3D Printing Helps Those With Sleep Apnea

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Australian dental company Oventus, together with CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization), have teamed up with 3D printing technology to create a 3D printed device that could possibly put an end to the suffering for thousands of people with sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea occurs in nearly 5 percent of the world’s population. It happens when the air passage becomes blocked and causes one to stop breathing in their sleep. In the more severe cases, the patient will stop breathing hundreds of times per night, raising the risk of high blood pressure and even heart attacks.

The 3D printed device allows air to continue to flow to the back of the throat. The device is shaped like a duckbill and extends from the mouth like a whistle while resting on the patient’s teeth. While it may look unusual, it offers great benefits for those suffering from sleep apnea. Thanks to 3D printing technology, the device is able to be customized for each patient using scans of their mouth, thus making it even more comfortable.

When a patient suffering from sleep apnea visits the dentist, a scan of their mouth will be taken. That information is then paired up with the device files to make a 3D printed model of the mouthpiece.

The device is better than other products that are currently on the market, since it is tailored to the individual’s mouth. It sits on top of the teeth which makes it comfortable.

The mouthpiece is expected to be available next year.