Australian medical device company Oventus Medical Ltd will unveil its latest advancements in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea in San Francisco the week of April 20.

Brisbane dentist Chris Hart, M.Phil, BSc, BDSc, who founded Oventus and is the company’s clinical director, will join more than 30 international speakers at 3DHEALS2017—a collaborative conference aiming to create a global healthcare community focusing on 3-D printing and related technologies.

More than 500 delegates from 80 companies will look at the growing use of 3-D printing in healthcare and emerging technologies like robotics.

Hart has built a national network of dental clinics within Australia delivering his sleep apnea device, the O2Vent T. Designed with CAD software and then 3-D printed in titanium, the oral device is custom made for each patient.

Hart says 3-D printing was the only option for manufacturing the device because each contained a complex, hollow three-dimensional structure, that couldn’t be milled, cast or molded.

“The ability to custom design a large number of devices with this three-dimensional airway and to be able to print them simultaneously was the game changer,” he says. “It made the O2Vent T commercially viable and led to a partnership with Australia’s peak research body, the CSIRO and developing the first generation product which was on the market in about a year.”

A severe apneic with nasal obstruction, Hart recognized up to half of his patients also suffered from increased nasal congestion.

“Realising that airway issues were a major issue for patients and also in adults with obstructive sleep apnea was a light bulb moment,” he says. “By not addressing these issues, the long-term oral health of my patients and the success rates of the dentistry I was performing was at risk.”

Oventus is continuing to build clinical evidence, with a trial now under way testing whether including a device with its own airway, either on its own or with other therapies like CPAP, would help even the most severe cases of OSA.

“This is a unique solution for which there is a clear indication, a massive unmet clinical need and a growing body of evidence that will lead to a new paradigm and standard of care for treating OSA,” Hart says.

The O2Vent T was launched in the San Francisco and Bay area in January. It is currently being rolled out in a number of US states.