Using a 3D scanner to map a patient’s mouth and 3D printing, researchers are successfully developing customised mouthpieces to help people with sleep apnoea. The device prevents pauses in breath during sleep and also stops snoring.
Developed by CSIRO researchers and Australian dental company Oventus, the mouthpiece is printed from titanium and coated with a medical-grade plastic. It works via a ‘duckbill’ that extends from the mouth like a whistle and divides into two separate airways. The airways extend to the back of the mouth and deliver air to the back of the throat. In this way, the mouthpiece bypasses obstructions from the nose and the back of the mouth and tongue that can cause sleep apnoea.
Existing treatments for sleep apnoea include devices that push the lower jaw forward to open up the airway or, in more severe cases, the use of a continuous positive airway pressure machine and a face mask that creates a continuous flow of air.
CSIRO’s 3D printing expert, John Barnes, said the technology is opening new doors for treatments of a range of medical issues globally. … (Read more)