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 (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:
- Have mild or moderate sleep apnea.
- Prefer not to use or who have failed CPAP treatment.
- Had surgery that did not work.
- Tried behavioural changes that did not work.
- Are at a healthy weight.
Oral breathing devices can improve sleep quality and reduce daytime sleepiness. The use of oral devices reduced the episodes of abnormal breathing in about half of the people who used them.