May 6, 2014

A new 3D printed device is set to end the suffering for thousands of sleep apnoea patients. CSIRO researchers and Australian dental company, Oventus has created a mouthpiece on a 3D printer which prevents dangerous pauses in breath during sleep.

Sleep apnoea occurs when the air passage in the throat becomes blocked while sleeping which causes people to stoping breathing. And in severe cases, this event can happen hundreds of times per night. About 5% of the world population have sleep apnoea, which can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, irregular heartbeats, heart attacks and diabetes.

According to CSIRO, the 3D printed monthpiece has a 'duckbill' which extends from the mouth like a whistle and divides into two separate airways. It allows air to flow through to the back of the throat, avoiding obstructions from the nose, the back of the mouth and tongue.

CSIRO printed the monthpiece from titanium and then coated with a medical grade plastic.

"When Oventus came to CSIRO with this idea, we were really excited. The possibilities of 3D printing are endless and the fact that we can now design and print a completely customised mouthpiece for patients is revolutionary." said John Barnes, CSIRO's 3D printing expert.

"It's an exciting prospect for people suffering from the debilitating disorder and the design offers significant benefits which cannot be achieved with more traditional manufacturing techniques."

This 3D printed device is believed to be a lot better than the current solutions out there. In addition, it can also be customised for each patient. Oventus CEO, Neil Anderson, said the key to the new 3D treatment was in the design.

"This new device is tailored to an individual's mouth using a 3D scan and is used only on the top teeth which make it more compact and far more comfortable." explained Mr. Anderson.

When patients visit their dentist, an impression or CT scan of their mouth is taken and that information, combined with Oventus' device file, can be used to print out 3D models of the monthpiece.

Images: CSIRO

"The new 3D printed mouthpiece bypasses all obstructions by having airways that deliver air to the back of the throat and it will also stop patients from snoring," Mr Anderson said.

The 3D printed mouthpiece is expected to be available to patients next year.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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Greg Hutchins wrote at 9/11/2015 12:05:45 PM:

I'm interested in getting one when they come availabl I currently have a Cpap on (7) its uncomfortable but it works OK I'd love to ditch it for something diferant.let me know when i can get one Greg

Beryle Robinson wrote at 1/4/2015 12:16:21 PM:

Thank you so much for giing us some hope for a peaceful sleep without being attached to a amachine worms my heart that there are a group of peole caring about others thank you so much. Would love to know when I can try you totally rock Yes 2015 is going to Rock !!!

Iceking wrote at 5/22/2014 8:55:08 PM:

My sleep apnea stems from my brain completely resting (I've seen the brain wave recordings, they drop to effectively nothing), at which point it doesn't bother inhaling again until some low oxygen trigger occurs and it wakes back into another sleep stage. Won't help me a bit, but spiffy if it does work for people.

Josh! wrote at 5/8/2014 4:11:04 AM:

I have sleep apnoea and have resulted to using a CPAP machine every night. Its basically a machine that forces air down your throat at precisely controlled timing as to not interfere with your breathing cycle. Unfortunately, a device like this one would only work for those that breath through their mouth. I personally only breath through my nose, which is probably healthier for you considering you have nostril hairs acting as filters. But then again, the benefits of reducing sleep apnoea would far outweigh the benefits of filtered air. I'm also not convinced that this mouth piece would work for me. As i believe my throat closes off BELOW my mouth, in which case a device like this would not prevent that. There are other mouth-pieces that are used to give yourself an over-bite, which helps open up your throat. But those only work for mild sleep apnoea. I suffer from moderate. So CPAP it is. Only side-effect of the CPAP that I have noticed is excessive burping in the morning.

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