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Sleep. 2006 Feb;29(2):244-62.

Oral appliances for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea: a review.

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Division of Respirology, University of Western Ontario, London Health Sciences Centre, Canada.


We conducted an evidence-based review of literature regarding use of oral appliances (OAs) in the treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSA) from 1995 until the present. Our structured search revealed 141 articles for systematic scrutiny, of which 87 were suitable for inclusion in the evidence base, including 15 Level I to II randomized controlled trials and 5 of these trials with placebo-controlled treatment. The efficacy of OAs was established for controlling OSA in some but not all patients with success (defined as no more than 10 apneas or hypopneas per hour of sleep) achieved in an average of 52% of treated patients. Effects on sleepiness and quality of life were also demonstrated, but improvements in other neurocognitive outcomes were not consistent. The mechanism of OA therapy is related to opening of the upper airway as demonstrated by imaging and physiologic monitoring. Treatment adherence is variable with patients reporting using the appliance a median of 77% of nights at 1 year. Minor adverse effects were frequent whereas major adverse effects were uncommon. Minor tooth movement and small changes in the occlusion developed in some patients after prolonged use, but the long-term dental significance of this is uncertain. In comparison to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), OAs are less efficacious in reducing the apnea hypopnea index (AHI), but OAs appear to be used more (at least by self report), and in many studies were preferred over CPAP when the treatments were compared. OAs have also been compared favorably to surgical modification of the upper airway (uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, UPPP). Comparisons between OAs of different designs have produced variable findings. The literature of OA therapy for OSA now provides better evidence for the efficacy of this treatment modality and considerable guidance regarding the frequency of adverse effects and the indications for use in comparison to CPAP and UPPP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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