Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Australian dental company Oventus have found out a way to 3D print a mouthpiece that can help people suffering from sleep apnoea.
In sleep apnoea, air passage in the throat gets blocked while sleeping which prevents people from breathing. Approximately, 1 million Australians suffer from the disorder. It can further cause high blood pressure, stroke, irregular heartbeats, heart attacks and diabetes. Ageing and increase in cases of obesity can further lead to an increase in the number of victims.
The mouthpiece is tailor-made for each patient and printed from titanium and coated with a medical grade plastic.
The device has a 'duckbill' extending from the mouth like a whistle and dividing into two separate airways. It allows air to reach the back of the throat, preventing obstructions from the nose, the back of the mouth and tongue.
Oventus CEO Neil Anderson said, "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."
The 3D printed mouthpiece is expected to be available for patients by next year.