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Oral Breathing Devices for Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Overview

Several oral devices have been tested to help treat people with sleep apnea or snoring.

A device called a mandibular repositioning device pushes the jaw forward, improving airflow. Changing the position of the lower jaw enlarges the airway and decreases the chance that it will collapse when you inhale.

Other oral breathing devices supply electrical stimulation to the tongue muscles to prevent the airway from collapsing when you sleep.

Oral breathing devices may reduce snoring or sleep apnea.

Possible problems with devices that fit inside the mouth may include:

  • Buildup of saliva in the mouth, requiring frequent swallowing.
  • Discomfort, especially in the morning. Because the devices can be uncomfortable, people tend not to use them over the long term.
  • Damage to teeth, soft tissues in the mouth, and the jaw joints. A dentist or orthodontist needs to fit the device to prevent these problems.

Excess saliva in your mouth and mild discomfort should become less bothersome with regular use.

Credits

Current as of: March 1, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Hasmeena Kathuria MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine