A new 3D printed mouthguard is set to end the suffering for thousands of sleep apnoea patients.
Solving sleep problems with 3D printing
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.
An estimated one million Australians suffer from the disorder, which can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, irregular heartbeats, heart attacks and diabetes. This number is expected to increase due to growing obesity levels and an aging population.
Traditional treatments can be problematic for patients, with issues such as chronic jaw pain, teeth loosening, teeth wear, ongoing adjustment or nasal obstruction causing many to stop wearing their device.
Better treatments that overcome these limitations would benefit the growing number of sleep apnoea sufferers worldwide.
Teaming up with dental experts to deliver
Using a 3D scanner to map a patient's mouth, our researchers and Australian dental company, Oventus , can now print a mouthpiece which prevents dangerous pauses in breath during sleep.
Printed from lightweight titanium and coated with a medical grade plastic, the breakthrough mouthpiece is customised for each patient.
The world-first device has a 'duckbill' which extends from the mouth like a whistle and divides into two separate airways. It allows air to flow through to the back of the throat, avoiding obstructions from the nose, the back of the mouth and tongue.
The device is effective as a standalone technology or can be connected to a continuous positive airway pressure machine for more advanced treatment.
Relief is here for millions of sufferers
The Oventus Clearway Device is now available to patients in Australia through Oventus clinics, as a more effective and comfortable alternative to current products on the market.
In clinical trials, the Oventus Clearway Device showed a 50 to 90 per cent reduction in Apnoea Hypopnea Index (or API, which indicates the severity of sleep apnoea) in 75 per cent of patients. It was found to be more effective than other oral appliances and has an effect on oxygen levels comparable to continuous positive airway pressure technology.
Following these successful trial results, Oventus plans to take the device to the rest of the world, targeting the growing number of moderate to severe sufferers of sleep apnoea.
The Oventus Clearway Device retails for about $1,700 with rebates available from private health insurers.
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