Hand-held tooth whitening instrument with applicator reservoir for whitening composition and methods of using same

  • US 9,320,580 B2
  • Filed: 04/21/2013
  • Issued: 04/26/2016
  • Est. Priority Date: 04/21/2013
  • Status: Active Grant
First Claim
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1. A dental instrument for use by a non-professional to whiten teeth by applying a tooth whitening composition to a tooth surface while exposing the tooth surface to actinic radiation within a predetermined range of wavelengths, the instrument comprising:

  • an instrument body with a mounting boss for accepting a container with a reservoir holding a tooth whitening composition, the instrument body including a handle for the user to position an open end of the reservoir in contact with a tooth surface of the user and a neck portion pivotally attached to the handle with the mounting boss at a distal end of the neck portion;

    an actinic radiation source within the instrument body for emitting actinic radiation within a predetermined range of wavelengths through a window in the container and tooth whitening composition in the reservoir without substantially attenuating the intensity of the actinic radiation emitted by the radiation source;

    a safety cut-out for terminating power to the actinic radiation source unless a predetermined force is applied to the distal end of the neck portion in a direction that holds the open end of the reservoir in contact with a tooth surface;

    a vibrational motor that imparts vibration to the container; and

    a user-operated main ON/OFF switch for placing the instrument in an ON state that connects a source of electrical power to the actinic radiation source and the vibrational motor, wherein;

    the safety cut-out includes a safety switch operated by pivoting movement of the neck portion relative to the handle and a spring biasing the neck portion into a position maintaining the safety switch in an open state wherein power is not supplied to the actinic radiation source,the safety switch is placed in a closed state when the neck portion is pivoted about the handle in the direction that holds the open end of the reservoir in contact with the tooth surface,power is supplied to the actinic radiation source when the instrument is in the ON state only if the safety switch is closed, andpower is supplied to the vibrational motor when the instrument is in the ON state and the safety switch is in the open state.

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