cleaning system according to the present invention. Fig. 13a shows a perspective view 500 of the dentition cleaning device 450 described in Fig. 12 being prepared for a cleaning operation. Oral cleaning solution 501 is dispensed by a conventional pump device onto the cleaning head 451 with the cleaning head 451 in an upright position as shown. Fig. 13b shows a perspective view 510 of the oral cleaning device 450 having the oral cleaning solution 501 held within the squeegee cavity of the cleaning head 451. Because the cleaning head 451 provides a containing structure, the device 450 can be used with low viscosity oral cleaning solutions. Low viscosity oral cleaning solution preferably has a viscosity in a range or 1.0 to 25,000 centi-poise (Cp) at 20 degrees Celsius. Low viscosity oral cleaning solution is a liquid or a liquid suspension. The advantages of low viscosity oral cleaning solution over conventional toothpastes including being easier to clean from a sink and/or counter surfaces. Further, because low viscosity oral cleaning solutions can be dispensed from a conventional pump device, as shown, the solution can be sold in bulk and the container can be refilled, thus providing potential economic and environmental benefits. While the preferred system of the invention utilizes a low viscosity oral cleaning solutions, the dentition cleaning device 450 can be used with conventional tooth pastes known in the art. Figs. 14a-b illustrate a dentition cleaning device that is similar to the device 450 shown in Fig 12 which is further equipped with a removable cover 521. Fig. 14a shows a dentition cleaning device 520 with a cleaning head 523 that is configured with continuos outer squeegee. The inner portion of the cleaning head is sealed with a removable cover 521. Preferably, the inner portion of the cleaning head 523 is sealed with the cover 521 by a sticky adhesive that sticks to the edge 524 of the outer squeegee to hold the cover 521 in place. The cover 521 has a tab 522 that can be grabbed to remove the cover 521 from the cleaning head 523. The adhesive preferentially remains attached to the cover 521 when it is removed from the edge 524 of the outer squeegee. In Fig. 14b, the cover 521 is partially removed form the head 523 by pulling the tab 522 as shown. The cover 521 keeps the interior portion 526 of the head 523 sanitary during storage or while transporting the device 520. Prior to sealing the cover 521 on the head 523, cleaning substances, including liquids or powders, can be placed in the interior portion 526 of the head 523 and stored there until the device 520 is ready for use. This embodiment is particular useful for as travel dentition care kit. The device 520 can be made to be disposable after a single used or made to be reusable. Further, the cover 521 may be made to be resealed on the head 523 after use or the device 520 may be equipped with a more elaborate cover.

Figs. 15a-b illustrate an embodiment of the current invention that is particularly useful in clinical environments. Fig. 15a shows a perspective view of a device 800 that has applications for cleaning wounds and incisions before, during or after medical procedures. The device 800 has a cleaning head 803 with several continuos squeegee members 805, 807, 809, 811 and 813. The squeegee members 805, 807, 809, 811 and 813 are preferably positioned concentricity with the smaller squeegees positioned inside of the wall of the next largest squeegee member. The cleaning device 800 is attachable by the end 801 of its neck 806 to a solution delivery system or a vacuum suction system (not shown). Fig 15b illustrates a cross sectional view 810 of the device 800. Solution or vacuum is delivered to the cleaning head 803 through the channel 804 and the reservoir 802. Solution or vacuum is then delivered between the squeegee members 811 and 183 through the apertures 817, 819 and 821. A health care profession or user contacts the squeegee portion of the device against the wounds or incision and applies a cleaning solution or a vacuum depending on the intended outcome of the procedure. The cleaning device 800 shown in Figs. 15a-b is also useful as a dentition cleaning device or for oral procedures where solution and vacuum must be applied to dentition. Embodiments illustrated in the preceding Figures have shown squeegee walls that protrude in direction substantially parallel with respect to each other. Such devices provided a plurality of primary squeegee cleaning actions in a plurality of wiping directions contained in a single wiping plane or in a plurality of co-linear wiping planes. However, it will be clear from the following description that these embodiments previously described can also include squeegee walls that protrude at nonzero angles relative to each other in order to provide for primary squeegee cleaning action in a plurality of non-coincident wiping planes. Further, it will be clear for the following description that oral cleaning devices and other cleaning devices can be configured with squeegee elements that provide for a plurality of squeegees cleaning actions in a plurality of wiping directions within a plurality of non-coincident wiping planes.

Fig. 16a illustrates a cross-sectional view of a squeegee configuration 925 with squeegee walls 929, 931, 933 and 935 that protrude from a squeegee support member 927. The squeegee walls 929 and 935 protrude in a squeegee protruding direction that is at an angle Ql from the squeegee support member 927 and provide for primary squeegee directions in the non-coincident squeegee wiping planes indicated by the arrows 930 and 928, respectively. The angle Ql, can be any angle between 180 and 90 degrees. The squeegees walls 931 and 933 protrude from the squeegee support 927 in a squeegee protruding direction that is at an angle Q2 relative to the squeegee support 927 to provide for a primary squeegee direction in the wiping plane indicated by the arrow 926. Angle Q2 can also be any angle between 90 and 180 degrees that is different from angle Q2 such as to provide primary squeegee directions in a plurality of non-coincident wiping planes 930, 926 and 928.

Fig. 16b illustrates a cross-sectional view of an alternative squeegee configuration 950. The squeegee configuration 950 has squeegee walls 954, 956, 958 and 960 that protrude in squeegee protruding directions at the angles Ql, Q2, Q3 and Q2 relative to a contoured squeegee support member 952. The squeegee configuration provides primary squeegee direction in the wiping planes indicated by the arrows 953, 955, 957 and 959, respectively. The squeegee walls described in Figs. 16a-b can belong to individual squeegee segments, continuous squeegees, squeegee networks, squeegee elements with a single terminus end or any combination thereof.

Squeegee configurations with squeegee walls that protrude in non-parallel squeegee protruding directions are utilized in cleaning devices that provide for primary squeegee directions in a plurality of non-coincident wiping planes. Extending, the principles illustrated in Figs. 16a-b, squeegee configurations that have a plurality of squeegee walls that protrude in each of a plurality of squeegee protruding directions provide for a plurality of primary squeegee directions in each of the plurality of non-coincident wiping planes.

Fig. 17a shows a top perspective view 950 of a squeegee cleaning portion 351 having several substantially circular squeegee members 954, 956, 958 and 960. Positioned between circular squeegee channels, there are several radially positioned squeegee segment members 970, 964 and 966. The radially positioned squeegee segment members 970, 964 and 966. provide rotary squeegee cleaning action when the squeegee cleaning portion 950 is rotated as indicated by the arrow 953. The squeegee section illustrated in Fig. 17 has applications in rotary cleaning systems for cleaning floors and polishing surfaces. The squeegee section can also be contoured as described shown in Fig. 17b.

Fig. 17b shows a perspective view 950 of a rotary squeegee cleaning portion 951 that is particularly useful for cleaning inner surfaces of vessels and cavities. The rotary squeegee cleaning portion 951 has substantially circular squeegee members 958, 960 and 962 protruding from the sides of an elongated tubular squeegee support member 952. Several linear squeegee segments 968, 966 and 964 also protrude from the sides of the elongated tubular squeegee support 952 and extend in an elongated direction 955. The linear squeegee segments 968, 966 and 964 are preferably connected to the squeegee walls of the substantially circular squeegee members 958, 960 and 962. Substantially circular squeegee members 954 and 956 and linear squeegee segments 964 and 970 also protrude from the curved top portion 952 of the elongated squeegee support. The rotary squeegee cleaning portion 951 has an attachment portion 974 for attaching the rotary squeegee cleaning portion

951 to a rotary device (not shown) or handle in order to provide squeegee cleaning action in the rotary direction 953. A rotary squeegee cleaning portion, such as that shown in Fig. 15, can be made in a variety of sizes and shapes. A larger rotary squeegee portions may be attached to an extendable rotary device and used to clean inside surfaces of glass containers or pipes. Micro-rotary squeegee portions maybe attached to catheter devices and used to clear arteries or remove tissue from the inner walls of vessels or cavities during medical procedures.

Fig. 18 shows a perspective view 700 of a cleaning device 751 that employs a preferred squeegee configuration. Several continuous squeegee members 754, 756, 758 and 760 protrude from a cleaning head 753. Several squeegee segments 762, 764 and 766 with curve contoured protruding squeegee edges are positioned in the squeegee channels formed by the continuous squeegee members 754, 756, 758 and 760. The cleaning head is preferably attached to a handle portion 752. The cleaning device 751 is particularly useful for cleaning dishes and the like.

Other embodiments are round or have any other three dimensional shapes suitable for the application at hand. Further, three dimensional devices with squeegee segments, continuous squeegee elements, squeegee elements with a single terminus end and combinations thereof, are used within devices to provide for a plurality primary squeegee directions in a plurality of non-coincident wiping planes. A handle (not shown) can be attached to the massager 900 to enhance the functionality or use of the device 900. In a particular embodiment of the invention the device 900 is made from a hard rubber material and is a chewing toy and tooth cleaning device for pets such as dogs. Alternatively, the device 900 is made of soft rubber, silicone of latex and is a gum massager/chewing toy for teething babies.

It will be clear to one skilled in the art that the above embodiment may be altered in many ways without departing from the scope of the invention. For example the dentition cleaning heads can be made to be any variety of color that make the particularly attractive for children. Accordingly, the scope of the invention should be determined by the following claims and their legal equivalents.

Claims

CLAIMS:
What is claimed is: 1. A device comprising a wiping section 15 with an elongated squeegee 20 having a first squeegee edge 17 protruding in at least one protruding direction 22, wherein the first squeegee edge 17 boundaries an inner squeegee region 24, the wiping section 15 being configured to couple to an elongated handle 11 extending in a direction 23 non-parallel to the at least one protruding direction 22.
2. The device of claim 1, further comprising a second squeegee edge 21 protruding from the inner squeegee region 24.
3. The device of claim 1, further comprising a second squeegee edge 12 protruding from the inner squeegee region 24, wherein the second squeegee edge 22 is continuous.
4. The device of claim 3, wherein the first squeegee edge 17 and the second squeegee edge 21 adjoin to form a first squeegee compartment 25 and a second squeegee compartment 27.
5. The device of claim 1, wherein the first squeegee edge 17 is contoured.
6. The device of claim 1, wherein the wiping section 15 is configured to couple to the elongated handle 11 through an attaching portion 13 with a first attaching surface 28 and a second attaching surface 28, wherein the wiping section 15 protrudes from at least one of the first attaching surface 28 and the second attaching surface 29.
7. The device of claim 6, further comprising a cleaning element 16 protruding from the second attaching surface 29, wherein the cleaning section 16 is selected from the group consisting of a bristle section, a sponge section and a scouring section.
8. The device of claim 1 , wherein the elongated squeegee 20 is formed from a material selected from the group consisting of silicone, rubber latex and poly-urethane, wherein the elongated squeegee 20 has a Durometer hardness in a range of 10 to 90 Shore A.
9. The device of claim 1, further comprising a cleaning section 14 protruding from the inner squeegee region 24, wherein the cleaning section 14 is selected from the group consisting of bristle section, a sponge section and a scouring section.
10. The device of claim 1, wherein the wiping section 15 is a configured for cleaning teeth and gums.
11. A method of applying a material to a surface comprising the steps of: a. placing the material within an array of squeegee compartments, wherein the array of squeegee compartments is defined by elongated squeegee walls with protruding squeegee edges; and
b. wiping the surface with the protruding squeegee edges such that the medium is expelled from the array of compartments onto the surface.
12. The method of claim 10, wherein a portion of at least two of the squeegee walls adjoin.
13. The method of claim 10, wherein the material is a fluid material having a viscosity in a range of 1.0 to 250,000 centi-poise (Cp) at 20 degrees Celsius.
14. A method of making a cleaning device comprising: a. forming an elongated handle 11 extends in an elongated direction; and b. attaching a wiping section 15 to the handle 11, wherein the wiping section 11 comprises a first squeegee edge 17 which forms an inner squeegee region 24, and wherein the wiping section 15 protrudes in a protruding direction 22 that is non-parallel with the elongated direction 23 of the handle 11.
15. The method of claim 13, wherein the wiping section 15 is attached to the handle 11 by co-molding the wiping section 15 onto an attaching portion 13 of the elongated handle 11.
PCT/US2001/041944 2001-08-31 2001-08-31 Dentition cleaning device and system WO2003020076A1 (en)

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PCT/US2001/041944 WO2003020076A1 (en) 2001-08-31 2001-08-31 Dentition cleaning device and system
EP01968969A EP1420664A1 (en) 2001-08-31 2001-08-31 Dentition cleaning device and system

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USD612611S1 (en) 2003-02-11 2010-03-30 The Gillette Company Head of a toothbrush
US7934284B2 (en) 2003-02-11 2011-05-03 Braun Gmbh Toothbrushes
US8584299B2 (en) 2003-04-23 2013-11-19 The Procter & Gamble Company Electric toothbrushes

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