Oral appliances (OA) have emerged as an alternative to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) treatment. The most commonly used oral appliance reduces upper airway collapse by advancing the mandible. The mandible, or lower jaw, is the bone that forms the lower part of the skull, and along with the maxilla (upper jaw), which forms the mouth structure.
There is strong evidence that oral appliances improve sleep apnea in the majority of patients. These devices are generally well tolerated and long-term dental changes that occur, are for the most part minimal and do not prevent continued use. Recently, significant advances in the technology of oral appliances for sleep apnea have been made. These technologies will further enhance the efficacy and effectiveness of oral appliances for the treatment and control of sleep apnea.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has approved oral appliance therapy (OAT) as a first-line treatment for patients diagnosed with mild to moderate OSA. The AASM also recommends oral appliances for patients with severe OSA, who are unable to tolerate or cannot wear CPAP devices.
Patients like oral appliance therapy because:
- They are much more comfortable to wear giving you a better night’s sleep.
- Easy to put on and wear
- Portable, you can easily take an oral appliance with you in a small bag.
- Easy to care for – you clean them as you would your teeth.