News Column

Patent Application Titled "Fixed Hybrid Dental Attachment Device and Methods of Using Same" Published Online

July 3, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventors Mullaly, Scott (San Marcos, CA); Gervais, Christopher Michael (San Marcos, CA); Johnson, James Irwin (Temecula, CA); Allen, Richard Robert (Oceanside, CA); Powell, Theodore Matthew' (Escondido, CA), filed on February 21, 2013, was made available online on June 19, 2014.

The assignee for this patent application is Zest Ip Holdings Llc.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "A denture is a prosthetic device constructed to replace some or all of the missing natural teeth in a patient's mouth. There are two types of dentures: a partial denture and a complete denture. The partial denture replaces a few missing teeth, while the complete denture substitutes the entire maxillary and/or mandibular arch. Dentures can be secured to dental implants or non-vital tooth roots in the mouth of a patient using either a removable or fixed attachment system. In general, a removable denture is designed and fabricated to be attached to dental implants and removed by the patient, whereas a fixed denture is attached to dental implants using cement or screws and can only be removed by a dental care provider. Accordingly, the retention forces of fixed dentures attached to dental implants are quite high and may, in some cases, be at or near the physical breaking points of the various components (e.g., in excess of 100 pounds of force). In contrast, retention forces for patient-removable prostheses, whether with ball attachments or Locator.RTM. attachments (Zest Anchors, Inc., Escondido, Calif.), range from about 1 to about 7 pounds.

"Both the removable and fixed implant supported dentures have their advantages and disadvantages. Common advantages for both the removable and fixed dentures include: proper chewing, protection of the gums, and improvement in speech and aesthetics. Removable dentures are less costly and allow for easier cleaning to promote oral hygiene on a daily basis. However, they lack the feel of natural teeth and require more maintenance, e.g., replacement and/or adjustment of attachments and attachment components. In contrast, fixed dentures feel more like natural teeth and distribute occlusal load onto the implant and onto the jaw bone, which can be beneficial to the maintenance of the bone ridge height and thickness, bone quality, and oral and facial aesthetics. Fixed dentures also allow less food entrapment and less maintenance. Nevertheless, fixed dentures are more expensive and more difficult to maintain when comprehensive cleaning is required.

"Conventional fixed dental implant attachment systems generally have higher treatment costs and involve more complicated procedures. The cost of components and laboratory fees contribute, in part, to high treatment costs that restrict access of such conventional fixed attachment systems. At the same time, complicated techniques, such as accommodating implant angulations, verification of try-ins, and difficulty with administering cement and/or screws, requires highly skilled dental care providers, which further adds to the high cost of treatment. Likewise, maintenance of conventional fixed attachment systems require time consuming procedure and high cost as the system and/or system components are typically damaged and require repair and/or removal and replacement at recall appointments.

"Accordingly, there is a need in the art for a simple, low cost, screwless, cementless, fixed dental implant attachment system that is detachable by the dental care provider, but at the same time provides the benefits of a fixed dental attachment system. Disclosed herein is a unique, simple, lower cost, fixed but clinically detachable device for those patients who want the advantages of a 'fixed' implant supported denture but cannot afford the current higher end options, and an entry point allowing less experienced dentists to perform fixed restorations due to an easier restorative procedure. Further described herein is a dental implant attachment device that can provide immediate load (function), through components that can be easily used with the provisional denture and then incorporated into the final restoration."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "Described herein is a fixed dental attachment device, a dental attachment assembly, and methods of securing a dental appliance in a subject's mouth using the same. In one embodiment, a dental attachment device comprises a cap for securing a dental appliance, a retainer ring, and an abutment. The cap may be integral with a dental appliance, such as a full denture, overdenture, or partial denture. Depending on the extent of the dental appliance, one or more abutments may be present in the subject's mouth with corresponding caps being integral with the dental appliance.

"Though the fixed abutment and denture cap have internal features generally consistent with the geometry of O-ring or O-ball attachment systems, it is substantially differentiated in two principal ways. First, the fixed abutment is designed to rigidly connect the prosthesis (i.e. denture) to dental implants and remain in place with only periodic removal (i.e. once or twice a year for hygiene maintenance) by a clinician with use of a tool specifically designed for that purpose. Conversely, O-ring or O-ball attachment systems provide substantially less retentive force and are designed to be used with a removable prosthesis, allowing the patient to easily take out and replace their denture on a routine (i.e., daily) basis.

"Second, the fixed abutment system attaches the prosthesis directly to a dental implant thereby transferring all mastication loads to a series of implants that are integrated in the patient's jaw. The O-ring or O-ball systems are solely intended to provide resilient retention of the denture in the mouth with the prosthesis seating directly on the soft tissue, or gingiva, which absorbs substantially all intra-oral forces such as those from mastication. This is an important distinction as tissue borne dentures are typically more uncomfortable for a patient because the prosthesis can compress, abrade, and pinch the gums during chewing function.

"An example of an O-ring attachment systems is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,302,693 to inventor Mena. Mena discloses a standard O-ring attachment system comprising a ball and socket secured by an O-ring. However, Mena differentiates between existing O-ring attachment systems by placing the socket in the abutment and the ball in the prosthesis. This arrangement allows the prosthesis to engage closer to the bone and surrounding tissue, thereby lowering the stress point. Nevertheless, Mena's attachment system is still fundamentally a conventional, removable O-ring attachment system.

"In one embodiment, the present invention relates to a dental attachment device, comprising: (a) a cap for securing a dental appliance having an open end and an inner cavity forming a concave annular wall, and a first attachment portion; (b) an abutment comprising an upper portion and a second attachment portion, the upper portion having a convex outer surface and an open end; and a removable ball having an upper end and a head portion, the removable ball is positioned between the cap and the abutment, wherein the head portion is retentively engaged in the open end of the abutment and the upper end engaged in the cap, wherein the engagement of the removable ball and the abutment has a retention force in an amount sufficient for rigid attachment of the device to the appliance and to prevent, inhibit, or reduce the risk of removal of the device by a patient using the device.

"The retention force may vary and in certain embodiments is at least 15 pounds; or about 15 to about 75 pounds; or about 20 to about 50 pounds; or about 30 to about 40 pounds as measured using a tensile force measurement device (Instron Corp. Model 8841) on a single abutment. In another embodiment, the device further comprises a ring seated in the open end of the abutment and surrounding the head portion of the removable ball.

"In another embodiment, the present invention relates to a method for securing a dental appliance in a subject's mouth by a dental professional, comprising the steps of: (a) positioning an abutment by an attachment portion into an existing non-vital tooth root, implant, mini-implant, or intermediary abutment, the abutment further comprising an upper portion, the upper portion having a convex outer surface and an open end; (b) positioning a removable ball into the open end of the abutment, the removable ball having an upper end engaged in a cap (that is integral with a dental appliance) and a head portion, the head portion retentively engaged in the open end of the abutment; and the cap is engaged over the outer upper surface of the abutment for securing the dental appliance, wherein the engagement of the removable ball and the abutment has a retention force in an amount sufficient for rigid attachment of the abutment, ball, and cap to the appliance and to prevent, inhibit, or reduce the risk of removal of them by the patient. In certain embodiments, the dental professional secures a plurality of dental attachment devices in the mouth of the subject, and wherein the retention forces vary between and among the plurality of devices.

"Other embodiments, objects, features, and advantages will be set forth in the detailed description of the embodiments that follow and, in part, will be apparent from the description or may be learned by practice of the claimed invention. These objects and advantages will be realized and attained by the devices, assemblies, and methods described and claimed herein. The foregoing Summary has been made with the understanding that it is to be considered as a brief and general synopsis of some of the embodiments disclosed herein, is provided solely for the benefit and convenience of the reader, and is not intended to limit in any manner the scope, or range of equivalents, to which the appended claims are lawfully entitled.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"The details of the present invention, both as to its structure and operation, may be gleaned in part by study of the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numerals refer to like parts, and in which:

"FIG. 1 is an exploded view of the dental attachment device.

"FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a cap.

"FIG. 3 is a side view of FIG. 2.

"FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 3.

"FIG. 5 is a side view of a cap having a short post attachment.

"FIG. 6 is a side view of a cap having a screw attachment.

"FIG. 7 is a side view of a cap having an adhesive attachment.

"FIG. 8 is a side view of an abutment.

"FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 8.

"FIG. 10 is a side view of a ring.

"FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 10.

"FIG. 12 is a side view of the assembled dental attachment device of FIG. 1.

"FIG. 13 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 12.

"FIG. 14 is a side view of the assembled dental attachment device of FIG. 1 with a divergence between the cap and abutment.

"FIG. 15 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 14.

"FIG. 16 is a perspective view of 20.degree. pre-angled abutment.

"FIG. 17 is a side view of FIG. 16.

"FIG. 18 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 17.

"FIG. 19 is a side view of the assembled dental attachment device with a 20.degree. pre-angled abutment of FIG. 16

"FIG. 20 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 19.

"FIG. 21 is an alternative embodiment of a 20.degree. pre-angled abutment.

"FIG. 22 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 21.

"FIG. 23 is a side view of the assembled dental attachment device with a 20.degree. pre-angled abutment of FIG. 21

"FIG. 24 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 23.

"FIG. 25 is an exploded view of an alternative embodiment of a dental attachment device.

"FIG. 26 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a cap.

"FIG. 27 is a side view of FIG. 26.

"FIG. 28 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 27.

"FIG. 29A is a side view of different configurations of a removable ball with low retention force.

"FIG. 29B is a side view of different configurations of a removable ball with medium retention force.

"FIG. 29C is a side view of different configurations of a removable ball with high retention force.

"FIG. 30 is a side view of an alternative embodiment of a cap having a screw attachment.

"FIG. 31 is a side view of alternative embodiment of a cap having an adhesive attachment.

"FIG. 32 is a side view of an alternative embodiment of an abutment.

"FIG. 33 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 32.

"FIG. 34 is a side view of an alternative embodiment of a ring.

"FIG. 35 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 34

"FIG. 36 is a side view of the assembled dental attachment device of FIG. 25.

"FIG. 37 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 36.

"FIG. 38 is a side view of the assembled dental attachment device of FIG. 25 with a divergence between the cap and abutment.

"FIG. 39 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 38.

"FIG. 40 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a 20.degree. pre-angled abutment.

"FIG. 41 is a cross-sectional side view of FIG. 40.

"FIG. 42 is a perspective view of the assembled dental attachment device with a 20.degree. pre-angled abutment of FIG. 40

"FIG. 43 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 42.

"FIG. 44 is a perspective view of a healing cap.

"FIG. 45 is a side view of FIG. 44.

"FIG. 46 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 45.

"FIG. 47 is a side view of assembled healing cap on an abutment.

"FIG. 48 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 47.

"FIG. 49 is a cross-sectional view of an alternative embodiment of FIG. 47.

"FIG. 50 is a perspective view of curved bar.

"FIG. 51 is a top view of FIG. 49.

"FIG. 52 is a graphic representation of the retention force of FIG. 25 in cantilever situation"

For more information, see this patent application: Mullaly, Scott; Gervais, Christopher Michael; Johnson, James Irwin; Allen, Richard Robert; Powell, Theodore Matthew'. Fixed Hybrid Dental Attachment Device and Methods of Using Same. Filed February 21, 2013 and posted June 19, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=3039&p=61&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140612.PD.&OS=PD/20140612&RS=PD/20140612

Keywords for this news article include: Hygiene, Dentistry, Prosthetics, Legal Issues, Bone Research, Medical Devices, Zest Ip Holdings Llc.

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