Oral devices (also called oral appliances or mandibular repositioning
devices) are sometimes used to treat obstructive
sleep apnea (OSA). They push the tongue and jaw
forward, which makes the airway larger and improves airflow. This also
decreases the chance that tissue will collapse and narrow the airway when you
breathe in. See a picture of a
mandibular repositioning device (MRD).
If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea -- a condition in which relaxation of the muscles around the tongue and throat causes the tissues to block airflow to the lungs while you sleep -- there are a number of treatment options to discuss with your doctor. Two of the most widely used and most effective are continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and dental appliances, or mouth guards.