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Sleep Breath. 2012 Sep;16(3):855-63. doi: 10.1007/s11325-011-0587-9. Epub 2011 Sep 21.

Complete denture wear during sleep in elderly sleep apnea patients--a preliminary study.

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Department of Oral Health Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.



There is no consensus in the literature about the impact of complete denture wear on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The goal of this randomized clinical study was to assess if complete denture wear during sleep interferes with the quality of sleep.


Elderly edentulous OSA patients from a complete denture clinic were enrolled and received new complete dentures. An objective sleep analysis was determined with polysomnography performed at the sleep laboratory for all patients who slept either with or without their dentures.


Twenty-three patients (74% females) completed the study with a mean age of 69.6 years and a mean body mass index of 26.7 kg/m(2). The apnea and hypopnea index (AHI) was significantly higher when patients slept with dentures compared to without (25.9 ± 14.8/h vs. 19.9 ± 10.2/h; p > 0.005). In the mild OSA group, the AHI was significantly higher when patients slept with the dentures (16.6 ± 6.9 vs. 8.9 ± 2.4; p < 0.05), while in moderate to severe OSA patients, the AHI was not significantly different when sleeping with dentures (.30.8 ± 15.6 vs. 25.7 ± 7.5; p = 0.2). The supine AHI in mild patients was related to a higher increase in AHI while wearing dentures (12.7 ± 8.4/h vs. 51.9 ± 28.6/h; p < 0.001). A limitation of the study is that the mild OSA patients had a higher BMI when compared to the moderate to severe OSA patients. Ten out of 14 patients who preferred to sleep with their upper and lower dentures showed an increase in their AHI while wearing dentures to sleep.


Contrary to previous studies, we found that OSA patients may experience more apneic events if they sleep with their dentures in place. Specifically, in mild OSAS patients, the use of dentures substantially increases the AHI especially when in the supine position.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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