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Sleep Apnea Mouthpiece

Published: October 31, 2011
Author: Dr. Mike Williams ( Michael Williams )
Tagged: Sleep Apnea, Mouthpiece

Image: Sleep Apnea Mouthpiece

The sleep apnea mouthpiece helps treat obstructive sleep apnea.

What is a sleep apnea mouthpiece?

These mouthpieces are mouthguard type dental appliances which are used to treat sleep apnea and snoring during sleep.

Why is Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea is Important?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the blockage of the airway during sleep.  OSA is characterized by gasping and bouts of breathing cessation during sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness and chronic tiredness. When the body senses the low oxygen blood saturation, an internal alarm goes off.  This excited condition causes the dramatic gasping as the body attempts to overcome the airway obstruction and get more oxygen during sleep. This gasping, snoring and fragmented sleep results in excessive daytime sleepiness which is frequently associated with accidents in the workplace. Many persons with OSA also have a predisposition toward heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome. OSA can be dangerous medically and professionally.

How do I know if I have OSA?

Snoring may be the first sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).  If you suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness and have ever been told by your sleep partner that you gasp and stop breathing while you sleep, then you should consult with your physician to determine if you have OSA.  This diagnosis may require an overnight sleep study.

How is OSA Treated?


To improve breathing during sleep, more serious forms of OSA require the use of a face mask device known as a CPAP machine which pumps air into the nostrils while sleeping. Some persons object to these full face devices and consider them claustrophobic. However, the CPAP is considered the gold standard for severe forms of OSA.

The American Academy of Dental Sleep medicine has received recent approval for the use of dental mouthpieces to treat OSA. Scientific studies have proven these sleep apnea mouthpieces can treat mild to moderate sleep apnea and overcome the problems with the CPAP devices. Conceptually these devices are similar to the common snoring mouthpieces. 

 What Types of Sleep Apnea Mouthpieces are Available?

1. Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD)

The most frequently used sleep apnea mouthpiece is known as a Mandibular advancement device (MAD). To avoid the problems of the CPAP face masks, mild to moderate OSA has been successfully treated with a MAD. The MAD works by positioning the jaw and tongue forward during sleep which results in opening and stiffening the airway. This opening of the airway may successfully treat OSA.  Custom MADs are usually dentist fitted. Since OSA is a medical condition a prescription must be given by your physician to the dentist for fabrication of the MAD. Some of the custom dentist sleep apnea mouthpieces have different settings which can be used to position the jaw to certain locations which improve sleep breathing.  Consult with your personal physician about the MAD option, if you have sleep apnea dislike the CPAP or just want to try something different. Some report that the MAD is the most comfortable of the oral appliances.

2. Tongue Stabilizing Devices (TSD)

A second type of dental appliance holds the tongue forward with a suction mechanism. This prevents the tongue from falling backwards and closing the airway during sleep. Although these devices require a user adjustment period, they do have some very desirable benefits and features. These appliances can be used by people without any teeth, persons with jaw joint (TMJ) problems or periodontal disease.  These devices are FDA regulated and also require a prescription.  The best available devices are the Aveo TSD and the Mpow Rx appliances.

The GOOD NEWS is that if you have OSA, you can get the one of theTSD directly from the Internet. First tell your doctor that you want to try a TSD sleep apnea mouthpiece.  Then select either the Aveo TSD or Mpow Rx from the Mouthguard Store online store. To complete your order, you must forward your doctor’s prescription for a TSD directly to the MouthGuard Store. Finally you will be contacted by the MouthGuard Store doctor to verify your order. This will save you the time and cost of an in-office dental visit.

There is also a FREE online questionnaire available from the Mouthguard Store and others which will help determine, if you have simple snoring or OSA. Simple snoring does not require a doctor’s prescription. However, a prescription will be required for any OSA appliance delivery.

 Internet Sleep Apnea Mouthpieces and Snoring Mouthpieces

Potentially this is dangerous since OSA is associated with other medical problems. Some persons have reported successful OSA treatment by using various snoring mouthpieces available from the internet.  These user-fitted snoring MADs are available in a simple “boil and bite” mouthpiece and are made in a process similar to sports mouthguards.  This snoring mouthpiece may provide relief prior to obtaining the CPAP or a custom dentist device.  Careful fitting according to the manufacturer’s instructions will optimize success chances. Persons suffering from mild-moderate OSA will know if the mouthpiece is working by the improvement in their snoring, sleep quality and improvement in their energy level during the day.  Your sleep partner will notice a major reduction in snoring or gasping, if the device is helping you.  If the symptoms persist a qualified sleep physician should be consulted. Caution and proper medical supervision is suggested, if you have OSA and choose this option.

The sleep apnea mouthpiece has been scientifically proven to successfully treat OSA. There are two basic types of sleep apnea mouthpieces known as mandibular advancement devices and tongue stabilizing devices.


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