An ultrasonic instrument includes a tip portion, a transducer configured to convert electrical energy into vibrational energy, an acoustic transformer interconnecting the transducer and the tip portion, and a grip portion disposed at least partially about the acoustic transformer. The grip portion is coupled to the acoustic transformer via a resilient nodal coupling at a nodal region of the acoustic transformer. The resilient nodal coupling is configured to provide rotational and axial stability to the acoustic transformer.
This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/624,352, filed Sep. 21, 2012, entitled, “ULTRASONIC TOOL,” which claims the benefit of and priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/537,315, filed on Sep. 21, 2011, and U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/559,946, filed on Nov. 15, 2011, and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/624,352, filed Sep. 21, 2012, the entirety each of which is incorporated by reference herein for all purposes.BACKGROUND
1. Technical Field
The present disclosure relates to ultrasonic tools and, more particularly, to an ultrasonic tool, or insert, for use by dental professionals for dental treatments and procedures.
2. Background of Related Art
Ultrasonic dental tools, or inserts, generally include four basic parts. The primary part comprises a laminated stack of a magnetostrictive material, which is activated at its frequency of resonance to generate sufficient mechanical power. The second part is a specially shaped tip that makes contact with the treatment area. This tip provides access and adaptation to the treatment area. The third part is an acoustic transformer, often referred to as a connecting body, which connects the laminated stack to the tip. The fourth part is a grip, which allows the practitioner to hold and maneuver the insert during use.
Each of these building blocks for the insert has an important role in the operation of the insert. The stack provides the necessary power to drive the tip. The acoustic transformer matches the impedance of the stack to the tip, provides amplification of the mechanical motion generated by the stack, and delivers coolant and lavage to the tip. The tip transfers the mechanical motion to the treatment area, which is often a tooth or root surface. It also directs the lavage or coolant provided by the connecting body. The grip not only allows the practitioner to hold the insert but is a key component since it attaches to the acoustic transformer. It is therefore critical that the grip connect at a nodal point for the motion along the length of the acoustic transformer. Attachment to a point not on the node will dampen the motion and reduce the available power at the tip of the insert.
Cavitron® Corporation introduced ultrasonic inserts to the dental market in the late 1950's. The first inserts were called “P” types to differentiate them from the cutting inserts first used for cavity preparation. Similarly as used today, the basic structure and design of these first inserts included four basic components: a laminated stack of a magnetostrictive material, a working tip, an acoustic transformer or connecting body that connects the tip to stack, and a grip allowing the practitioner to hold the insert during use.
These original Cavitron® designs adapted a surgical steel tube to deliver water to the treatment area. Straight Permanickel® laminations were used to generate the mechanical energy. An acoustic transformer amplified the mechanical motion generated by the stack, and a metal grip was attached to the connecting body using a compressed O-ring.
Over the years, improvements have been in the areas of water delivery to the treatment area. U.S. Pat. No. 3,930,173 to Banko and U.S. Pat. No. 5,567,153 to Foulkes et al. describe examples of the use of non-concentric holes in the tip of the insert. A swivel feature that allowed the practitioner to more easily rotate and adapt the tip along the line angles of teeth is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,716,028 to Rahman et al. This design forced a compromise between the ease of rotation (generally rotational torque below 1 in-lb.) and leakage. At lower torque levels, the risk of coolant water leakage at the point of rotation was increased. Some designs utilize the slippage of the O-ring that seals the insert in the handpiece. These designs use a traditional toroid O-ring that seals both the handpiece-insert interface and provides a low torque rotation. They typically allow rotation within the gland area of the O-ring but are at the mercy of O-ring quality, dimensional tolerances of the O-ring, and handpiece dimensions to provide a good seal over all operating conditions.
Early inserts also had the disadvantage of loosening of the attachment of the grip to the insert after several sterilization cycles. Retightening was possible but alignment of the water tubing while retightening was problematic. In addition, the tightness of the capture mechanism often resulted in instability of the grip in both the lateral and longitudinal planes. Later designs used surface indentations to minimize loosening, but these designs did not address the problems of rotational and axial movement of the grip during use. U.S. Pat. No. 3,956,826 to Perdreaux describes a method of capturing the connecting body inside a cavity in a resin grip. While this eliminates rotational and axial instability, it results in a hard mount of the connecting body at the nodal point. The end result is an improvement in the stability of the grip but degradation in the tip motion caused by the hard mounting of the grip to the connecting body. A hard mount also increases the transfer of ultrasonic energy from the connecting body to the grip.
The original stack configuration for the Cavitron designs was a flat lamination without any added rigidity either along the length of the stack or in the cross-section. Some manufacturers added a “c” shape to the stack but this added little rigidity to the stack assembly, while other manufacturers added a “v” shape to the stack and glued the laminations together. While this approach added rigidity to the stack, bend angles less than 100 degrees introduced increased stress to the laminations and moved the center of gravity of the stack assembly off the concentric line of the stack-connecting body junction.
The stack assembly in typical ultrasonic dental inserts is brazed at both ends. The distal end has an end-ball attached to hold the ends of the laminations together and provide a rounded surface to minimize any damage to the handpiece during insertion and removal. U.S. Pat. No. 5,980,251 to Sullivan et al., for example, describes a method of creating a conductive connection of brazing material (silver solder) at both ends of the stack. First, this is counterproductive in that it increases the losses in the stack assembly during use. Second, it decreases the frequency of resonance of the stack assembly because of the lower sound velocity of the brazing material compared to the Permanickel® laminations. Third, the phase shift of the feedback signal in ultrasonic systems is adversely affected, especially with regard to those systems employing motional or velocity feedback.SUMMARY
In accordance with the present disclosure, an ultrasonic dental tool, or insert, is provided. The insert includes a notch on both sides of the distal end of the laminated stack assembly. The notches are secured in any suitable fashion, e.g., using a high temperature heat shrinkable material.
In embodiments, the distal end of the stack includes an end cap. The end cap may be a molded or machined high temperature resin that provides mechanical stability of the laminations during ultrasonic activation and sterilization cycles.
In embodiments, a non-metallic or low conductivity metal rivet component secures the laminations in the stack assembly. The component is secured in a small diameter hole near the distal end of the stack assembly by, for example, staking, snap locking, gluing, ultrasonic welding, etc.
In embodiments, a rigid or semi-rigid tube encloses the laminations in the stack assembly. The tube may be constructed from a high temperature resin and/or may be formed via extruding or molding. This encasement, e.g., the tube, may further include a nodal support for the laminations at their midpoint.
In embodiments, a resilient material captures the connecting body in the nodal area. For example, a “soft mount” configuration for the grip may be provided, while also providing stability with minimal axial and rotational movement during use.
In embodiments, the laminated stack assembly may be recess mounted to the mesial end of the connecting body. Such a mounting allows for concentric mounting of the stack assembly to the connecting body, resulting in minimum brazing material on the lateral sides of the stack assembly.
In embodiments, the laminations in the stack assembly define a pre-determined shape that provides adequate stiffness to the laminations to avoid deformation during use and handling of the insert.
In embodiments, the insert is rotatable 360 degrees during use with minimal torque. The use of a multi-diameter sealing component is also contemplated.
In embodiments, precise bending of the insert tip can be achieved at the location of the nodal point supports in a bending fixture.
Particular advantages and features of the above-mentioned and other embodiments of the present disclosure are described below. To the extent consistent, any or all of the above-mentioned embodiments (or any other embodiments) may be used in conjunction with any or all of the other embodiments described herein.
A typical stack comprises laminations of a Ferro-magnetic (magnetostrictive) material ranging from 0.007 to 0.010 inches thick. The industry standard size in dentistry is 0.010 inches. Thinner laminations are often used at frequencies higher than 25 kHz to reduce eddy-current losses. The laminated stack assemblies of an ultrasonic dental tool have the capability to outlast the tip and connecting body assemblies by a factor of 10 to 20 times. The endurance of the stack assemblies however, is limited by handling damage. The present disclosure provides a stack having both improved electro-mechanical characteristics and durability. In particular, the multiple angle bend of the stacks of the present disclosure, e.g., in the form of a “Z” bend or a “W” bend, provide both lateral and longitudinal rigidity to the laminations in the stack assembly without introducing excessive stresses along the bends because of the large bend angles. Bend angles are typically between 100 and 150 degrees. The basic geometry of the assemblies of the present disclosure place the center of the assembly on or close to the centerline of the connecting body-stack junction.
Typically, even slight bending of the stacks will result in a loss in mechanical output of the insert. A new stack that is bent by handling and then re-straightened will in most cases perform like an old insert with a tip worn beyond the recommended 2 mm length. The present disclosure provides a rigid or semi-rigid tubing to protect the stack during all phases of usage. The tubing can be an extruded or a machined piece with an internal dimension that approximates the diagonal dimension of the stack assembly. The mesial end of the tubing is configured to facilitate mounting the insert into a handpiece, provides a seal for the insert-handpiece interface, and allows for relatively low torque rotation of the insert assembly within the handpiece. In this configuration, the laminations on the stack assembly are flat and the distal ends of the laminations are not bound together. Further, in this configuration, a molded shell may be used in place of the tube. The advantages of the shell are the versatility of having several cross-sectional diameters and the addition of a nodal support for the stack assembly.
Currently, applications requiring insertion and removal from a handpiece often have interference due to the size and shape of the brazed end-ball. The present disclosure provides configurations that avoid the pitfalls of brazing the distal ends of the laminations together. This eliminates the possible interference fit into a dental handpiece due to an oversize endball. The use of a molded end cap, a heat shrinkable material, or a low conductivity pin improves assembly time and reduces the handling cost of the stack assembly without creating interference with the feedback system of the ultrasonic device.
Complete dental tools are customarily referred to as “half lambda” tools because they comprise two parts, where each part consists of a one-half wavelength (half lambda) as determined by the frequency of resonance of the materials and the physical lengths of the components. These tools are free to move at both ends and have two centrally located longitudinal nodal points. By definition, the longitudinal motion at the nodes is zero. Any contact of the tool off the nodal points will result in damping of the motion. Accordingly, the present disclosure provides a dental tool that mounts the grip to the connecting body with a resilient nodal mount (referred to herein as a “soft mount”). One of the key features of this configuration is that it minimizes the loading effects caused by the shifting of the nodal point during loading of the tool's tip. This configuration also minimizes the transfer of ultrasonic energy to the grip because of the high impedance presented by the resilient nodal support. Several variations of the soft mount are described in greater detail hereinbelow. For example, in embodiments, protrusions are located on the connecting body in the nodal region. An extruded resilient material is placed onto these protrusions and the assembly is placed into the insert grip. Alternatively or additionally, in embodiments, commercially available resilient O-rings or similar components may be utilized to provide a soft mount between the connecting body and the grip. The capture mechanisms for the nodal supports can be machined or molded.
Precise bending of the tips on the connecting body assemblies requires a reliable registration point in the bending fixtures. Current insert designs rely on the edge of the tip shank, but these points are located on radii and require the operator to use an approximate reference point. The present disclosure uses nodal protrusions on the connecting body assembly to precisely register the connecting body in a bending fixture. This configuration allows for the interchanging of bending tool inserts for bending of different tip styles and lengths of the assemblies.
The grip of an insert tool provides the practitioner the ability to grasp and maneuver the tool during use. The present disclosure provides a configuration that facilitates the rotation and adaptation of the working tip along the line angles of the tooth. One of the limitations for all resin grips is the small cross-sectional area in the gland area of the O-ring. This small cross-section causes problems in fluid flow across this area during molding. The thin section also creates challenges in welding the molded grips together. To account for this, the present disclosure provides a flat seal with or without raised circumferential rings, which allows the use of a thicker cross-section in the insert grip gland area. The mounting area can be shaped to allow smooth interfaces for the seal of the insert and a profile for the center of the seal that enhances both the ability to seal the insert-handpiece interface and provide a low torque rotation.
Dental handpieces typically have a cross-section that allows for mounting of a dental tool or insert with minimal space allowed for water delivery to the insert. When the brazed joint of the stack-connecting body is too large, it impedes the entry of the insert into the handpiece. This can result in reduced mechanical output at the tip due to the damping effect when a portion of the stack assembly is loaded off the nodal point. It can also restrict the water flow to the insert resulting in ejection of the insert due to backpressure in the handpiece. This is aggravated with the use of the aforementioned toroid O-ring in rotational designs. The present disclosure provides a connecting body with a recessed area that self-aligns the connecting body and stack assembly during assembly. A further feature of this configuration is that it provides an area for a braze fillet, thereby minimizing the possibility of excessive braze material at the joint.
Particular embodiments of the present disclosure are described hereinbelow with reference to the accompanying drawings. In the following description, well known functions or constructions are not described in detail to avoid obscuring the present disclosure in unnecessary detail.
An embodiment of the present disclosure for a low rotational torque insert is illustrated in
With reference to
A further embodiment of this disclosure provides components 62, 60 for housing the stack assembly, e.g., stack assembly 63, as is illustrated in
A further embodiment of the present disclosure is illustrated in
A further embodiment of a resilient nodal mount provided in accordance with the present disclosure is shown in
In considering assembly of the resilient nodal mount of
From the foregoing and with reference to the various figure drawings, those skilled in the art will appreciate that certain modifications can be made to the present disclosure without departing from the scope of the same. While several embodiments of the disclosure have been shown in the drawings, it is not intended that the disclosure be limited thereto as it is intended that the disclosure be as broad in scope as the art will allow and that the specification be read likewise. Therefore, the above description should not be construed as limiting, but merely as exemplifications of particular embodiments. Those skilled in the art will envision other modifications within the scope and spirit of the claims appended hereto.
1. A method of utilizing an ultrasonic instrument comprising:
- obtaining an ultrasonic instrument, comprising: a tip portion; a transducer configured to convert electrical energy into vibrational energy; an acoustic transformer interconnecting the transducer and the tip portion; and a grip portion disposed at least partially about the acoustic transformer, the grip portion coupled to the acoustic transformer via a soft mount comprising a resilient nodal coupling at a nodal region of the acoustic transformer, the resilient nodal coupling comprising: a resilient mount disposed at the nodal region of the acoustic transformer; and a nest defined within the grip, the nest configured to receive and contain the resilient mount, wherein the resilient nodal coupling is structured to provide rotational and axial stability to the acoustic transformer by minimizing the lateral and longitudinal movement of the grip relative to the acoustic transformer during static and dynamic phases of use of the ultrasonic instrument, and wherein an area between the acoustic transformer, the grip, and the nest provides a pathway for coolant fluid to flow across the nodal mount,
- grasping the grip portion; and
- orienting the tip portion along a line angle of a tooth.
2. The method of claim 1, further comprising, loading the tip portion.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the grasping facilitates rotation and adaptation of the tip portion along the line angle of the tooth.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein the resilient nodal coupling includes a resilient mount disposed at the nodal region of the acoustic transformer, the resilient mount applying at least one of radial pressure or lateral force to the acoustic transformer.
5. The method of claim 4, wherein the resilient mount includes a pair of opposed protrusions defined at the nodal region of the acoustic transformer and a resilient member disposed about each of the protrusions.
6. The method of claim 1, wherein the grip portion is formed at least partially from plastic.
7. A method of assembling a resilient nodal mount onto a connecting body in an ultrasonic instrument, wherein the connecting body comprises a proximal end and a distal end and the distal end comprises a tip portion of the ultrasonic instrument, and wherein an area between the proximal end and the distal end comprise a nodal area, the nodal area comprising a disc, the method comprising:
- machining a slot on an underside of a tapered cylinder;
- placing a first O-ring parallel to the disc adjacent to a first surface of the disc and placing a second O-ring parallel to the first O-ring and adjacent to a second surface of the disc;
- inserting the tapered cylinder over the connecting body such that the tapered cylinder retains the first O-ring and the second O-ring; and
- placing a retainer over the tip portion of the connecting body and sliding the retainer over the connecting body to capture the tapered cylinder, such that the tapered cylinder and the retainer form a resilient nodal mount.
8. The method of claim 7, wherein the second O-ring is placed on surface of the disc closer to the distal end of the connecting body and the inserting comprises placing the tapered cylinder on an area of the connecting body between the second O-ring and the tip portion.
9. The method of claim 7, wherein the placing comprises moving the retainer axially toward the tapered cylinder until fingers on the retainer engage with a surface of the tapered cylinder.
10. The method of claim 9, further comprising:
- moving the retainer axially alone the connecting body until the first O-ring and the second O-ring are compressed and the fingers snap into position within the lot on the tapered cylinder.
11. The method of claim 7, further comprising:
- placing a an inverted split washer between the first O-ring and an outer diameter of the tapered cylinder.
12. The method of claim 7, further comprising:
- coupling a grip to the resilient nodal mount.
13. A method of assembling a soft mount onto a connecting body in an ultrasonic instrument, wherein the soft mount comprises a tapered cylinder and a retainer with at least one flange, the method comprising:
- sliding the tapered cylinder with a first diameter and a second diameter over a small diameter of a connecting body with a proximal end and a distal end, wherein the distal end comprises a tip portion of the ultrasonic instrument, and wherein an area between the proximal end and the distal end comprises a nodal area;
- orienting the tapered cylinder such that the second diameter faces the distal end of the connecting body;
- placing an O-ring in the nodal area;
- sliding the retainer over the tip of the connecting body such that the at least one flange on the retainer is aligned with and in contact with a tapered edge of the tapered cylinder, such that the tapered cylinder and the retainer compress the O-ring, forming a soft mount; and
- coupling a grip of a handpiece to the soft mount.
14. The method of claim 13, further comprising:
- locking the retainer and the tapered cylinder together by snapping a dimension on the at least one flange into a gap on the tapered cylinder.
15. The method of claim 14, wherein the snapping comprises the dimension on the at least one flange spreading as it interfaces with the tapered cylinder.
16. A method of utilizing an ultrasonic instrument comprising:
- obtaining an ultrasonic instrument, comprising: a tip portion; a transducer configured to convert electrical energy into vibrational energy; an acoustic transformer interconnecting the transducer and the tip portion; a grip portion disposed about a portion of the acoustic transformer, the acoustic transformer comprising a pair of opposed protrusions, the grip portion coupled to the acoustic transformer via a soft mount comprising a resilient mount disposed about the pair of opposed protrusions forming a resilient nodal coupling at a nodal region of the acoustic transformer, and a nest defined within the grip to receive and contain the resilient mount, the grip portion defining a gland area, wherein an area between the acoustic transformer, the grip, and the nest provides a pathway for coolant fluid to flow across the nodal mount; a handpiece disposed about a remaining portion of the acoustic transformer such that the grip portion and the handpiece cooperate to fully enclose the acoustic transformer, the handpiece defining an engagement area are configured to receive the gland area of the grip portion; and an elongated sealing assembly interdisposed between the gland area of the grip portion and the engagement area of the handpiece to rotatably and sealingly couple the grip portion and the handpiece to one another, wherein an outer surface of the elongated seal assembly comprises an outer surface of the ultrasonic instrument;
- grasping the grip portion; and
- orienting the tip portion along a line angle of a tooth.
17. The method of claim 16, further comprising:
- rotating the grip portion relative to the handpiece through 360 degrees of rotation.
18. The method of claim 17, wherein the rotating comprises applying torque between about 0.5 in-oz and about 1.5 in-oz.
19. The method of claim 16, wherein the soft mount decouples ultrasonic energy in the acoustic transformer to the grip during static and dynamic phases of use of the ultrasonic instrument.
20. The method of claim 16, wherein the transducer formed from a plurality of laminations, each lamination configured to define a plurality of bending angles along a width dimension thereof, each lamination defining a length substantially equal to one-half wavelength at an operating frequency of the ultrasonic instrument, and wherein the orienting comprises utilizing at least one of the plurality on bending angles.