3D printed mouthpiece that cures sleep apnoea
In order to better existing devices designed to tackle sleep apnoea, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization researchers have combined with dental company Oventus in Australia to create a 3D printed mouthpiece to prevent people from threatening pauses in breath while sleeping. While present anti-sleep apnoea devices are made to push the lower jaw forward to open airway into the mouth, the new 3D printed mouthpiece has a duckbill and extends from the mouth like a whistle. It is divided into two different airways that lead air back to the throat without the hindrance of blocked nose or tongue.
Using a 3D scan of the patient’s mouth, the device is customized to individual mouth and is used only on the upper teeth like a gum shield. CSIRO researchers believe thousands of sleep apnoea patients could be benefited with these custom made mouthpieces. Expected to be made available for patients by next year, the mouthpieces are 3D printed from titanium with medical grade plastic coating.
Sleep apnoea is blockage of the throat during sleep leading to difficulty (or halt) in breathing. In severe cases of sleep apnoea, patients can suffer hundreds of such events over night. Sleep apnoea can lead to disorders like high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, cardiac arrests, diabetes and strokes. And given the growing trend of obesity, sleep apnoea is only becoming common by the day.