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An oral appliance (or dental appliance) is ordered by your doctor and ft by a trained dentist. It offers another therapy option for treating obstructive sleep apnea.


Oral appliance therapy is most useful for mild and moderate obstructive sleep apnea. It also is an option for severe sleep apnea when attempts to use positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy have failed.

An oral appliance keeps the lower jaw from falling back during sleep which helps maintain an open airway.

There are many different types of oral appliances used to treat sleep apnea. Most people, even those who wear dentures, will typically be able to be ft with a custom made appliance.

Oral appliance therapy is almost always covered by Medicare and medical insurance plans.

After being ft with an oral appliance you may need to have another sleep study to make sure that it is treating your sleep apnea properly.

Am I at Risk ?

Positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy is nearly always effective, but some people have a hard time getting used to it. Oral appliances tend to be easy to tolerate, but may not be as effective as PAP. Some people who use PAP therapy also have an oral appliance for when they travel. Sometimes an oral appliance is used together with PAP. This combination therapy reduces the pressure of the PAP machine needed to keep the airway open.


Oral appliances for sleep apnea have been prescribed by physicians and ft by dentists for over 30 years. While there are many different types of oral appliances, they all function in the same basic way. Oral appliances anchorthe lower jaw to the upper jaw. This anchoring helps keep the airway open by holding the lower jaw from falling back, or by bringing the lower jaw forward. Your dentist will find the best position of the appliance to reduce snoring, treat sleep apnea, and help you feel more rested.
Oral appliances for sleep apnea also may protect the teeth from grinding and clenching (also known as bruxism). Minor side effects are common with oral appliance therapy. These include movement of the teeth or changes in how the teeth ft together. These side effects can be avoided by following up with your dentist.

Tips for oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea

You and your physician may decide that an oral appliance is right for you. Here are some things to consider to increase your chances of success:

Avoid “internet and TV” oral appliances that are self-ft or “boil and bite.” These types of appliances are less effective. Without medical and dental expertise, they also may cause signifcant, painful, and expensive side effects.

People who have had or are currently dealing with temporomandibular disorders (TMD) may be able to use an oral appliance.

Work with a dentist who has experience with oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea. Ask your sleep physician to refer you to a qualified dentist.

For some patients, treating sleep apnea reduces clenching and grinding of the teeth, which may be contributing to their jaw problem.

Your dentist will customize your oral appliance using digital or physical impressions and models of your teeth.

Oral appliance therapy is a lifelong therapy for most people. Long-term follow up with your dentist and sleep physician is critical to maximize success and minimize negative side effects.

Next Steps

Work with a qualifed dentist and sleep medicine specialist to maximize your chance of success. This collaborative care also will minimize the likelihood of signifcant side effects with an oral appliance. Consistent professional follow-up with your dentist and sleep physician can provide years of successful oral appliance therapy.


Southwest Florida Sleep Doctor, Sleep Disorder, sleep disorder center, Sleep Doctor Near Me, sleep apnea diagnosis


Imtiaz Ahmad, MD, MPH, FCCP

Dr. Imtiaz Ahmad is a highly qualified physician, Board Certified in Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine. He has been actively serving the community of Lee County, Florida since 2004, with a strong focus on a proactive healthcare approach. Dr. Ahmad has received advanced training from some of the most prestigious institutions, including Harvard University, Cornell University, State University of New York at Brooklyn, and the University of Mississippi. SOMNAS is a medical facility that is committed to improving and maintaining the health of patients with sleep disorders. The expert team at SOMNAS is known for their compassionate and high-quality care. They offer unparalleled treatment and care to patients on the Gulf Coast of Florida, ensuring a better and healthier life for them.

Job Title: Board Certified in Pulmonary Medicine

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday9:00 am – 5:00 pm
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Please be advised that Allergy Sleep and Lung Care PA and SOMNAS, located at 16420 Healthpark Commons Dr Suite 100, Fort Myers, FL 33908, will be closing its doors permanently effective March 31, 2024. Please CLICK HERE to see the details

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Somnas offers state-of-the-art diagnostic options to identify specific sleep disorders and manage them using the latest treatments and therapies with an individualized treatment plan to ensure long-term optimal outcomes.