Dental firm Oventus has developed a new device that it claims will help snorers and those with sleep apnea to sleep better. Dubbed a “duckbill” by some, the device includes a breathing port that protrudes through the lips and splits into two separate airways that travel along the dental arch toward the back of the mouth. According to the developer, this allows your airway to bypass all common obstructions responsible for snoring and sleep apnea. Working with CSIRO, they hope the device will be ready by 2015.

Quick, Customizable, and Comfortable

The inventor and manufacturer have touted the benefits of the device, which requires only a brief scan of the patient’s mouth. The scan is sent to a factory where the airway is printed from titanium, then overlaid with medical grade plastic, including a cradle for the patient’s upper teeth.

The claim is that this upper tooth fit makes the device more comfortable than many sleep apnea appliances, such as mandibular advancement devices, which fit over both upper and lower teeth to adjust the position of the jaw.

No Evidence of Effectiveness

At this point, there have been no clinical trials of the device (or, at least, none the company has seen fit to share), so we don’t know how effective the device will be. It’s likely it will be a good treatment for some people, since it does bypass two common causes of obstruction: the nose and the upper palate.

But there are other important points of obstruction that won’t be bypassed by this device. It may or may not bypass obstruction by the tongue, and certainly the uvula, tonsils/adenoids, and throat may still provide obstruction.

Although this is unlikely to be a universal solution, it’s always good to have more options so that people can find a sleep apnea treatment that they can be comfortable with and comply with.