Harvard Health Blog: The most studied treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is positive airway pressure, but some people with mild or moderate OSA may benefit from oral appliance therapy. Here is a review of the different types of oral appliances on the market:
Mandibular advancement devices. Made of molded hard plastic, these devices snap over your lower and upper teeth, and also feature metal hinges and screws that can be tightened to push your lower jaw forward. Some dentists make custom mandibular advancement devices, but before you consider buying a custom device, be sure to ask whether your dentist has experience in sleep-related breathing disorders and is certified by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Some non-certified dentists simply take a mold of your teeth, send it to a company that makes the device, then sell it to you at a large markup — sometimes totaling $4,000 or more. What’s more, it’s unlikely to be covered by your dental or medical insurance if it’s used for snoring.
Mouth guards. Similar to mandibular advancement devices, these devices also help reposition your lower jaw, although to a lesser degree. Some sleep physicians recommend SnoreRx, which you can purchase online for less than $100. Instead of starting with an impression of your teeth created by a dentist, you use what the company calls the “boil and bite” method. You place the device in a cup of boiling water for a minute and then bite down on the softened plastic so it molds to your teeth.
Tongue-retaining devices. These devices consist of a soft plastic splint placed around your tongue that holds it forward and out of your mouth throughout the night. They tend to make your mouth very dry and can be quite uncomfortable.