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posted 05 September 2016 at 16:17:32

A cure for the age-old problems of snoring and sleep apnoea – that's when a person temporarily and sometimes worryingly stops breathing while asleep – has eluded medical experts for years. One company, however, now believes that it has taken a giant step towards solving both problems, thanks to the unstoppable progression of 3D printing technology.

Brisbane-based Oventus Medical Ltd has developed a 3D printed mouthguard, dubbed the 02Vent Mono, that has a titanium front piece shaped like a duck's bill. Each mouthguard is specifically tailored to fit each patient's mouth and, claims Oventus, its design ensures that a regular flow of air gets past the tongue and around any blockages to give a peaceful night's sleep (in every sense).

Following clinical trials in Australia involving 40 sufferers, the 3D printed mouthpiece was shown to reduce snoring by an astonishing 82%. Snoring is a warning sign that sleep apnoea may follow and that can be much more serious that the general discomfort felt by snorers and the irritation factor suffered by anyone who has to listen to them. During sleep apnoea the walls of the throat collapse and can block the airways for more than 10 seconds at a time. Long term, this regular loss of oxygen to the brain and other organs can cause strokes, hypertension, heart attacks and even diabetes.

Neil Horan, CEO of Oventus, says, 'The company devices are 3D printed and feature a unique airway that channels air to the back of the throat, bypassing oral obstructions that cause sleep apnoea and snoring. We have established state of the art systems and processes that will drive growth for the company going forward.'

With countless millions of people worldwide snoring their heads off every night, there is a real appetite for this sort of device in the market. If Oventus has really cracked it with its 3D printed mouthguard, its future looks very bright indeed and perhaps we can all look forward to a peaceful night's sleep.

Image:  © Oventus (