In some cases of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, an oral appliance may be used for treatment. An oral appliance is an artificial (often plastic or acrylic) device similar in appearance to a mouth-guard. The device is intended to be worn at night during sleep. By moving the lower jaw (mandible) forward, the appliance decreases the likelihood of the oral soft tissues collapsing and obstructing the airway. It is this obstruction that may contribute to snoring and OSA.
For patients with an oral component to their snoring and/or sleep apnea, an oral appliance may be a reasonable treatment option. While patient compliance can be challenging, oral appliances can be very effective for patients who do not mind wearing them. The use of oral appliances can have associated complications, and so should be fitted and worn under the supervision of a trained health care provider. Complications/ adverse events include TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain, myofascial pain, dental/tooth pain, tongue pain, dry mouth, gum irritation, severe gagging, excessive salivation, occlusal/bite changes, and TM joint sounds.