UPDATE: Oventus have successfully completed clinical trials on the sleep apnoea mouthguard. The device is now available through clinicians in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, the Gold Coast and Cairns. To find out more visit the Oventus website: http://oventus.com.au/
Our 3D printing experts have been on the grind with dental company Oventus to help over a million Aussies suffering from sleep apnoea breathe easy and stop snoring—their bed buddies might just thank us too.
The team have created the first 3D printed mouth piece, which allows air to flow through to the back of the throat, avoiding obstructions from the nose, the back of the mouth and tongue. Is there anything 3D printing can’t do?
Up close and personalised: The 3D printed mouthguard.
This is how it works: A patient’s mouth is scanned to create a mini ‘road map’ of the mouth. This scan is then transformed into a CAD file and can be fed through our 3D printer.
Eight hours later, ta-da! A perfectly fitting, titanium mouthguard.
Sounds super comfortable right? It actually is. The device is coated in medical grade plastic, making it easy to wear and leaving not a metal mouth in sight.
Sleep apnoea occurs when the air passage in the throat becomes blocked during sleep and causes people to stop breathing. In severe cases, people can suffer hundreds of events per night and one of the biggest symptoms? Snoring.
The breakthrough mouthguard has a ‘duckbill’ which extends from the mouth like a whistle and the sides of the guard divide into two separate airways.
Since it is used only on the top teeth it is more compact than treatments on the market, which include devices that push the lower jaw forward to open up the airway or in more severe cases; a face mask which creates a continuous flow of air.
Our 3D printing expert, John Barnes, said the technology is opening new doors for treatments of a range of medical issues globally.
“When Oventus came to us 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.
“We can print up to ten of these in a print run, which takes about 8 hours. 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.”
Time to say goodbye to snoring. Image: Flickr/wolfhunter
The device is undergoing further trials and is expected to be available to patients next year.
Thanks to 3D printing, we can say goodnight to sleep apnoea.
And goodbye to snoring.
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CSIRO’s additive manufacturing facility, Lab 22, is currently being used to manufacture a range of prototype products including biomedical implants, automotive, aerospace and defence parts for Australian industry.
Media: Angela Beggs | firstname.lastname@example.org | 03 9545 2977 | 0477 337 920