US 3734081 A
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United States Patent [191 Schaack  TOOTH SENSITIVITY TESTING METHOD  Inventor: Harding Van Schaack, 2460 Pasadena Blvd., Milwaukee, Wis. 53226  Filed: May 3,1971
[211 Appl. No.: 139,420
Related US. Application Data  Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 812,834, April 2,
 US. Cl ..128/2 N, 128/40] 32/40  Int. Cl. ..A6lb 19/00  Field of Search ..128/2 N, 2 R, 2 W, 128/2 S, 2 H, 359, 303.1, 362, 399, 401;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 206,243 7/1878 Jennison ..l28/2 M 51 May 22, 1973 1,567,02] 12/1925 Detlefsen et al ..63/2 2,773,502 l2/l956 Kaslow et al ....l28/2 W 3,274,995 9/l966 Eidus ..l28l2 R FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 526,292 6/1921 France ..63/2 1,258,795 3/l96l France ..63/2 202,945 12/1923 Great Britain..... 63/2 221,673 9/1924 Great Britain .63/2
Primary Examiner-Kyle L. Howell AttorneyWheeler, House & Wheeler  ABSTRACT Bead-like spherical bodies of differing sizes and yieldability and heat conductivity are slidable through limited ranges, spaced from each other on a highly flexible moisture-impervious strand for selective manipulation to registry with a selected tooth area for localizing sensitivity to temperature or pressure.
10 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures TOOTH SENSITIVITY TESTING METHOD This application is a continuation-in-part of my copending application Ser. No. 812,834, filed Apr. 2,
1969 now abandoned.
BACKGROUND OF INVENTION SUMMARY OF INVENTION A dentist can i'eadily manipulate the mounting strand to bring a spherical head of selected diameter and hardness or temperature into registry with a tooth or tooth portion which is suspect. Thereby the dentist can determine in much less time than has previously been required not only which tooth is sensitive but which part of the tooth should be investigated. Knots space the test bodies while leaving them free for independent movement in limited separate ranges.
Even though individual beads have movement through a selected range, the spacing is nevertheless maintained, each range being spaced from that of each other bead. Because the individual beads have very limited movement, there is an incidental advantage that if there is breakage of the strand on which the beads are mounted, it will only be possible for one bead to fall from the strand. The strands used are preferably of high tensile strength, as well as being impermeable to moisture, either a filament of synthetic resin or of stainless steel and either single or multiple strand or braid. It is also readily possible to change the temperatures of re spective beads with reference to each other, the spacing permitting individual temperature adjustment by immersion in liquids at required different desired temperatures.
There is enough free length of strand between the adjacent pairs of limiting means to permit the dentist or other user to retie the strand in case it breaks. Thus it may be made of a material that could be bitten through by the patient through repeated use or by accident.
Many of the bodies will vary only in diameter, preferably being of a relatively corrosion-free metal alloy, plastic or rubber which can be heated or chilled to test temperature or selectively yieldable to different pressures, examples being plastic, copper, lead, and rubber (or varying grades of rubber). A preferred range of sizes of the sphericalbeads includes diameters of approximately 0.018 to 0.203 inches. The temperatures at which the beads are used may range at least up to approximately l50 F. without damage to the beads. It is necessary to maintain antiseptic conditions. Selected beads are elastically deformable. For example, they may comprise rubber of varying hardness from Durometer 220 to 1 l and consequently varying degrees of resilient yielding under the patients bite.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a fragmentary plan view of a tooth-tester embodying my invention.
FIGS. 2, 3 and 4 are fragmentary details in plan showing bodies of optional materials.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION The mounting strand 6 is of flexible but preferably strong material. It may be a dental floss. It may comprise a strong thread of cotton or silk or monofilament of nylon or the like, or of braided or stranded steel cable. Choice of materials is influenced by the fact that for reasons of sanitation the strand should desirably be impermeable by, and not chemically altered by, the patients saliva or other liquids to which the device may be subject. Available are fine cables which are coated with some synthetic resin such as Teflon tetrafluoroethylene.
On the strand 6 are mounted any desired number and character of bead-like test bodies having characteris tics calculated to meet all requirements. As examples, I have shown spherical metallic beads 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 of diameter graduated from 0.100 through 0.075 inch and 0.060 and 0.050 inch to 0.040 inch. While spherical bodies are preferred, I do not wish to be limited thereto except as hereinafter noted. Because these beads are metallic or made of materials immune to temperatures of 52 to 212 F. (or at least to F.), they may readily be heated or chilled to test sensitivity to temperature. Because they are progressively varied in size, the test may be localized quickly and accurately on a suspected area.
The test body 18 in FIG. 2 is of synthetic resin. A whole series of such plastic bodies may vary in resistance to pressure (from hard to soft). The body 20 is lead and that shown at 22 is rubber of predetermined graduated durometer number of hardness. All of these are by way of examples of bodies which, subjected to a patients bite, will yield to a degree indicating sensitivity to intensity of pressure, i.e., pounds per square inch. It is contemplated that the hardness will vary from a soft rubber of about 20 durometer to copper of the type known commercially as dead soft copper.
If the dentist has all such bodies available on a single strand 6, or selected groups available on separate strands, he can test a patients tooth sensitivity with more facility and accuracy than has heretofore been possible. The fact that the individual beads can be manipulated by the dentist through the selected range along the strand makes it possible for him to localize the point of engagement of the head with the patients tooth, while keeping his fingers out of the way and still maintaining a firm grip on the strand at both sides of the tooth under examination.
Thus, instead of fixing the respective bodiesto specific locations, I prefer to provide for limited movement of each body between spaced pairs of knots which define ranges of movement individual to respective beads. This permits positioning the knot on each side of any bead to be well out of the range of the actual bite on the bead between the two knots. These, however, are preferably spaced from other pairs of knots to space the ranges and thereby to avoid confusion. It will be noted that these bodies are being manipulated within the patients mouth, and therefore, out of sight. Thus the body or bead 10 is confined between knots 24 and 26 between which it has considerable range of movement. Its range is isolated from the range of movement of bead 8 between knots 28 and 30 and that of bead 12 between knots 32 and 34.
Any one size of bead found to be the right size for the mating teeth of a patients mouth may be quickly recooled or re-heated or alternately heated for a test bite and then chilled for a second bite. The small size affords quick changes in temperature of the test beads.
1. A method of locating a sensitive tooth comprising the steps of providing a tooth tester having a flexible strand provided at spaced intervals with compressible test bodies sequentially positioning selected bodies between mating teeth and causing the teeth to bite the positioned bodies and repeating the sequence with other sets of mating teeth until the sensitive tooth is located.
2. The method of claim 1 in which the flexible strand is provided at intervals with spaced pairs of limiting means defining a pre-determined range of movement for each body, the strand being unobstructed between limiting means of respective pairs.
3. A method according to claim 1 in which the bodies include beads of differing size.
4. A method according to claim 1 in which the bodies include beads of differing yieldability.
5. A method according to claim 1 in which the bodies 4 include spherical beads, some differing from others as to size and some differing from others as to hardness.
6. A method according to claim 5 in which the dimensions of certain of said beads vary in diameter from 0.203 to 0.018 inches. 1
7. A method according to claim 5 in which said beads withstand temperatures of 52 to +212 F.
8. The method of claim 1 plus the preliminary step of pre-heating a body before positioning the body between the mating teeth..
9. The method of claim 1 including the preliminary step of cooling one or more bodies prior to positioning the body between mating teeth.
10. The method of locating a sensitive tooth comprising stringing a strand with bodies in spaced relation with the bodies having varying compressibilities, selectively positioning the bodies between sets of mating teeth, and causing the teeth to bite on the bodies until the sensitive tooth is located.