CROSS-REFERENCE TO PRIORITY APPLICATION
This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119 of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/850,582 filed Feb. 19, 2013, hereby expressly incorporated by reference in its entirety and assigned to the assignee hereof.
1. Technical Field
Protective bibs and drapes for medical and/or sanitary protective applications.
In dental practice, diagnostic dental radiographs—commonly referred to as “X-rays”—are routine and indispensable. Incidental exposure of the patient to radiation is reduced by the use of a lead apron shield, (the familiar garment used during X-raying), and a thyroid lead shield, which resembles a tall wide collar that loosely wraps around the neck, and which is most often pre-fabricated into the apron, as one-piece, unitary lead shield. The entire shield is secured on the patient by “Velcro” closures, located on the outside of the collar portion of the shield. Thus, during X-raying the inside surface of the shield collar is unavoidably held in direct contact with the patient's bare skin around the neckline and throat and neck area.
It is specifically this aspect of dental X-raying that is universally objectionable to patients, and a challenging problem for the Dentists. Patients perceive the sharing of a thyroid X-ray shield as downright unsanitary and grossly unclean experience, because it transfers sweat and makeup and odors and allergens, for example, as well as potential pathogens, from one patient to the next. (The contact with the rest of the X-ray shield over the chest area, does not present a similar problem, because a customary dental bib and the patient's clothing serve as mechanical buffer layers in between). Dentists on the other hand, all agree that a thyroid X-ray shield is a potential source of cross-contamination for their patients, notwithstanding their best efforts to keep their thyroid shields sanitized.
Prior to our invention, dental offices striving to be responsive to their patients' concerns of a thyroid shield coming in contact with their bare skin during X-raying, have improvised by inserting a separate disposable dental bib or towel between the thyroid shield and around the patient's throat and adjacent area, to best avoid direct contact between the two. This makeshift measure is an inefficient solution, wasteful (it requires at least one extra bib), and esthetically inelegant.
We are aware of only one type of product on the market that addresses the problem of a disposable thyroid shield cover. It is in the form of a sleeve, made of heavy weight weave paper, commonly found in the Operating Room. A set of six (6) sells for $29 (by Bellington Medical), inordinately expensive in comparison to common disposable bibs that typically cost $30-$40 per 500. Furthermore, a separate thyroid shield cover entails the logistics of maintaining a separate inventory for the item. (The above discussion, is also valid for any similar medical radiography setting, as at a hospital, for example.)
Another equally vexing problem at dental offices, is the inadvertent spills and sprays of liquids that occur during dental procedures. Unless they are promptly sponged up as they happen, they will drip down, over the exposed skin in the throat and neck area of the patient, producing an uncomfortable and uneasy sensation, further adding to the dental patient's anxiety. Furthermore, such spills may likely soil the patient's clothing around that area. Again, the current makeshift practice is to insert a separate disposable dental bib or towel between the thyroid shield and around the patient's throat and adjacent area, to serve as a barrier to the spill. This makeshift measure is an inefficient solution, wasteful (or requires at least one extra bib), and esthetically inelegant.
We, Alexandra M. Schnitzlein and Constantine Haralambopoulos, have invented a protective, disposable dental bib a portion of which forms a sanitary collar, for the purpose of preventing a thyroid X-ray shield from directly contacting a patient's exposed skin, above the neckline in the throat and neck area, during diagnostic X-raying. Additionally, the sanitary collar provides an all-around protective mechanical barrier against inadvertent spills and sprays of liquids employed during dental procedures. The bib is of seamless construction and it comes in one piece. We have also invented a method for applying such a bib and collar to a patient. The bib can be manufactured from the same inexpensive, flat sheet material from which ordinary dental bibs are constructed (e.g., 3-Ply Tissue/1-Ply Poly), on the same high speed production equipment and by the same methods currently employed.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Our dental bib with its built-in sanitary collar solves both of these perennial problems, namely, the unsanitary aspect of the X-ray thyroid shield contacting a patient's exposed skin around the throat and neck area, and protection from inadvertent spills and sprays during dental procedures.
Exemplary embodiments are described with references to the following figures:
FIG. 1 illustrates embodiment (I), wherein the sanitary collar is formed from a portion of the lower part of the bib, in the general shape of a wide band, which band is completely detachable from the rest of the bib along a perforation line spanning the entire width of the bib.
FIG. 2 illustrates embodiment (II), wherein two PSA spots are used to secure the collar on the patient.
FIG. 3 illustrates embodiment (III), wherein four PSA spots are used instead of mechanical bib and collar holders.
FIG. 4 a, FIG. 4 b and FIG. 4 c illustrate alternative ergonomic shapes for the band that forms the sanitary collar.
FIG. 5 and FIG. 5 a are perspective views of embodiment (IV), pertaining to the N-fold concept.
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an additional embodiment (V), pertaining to the N-fold concept, characterized by two side slits/perforations.
- DETAILED DESCRIPTION
- 20—dental bib, embodiment (I)
- 21—chain bib holder
- 21 a, 21 b—chain bib holder clips
- 22—sanitary collar band
- 24—perforations, perforation line
- 26 a, 26 b—starter notches, facilitating ripping off sanitary collar band along perforation line
- 30—dental bib, embodiment (II)
- 31—chain bib holder
- 31 a, 31 b—chain bib holder clips
- 32—sanitary collar band
- 34—perforations, perforation line
- 36 a, 36 b—starter notches
- 38 a, 38 b—PSA spots
- 40—dental bib, embodiment (Ill)
- 42—sanitary collar band
- 44—perforations, perforation line
- 46 a, 46 b—starter notches
- 48 a, 48 b, 48 c, 48 d—PSA spots
- 41, 43, 45—alternative ergonomic shapes for detachable sanitary collar-bands
- 90—N-fold bib, embodiment (IV)
- 92 a—innermost panel
- 92 b—middle panel
- 92 c—outer panel (main bib)
- 98 a, 98 b—PSA spots
- 100—N-fold bib with perforated fold line (embodiment V)
- 102 a—innermost panel
- 102 b—middle panel
- 102 c—outer panel (main bib)
- 104 a, 104 b—perforations along fold line
- 107 a, 107 b—tear stops
- 108 a, 108 b—PSA spots
In several embodiments (FIG. 1, FIG. 2, FIG. 3 and FIG. 4 a, FIG. 4 b and FIG. 4 c), the built-in sanitary collar is completely detachable from the rest of the bib. In essence, it is a wide band of bib material severable from the lower end of the bib. Just prior to use, the band is manually ripped off from the rest of the bib, along a pre-perforated line that spans the entire width of the bib. Then the separated band is wrapped around the neck to form the sanitary collar. The two free ends of the band are secured around the neck preferably with two (or a plurality of two or more) self-adhesive spots, pre-installed symmetrically at the very ends of the band. The band is wide enough to cover the exposed neck area.
In another embodiments (FIG. 5, FIG. 5 a and FIG. 6), the sanitary collar is formed by folding (or preferably, having pre-folded), the top portion of the bib into a double fold configuration, resembling the capital letter N—hence, the “N-fold”. The extra fold provides an additional stiffening layer to maintain a collar shape, which in turn contributes to a wrinkle-free appearance of the bib when deployed (unfolded), and attached to a patient. As in the previous embodiments, the N-fold bib is preferably secured on the patient by a plurality of two or more PSA spots.
In the embodiment (I) of FIG. 1, an ordinary dental bib 20 is used. Such bibs require a mechanical holder, such as chain holder 21, for example, that wraps around a patient's neck, having clips 21 a and 21 b that attach to the bib as schematically shown. The lower part the bib is perforated along line 24, outlining the band 22 (the sanitary collar band), as shown. To use, the band is manually ripped off, (or pulled apart), from the rest of the bib, along pre-perforated line 24, optionally using starter notches 26 a and/or 26 b to facilitate easier tearing, and the band is completely separated from the rest of the bib. Then, the separated band is wrapped around the neck to form a collar—the sanitary collar.
The free ends of the collar are kept together by a separate mechanical clip external of the bib, (not shown). A mechanical clip may also be a length of single-sided Pressure Sensitive Adhesive tape of construction similar to “Post-it page markers” (manufactured by 3M Co.), preferably having a stronger adhesive. The band is wide enough to cover the exposed neck area. In practice, 3 to 5 inches was found to be adequate.
The lengths of the uncut segments of the perforation line, are such that the amount of force required to detach the band from the bib, will not simultaneously delaminate the constituent layers of the bib on either side of the perforation line. If desired, segments of the line of perforations may be left entirely severed so as to facilitate proper tearing of the collar band from the rest of the bib. In that context, starter notches in general are optional as the bib material is thin and easy to tear or break apart.
The embodiment (II) of FIG. 2 differs from that of FIG. 1 in that the means of securing the sanitary band around the neck to form the sanitary collar, consists of two self-adhesive (or Pressure Sensitive Adhesive or PSA) spots 38 a and 38 b which are symmetrically pre-installed at the ends of sanitary collar band 32, as shown. This embodiment obviates the need for an external mechanical clip.
A “PSA spot” is a small self-adhesive patch of any shape, installed at selected locations on the plastic side of the bib. For example, it may be a piece of double-sided Scotch brand tape, or Transfer Adhesive Tape, (both items manufactured by 3M Co.), whose one adhesive side is attached to the plastic side of the bib. To use, the protective cover of the adhesive spot is peeled off and discarded, and then the adhesive spot is touched/pressed onto the surface intended to adhere to. It was found that adhesive spots having dimensions of 1 inch by ¾ inch (approximately, 2.5 cm by 1.9 cm) perform very adequately. Also, circular adhesive spots of a smaller area, used singly or in multiples, perform equally well. Specifically, “Glue Dots” (manufactured by Glue Dots International, New Berlin, WI), are such double-sided adhesive dots with a diameter of 1 cm. and they come in rolls.
In order to secure the sanitary band in the closed position to form the sanitary collar, PSA spots 38 a and 38 b are adhesively attached to the opposite end of the band around the neck, in a plastic-to-plastic side relationship, or in a-plastic-to-absorbent side overlapping manner. Alternatively, both PSA spots may be attached onto the patient's outer clothing above the neckline in the over the shoulders area of the upper part of the back. As a further alternative, the PSA spots may be attached directly to the skin of the upper part of the back if not covered by a garment, as in the case of “bare-back” attire. Differently stated, PSA spots 38 a and 38 b may be attached anywhere over the patient's shoulders area in the upper part of the back—to the extent the length of the band permits--to best accommodate all collar sizes, while maintaining the benefits of a sanitary collar.
It is noted that only one PSA spot is necessary to secure the sanitary collar band around the patient's neck, provided that the collar band is of sufficient length. Also, the same considerations apply to embodiment (III) of FIG. 3.
In the embodiment (III) of FIG. 3, four PSA spots are used, as shown: PSA spots 48 a and 48 b serve as points of attachment of bib 40 onto the outer clothing in the chest area of the patient, whereas PSA spots 48 c and 48 d serve to secure the two ends of sanitary band 42 together to form the collar. This embodiment offers an added convenience in the use of the bib as it obviates the need for any external bib holders, such as a chain bib holder.
FIG. 4 a, FIG. 4 b and FIG. 4 c illustrate alternative ergonomic and esthetic variations of shapes for sanitary collars 41, 43 and 45 respectively (meaning, alternative choices in fitting and looks of the collar), applicable to any of the above embodiments of FIG. 1, FIG. 2 and FIG. 3. In other words, sanitary collars 41, 43 and 45 each could be used as an alternative shape for sanitary collar bands 22, 32, and 42, with a corresponding change to the shape of dental bibs 20, 30, and 40, respectively, and perforation lines 24, 34, and 44, respectively.
In the embodiment (IV) of FIG. 5 and FIG. 5 a, and embodiment (V) of FIG. 6, the sanitary collar is formed by having the top portion of the bib folded into a “double fold” configuration, resembling the capital letter N--hence, the “N-fold”—such that the outside of the upwardly pointing branch of the N-fold corresponds to the plastic-coated side of the bib, i.e., the side in direct contact with the patient's bare skin. Thus, with specific reference to FIG. 5, numeral 92 a corresponds to the innermost panel (contacting the skin), 92 b corresponds to middle panel (this extra panel provides an additional stiffening layer to maintain a collar shape), and 92 c corresponds to the outer panel, which extends to the main bib 90. In more detail, this arrangement is shown in FIG. 5 a in a partially unfolded stage.
To use, the ends of the innermost fold, are brought together around the neck and secured (face-to-face or in an overlapping manner), by a separate mechanical clip, in an analogous manner as discussed above regarding embodiments of FIG. 1.
Preferably, self-adhesive spots 98 a and 98 b (FIG. 5 a), are substantially symmetrically pre-applied onto the two ends of the sanitary collar, eliminating the need for an external mechanical clip. The N-fold type of sanitary collar may be also used in a reverse manner, wherein the upwardly pointing branch of the N encircles the neck on the outside, affording the same all-around protection, but with different esthetic results.
The embodiment of FIG. 6 differs from that of FIG. 5 or 5 a, in its two symmetrical perforation lines, or side slits, 104 a and 104 b, terminating at tear stops 107 a and 107 b, respectively. The slits serve to eliminate wrinkling of bib material around the collar, for a smoother look of the unfolded bib attached on a patient. Embodiments (IV) and (V) provide the additional benefit of around the shoulders protection.
While the invention has been described in terms of various specific and preferred embodiments, the skilled artisan will appreciate that various modifications, substitutions, omissions, and changes may be made without departing from the spirit thereof. Accordingly, it is intended that the scope of the present invention be limited solely by the scope of the following claims, including equivalents thereof.