This 3D-Printed Mouthpiece Helps Sleep Apnea Patients Breathe Better

By: Rahul Kalvapalle - May 9, 2014
References: csiro.au & gizmag
Sleep apnea is a condition where the throat passage can get blocked during sleep, disrupting breathing. In addition to breathing blockage, the condition can lead to heart problems, stroke and diabetes. Most sleep apnea solutions and treatments are expensive and uncomfortable, but a team of Australian researchers has developed a more practical 3D-printed solution.

The team used a 3D scanner to produce a 3D map of a patient's mouth, and then 3D-printed a custom-fit mouthpiece. The mouthpiece uses a combination of titanium and medical grade plastic.

The mouthpiece separates the patient's airflow into two distinct passages. It is fitted with a 'duckbill,' a titanium spout that protrudes out of the patient's mouth and allows for clear, unobstructed airflow to make contact with the back of the throat.

This ingenious sleep apnea solution was developed by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in collaboration with dental company Oventus.