Oral Sleep Apnea Appliances: How They Work

If you have a sleeping disorder like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) but aren’t able to use a CPAP machine, you have another viable alternative: an oral sleep apnea appliance.

Oral sleep appliance therapy uses a holistic approach to treat OSA without bulky machines. Rather, the special “sleep mouthguard” or “mandibular advancement device” works by positioning your lower jaw in a slightly protruded position. As your jaw is guided forwards, it also brings the base of the tongue forward with it. When we achieve this position, it helps prevent the collapse of soft tissues from sealing off the upper airway (including your soft palate, tonsils, and esophagus.)

Your oral sleep appliance is adjusted to find the best jaw position for your oral anatomy. A sleep diary can help determine how well it’s working, but most people see results as quickly as the first night’s use. You can also wear your appliance with a CPAP, but some individuals find it allows them to go without their CPAP machine altogether.

All you need to get an oral sleep apnea appliance is an impression of your teeth. If you haven’t had a sleep study conducted, it’s possible to have one that you complete at home. These simple bedside kits record the information needed for a proper diagnosis and are then interpreted by a pulmonologist or sleep physician.

Benefits of mandibular advancement devices include:

• More discrete to use
• No noise to bother your family or roommate
• Easier to clean and travel with
• More flexibility with sleep positions
• A holistic way to treat OSA

If you have trouble sleeping, are a chronic snorer, or wake up in the morning with headaches, talk to a Kois Center dentist to schedule a sleep apnea screening and exam. Relief is just a phone call away!