Skip to content

    Sleep Apnea Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Sleep Apnea: Oral Devices - Topic Overview

    Oral devices (also called oral appliances) 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 reduces the chance that tissue will collapse and narrow the airway when you breathe in. Examples include a mandibular repositioning device camera.gif (MRD) or a tongue-retaining device.

    Oral breathing devices are sometimes a reasonable alternative to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Although oral breathing devices generally do not work as well as CPAP, they may be considered for people who:1

    Choose a dentist or orthodontist who has experience fitting these devices. And go back to your dentist for regular check-ups to make sure the device still fits well.

    Oral breathing devices can improve sleep quality and reduce daytime sleepiness.2 The use of oral devices reduced the episodes of abnormal breathing in about half of the people who used them.1

    Possible problems with devices that fit inside the mouth include:

    • Buildup of saliva in the mouth, requiring frequent swallowing.
    • Discomfort, especially in the morning. The devices can be uncomfortable, and people tend not to use them over the long term.
    • Damage to teeth, soft tissues in the mouth, and the jaw joints. So it is important that a skilled dentist or orthodontist fit the device to prevent these problems.

    If you use an oral breathing device to treat sleep apnea, use it every night. Excess saliva in your mouth and mild discomfort should become less bothersome with regular use.

    An oral breathing device used for a child with sleep apnea must be refitted periodically as the child grows.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 09, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Sleep Apnea: Oral Devices Topics

    Today on WebMD

    man wearing cpap
    Know your myths from your facts.
    man sleeping
    What do they say about you?
     
    man suffering from sleep apnea
    You may need a sleep study.
    exhausted and tired
    Which type do you have?
     
    Pet scan depression
    VIDEO
    Nighttime Heartburn
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Fight Fatigue Sleepiness On The Road
    SLIDESHOW
    Sleep Apnea Appliance
    VIDEO
     
    Foods That Help Or Harm Your Sleep
    SLIDESHOW
    Sleep Apnea Clues
    FEATURE
     
    Insomnia 20 Tips For Better Sleep
    SLIDESHOW
    Breus Sleep Apnea
    VIDEO