United States Patent 3673709

An arrangement of air-driven dental instruments is provided with foot control means for regulating supply of power air, syringe air and water and chip blower air, which, through pneumatically operated valve mechanism, controls air and water supplies. Bleed valve means, in the clip means for holding the cable of an instrument which is in use, operates selector valves for directing the controlled fluids to the proper instrument.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
433/28, 433/101
International Classes:
A61C1/00; (IPC1-7): A61C1/00; A61c011/02
Field of Search:
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US Patent References:
3556669N/A1971-01-19Valeska et al.

Primary Examiner:
Peshock, Robert
What is claimed is

1. In a dental instrument control system, foot controller means for controlling supplies of turbine air, spray air and chip air, and air for controlling supply of spray water, selector valve means comprising an arrangement of valves in an aligned series according to air supplies from the foot controller and in aligned crosswise series according to each of a plurality of instruments, air manifolds running crosswise of the first said series and supplying air controlled by the valves of a said aligned crosswise series, operating members running crosswise of the manifolds for operating one valve for each air supply for selected instruments, each member having a diaphragm assembly for operating it, and valving means controllable according to the instrument selected for use for actuating a said diaphragm assembly to supply operating fluids to said instrument.

2. A control system according to claim 1, in which the last said valving means comprises bleed valves incorporated in hose holding clips and operable by insertion of an instrument hose.

3. A control system according to claim 1, in which the foot controller comprises a rotatively movable cam, air valves operable thereby for supplying regulated air supply to an instrument turbine, to an air spray and to an air-operated water spray control, and a horizontally moveable foot pedal for rotatively adjusting said cam.

4. A control system according to claim 3, comprising a vertically movable pedal element, chip air vave control means operable thereby, and a common air line for chip air and spray air leading to a said manifold.

5. A control system according to claim 4, in which the pedal has a roller carried on a vertical axis at the outboard end of the pedal and over the vertically moveable pedal element, for engagement by the foot to control the horizontal movement of the pedal.

It is known practice to provide dental apparatus including an arrangement of various instruments which are positioned adjacent the patient's mouth, with switch or valve mechanisms operable by the dentist for supplying fluids to the instrument in use at any given time, while permitting the supply to other instruments to be cut off. Automatic controls have been utilized, including, for example, switches operated by the hooks or other means for holding the instruments when not in use, together with electrical and air controls for regulating supply of air, electric current and water.

It is an object of the invention to simplify the operation of such apparatus and improve the correlation of its operation with the use of the instruments by the dentist.


The present invention provides a modular system which comprises essentially an instrument and control bleed valve element, a regulating element in the form of a foot controller and selector valve mechanism operable by the bleed valves to apply the control of fluid supply to the desired instrument.

It is an object of the invention to provide equipment of the type indicated, in which the selector valve arrangement permits adaptation to practically any desired number of instruments, and in which its operation is air controlled, and effected by components which are easily removable for repair or replacement. Such components are largely interchangeable, greatly reducing servicing difficulties.

In the drawing:

FIG. 1 is a schematic showing of the system of the invention;

FIG. 1A is a continuation of and completes FIG. 1;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of a selector valve construction used in the system of FIGS. 1 and 1A;

FIG. 3 is a front elevation thereof;

FIG. 4 is a bottom view;

FIG. 5 is a side elevation, partly in section; and

FIG. 6 is a detail section on line 6--6 of FIG. 5.

There is indicated at A in FIG. 1A, a foot controller, which regulates the supply of "chip air" and also regulates the supply of air for operating the valve arrangement indicated at B in FIG. 1 to regulate the supply of fluids to a selected instrument from the group "E", as determined by bleed valve associated with the corresponding clip "F". The air and water supplies may be taken from a floor junction box C and terminal box D.

The various instruments E1 etc. may be located as convenient, and need not be grouped together in a support member adjacent the operating area (patient's mouth), but it will be assumed for convenience of description that the instruments are so grouped, as also the hose holding clips E1 etc., which may be as shown in my previous application filed May 4, 1970, for Dental Instrument Operating System. Each instrument is symbolized in the drawing by a section through its hose connection, indicated as containing three tubes, for, e.g. air spray, water spray and air for driving an air turbine drill. Each such section is shown as located just above its associated holding clip.

While it is preferred to utilize the type of valve control afforded by the hose holding clips, the invention in its broader aspect does not exclude other valving controls, as by removing an instrument from its normal support (e.g. a hook) when not in use. In relation to the controlled selector valving, the valve in each clip is a bleed orifice which is normally closed but opens when the associated instrument is picked up and readied for use. Each such bleed connects through an air line a1, a2, etc., to a chamber b1, etc., which also connects to an actuator diaphragm assembly c1, etc., through line d1, etc., and to an air supply line e, an orifice (not shown) being interposed between line e and each chamber b1, etc.

When air is not bleeding through the associated line a1, etc., the pressure in the associated chamber b1, etc., will be that of the line e, and the associated valve triple f1, g1, h1; etc., will be shut so that fluids are not supplied to the instruments in question. If, however, a holder F1, etc., has its bleed valve open, the pressure in the associated chamber b1, etc., drops because of the pressure drop through the orifice between line e and the chamber in question, and the associated valve triple f1, g1, h1; etc., opens so as to "select" the instrument in question for fluid supply under control of the foot controller A. A line 10f leads from the foot controller to a manifold supplying turbine drive air to the valves f1, f2, f3 and hence to whichever of the instruments E1, E2, E3 is selected. Each turbine air line j1, j2, j3 contains a drive air regulator gauge k1, k2, k3 and a lubricator l1,l2,l3.

Similarly, a line 10g leads from the foot controller to a manifold supplying valves g1, g2, g3 with air spray or chip air, so that the appropriate instrument is supplied with spray and chip air through one of the lines m1, m2, m3.

In the case of the water spray supply, a line 10h from the foot controller supplies a manifold for valves h1, h2, h3 but the air coming from the selected valve h1, etc., goes to an air operated water valve p1, etc., thus supplying water under regulated flow from water manifold q to the selected instrument. The instrument water supply lines r1, r2, r3 contain needle valves s1, s2, s3 for adjusting rate of flow. Connections u, v to the terminal D and floor junction box C supply water to manifold q, through a filter t.

Air is supplied to line e, previously mentioned, through lines x and w, leading, respectively, to the terminal box D and floor junction box C. Pressure regulator y adjusts the pressure in line e for proper action of the diaphragm assemblies c1, etc.

The foot controller A is supplied with air line 11 from the terminal box D, the line 11 connecting to a manifold 12 within the foot controller housing. Connection 13f goes from the manifold to pressure control valve 14f, from which turbine drive air is supplied to line 10f, and thus to the selected instrument.

A second line 13g from manifold 12 goes through control valve 14g to line 10g for supplying chip air to line m1, m2 or m3 and thus to the selected instrument E1, etc.

A third takeoff from manifold 12 connects to air regulator pressure reducing valve 15 from which a line 17g leads to air valve 18g and from there line 19g connects to line 10g adjacent the outlet of chip air valve 14g. Line 10g accordingly supplies either chip air at air manifold pressure or spray air at a reduced and controlled pressure.

Connection 17h, similarly, leads from line 16 through on-off valve 18h and control valve 19h to line 10h and thus to water control valves p1, etc., according to the selected valve h1, h2, h3 which is operated.

A toe pedal 20 rotates a cam 21 which adjusts the position of operating arm 22 for valve 14f. The cam also operates valves 19h and 18g (actually superposed instead of alongside of valve 19h, as shown). The pedal 20 moves in a horizontal plane and has a roller 23 for engagement by the side of the foot. It also has a vertically moveable element 24, positioned under the foot, and depressing this element operates valve 14g to supply chip air.

Valve 18k is provided with a lever for turning the water supply on and off, independently of the air.

A full range of adjustments is provided by the system as described above.

The invention, and particularly the selector valve arrangement thereof, is simple in construction and may utilize interchangeable standard parts.

FIGS. 2 to 6 show the structure of a preferred form of selector valving.

The frame comprises upper and lower plates 30, 31 and vertical posts 32 forming a rigid but easily disassembled structure.

The valves F1, f2, f3; g1, g2, g3; h1, h2, h3; are arranged in three rows of three valves each, and may be identical and standard, as (for example, Clippard N. O. valves MAV-2P). Three blocks 33f, 33g and 33h run across the three rows of valves and have internal bores 34 (FIG. 3) which form the air manifolds. These blocks are attached to the top plate by screws, and the valves, in turn, screw into threaded cross bores of the manifolds, by means of their threaded inlet ends. This supports the valves in place, but permits ready removal.

Running crosswise to the manifold bores are three operating bars 351, 352 and 353. Each of these operates three valves (FIG. 5) and is slidably carried on a plunger 36 in a guide cylinder 37 for movement by the diaphragm 38. A Tee connects to the space in back of the diaphragm and forms the chamber b1, etc., previously referred to. Springs in the valves urge the block 35 against the diaphragm. Connections at the sides of the valves, as shown, lead to the various instrument lines and to the water valves p1, etc.