What is an Oral Appliance?

Some people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) decide to abstain from traditional continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment for a number of reasons.  Things like a mild form of OSA or extreme discomfort with traditional CPAP equipment can cause patients to opt for something different like an oral appliance.  Oral appliances are one of the newest treatment options approved by the FDA to treat mild to moderate OSA and many users find their less intrusive design ideal.


Oral appliances are actually very similar in concept to a basic mouthguard.  They are inserted into the mouth but cover both the top and bottom teeth.  They treat OSA by adjusting the position of the jaw, jutting it forward slightly in order to prop open your airway, preventing airway closure in the process.  The oral appliance contains an adjustable setting that is set by your doctor to fit your jaw, and often it is recommended that you check this often to make sure it hasn’t shifted as this can cause unwanted issues.  

The advantages of using an oral appliance are many.  For one, they cost a fraction of the price of traditional CPAP machines which include numerous other parts that need to be replaced regularly.  They are also often the preferred method of treatment for those who suffer from mild OSA, as the oral appliance is less intrusive but is still able to prevent apneas.  Many users find oral appliances ideal for travel as well.  They are extremely compact, discreet, and don’t require any additional cords or parts to be functional.  These and other reasons may push you to try an oral appliance, but be sure to speak with your doctor to determine if your OSA can be effectively treated by one.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not a complete guide to the oral appliance, but hopefully you now have a better idea of if it will work for you. Of course, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.


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