Types of Oral Appliances To Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Chicago

CPAP is a major lifestyle change and compromise and many patients do not tolerate this treatment. Oral Appliance therapy can become very useful for this subset of people who dislike the cumbersome mask, tubing and machine every night.

Surgical techniques used to remove respiration- impairing structures have shown only moderate success rates (20 to 40 percent). In February 2006 the ASM published a position paper stating that oral appliances are now the gold standard for mild to moderate cases of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and should be used prior to opting for a surgical procedure for severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

For the majority of patients with sleep apnea, the most affordable, non-invasive, comfortable and effective solutions have proven to be an oral surgeon-prescribed, oral snoring preventative device such as the TAP, Slient Nite SL, EMA, Full Breath, and the SomnoDent.

There are currently over sixty FDA-approved appliances to treat Sleep Apnea; however, they can be divided into two basic categories:

1. Mandibular Advancement Appliances

These are the most common type of appliance used to treat Sleep Apnea. As the appliance moves the lower jaw to a more forward position, the base of the tongue is also moved forward thereby opening the airway. This is a time-proven method for keeping the airway open while sleeping and is the treatment of choice for many patients.

2. Tongue Fixation Appliances

Until recently this type appliance was a treatment of ‘last resort’. Recent advancement in materials, methods and design have been incorporated into a few new devices.

We use several different oral appliances that have been proven to be the best in our dental sleep medicine office. The choice of which appliance will be used for each patient is based on many factors. These factors include severity of the apnea condition, patient’s bite and jaw structure, size of the tongue and soft palate, presence of tooth clenching or grinding, jaw range of motion, health of teeth and gums, and many others. We use our vast clinical experience and expertise to help guide each patient to use the appliance that will be most comfortable and effective for that individual’s situation. We have used many different appliances over the past several years, but currently we use:


The Unique Approach of TAP® (Thornton Adjustable Positioner) is based on the same principle as that of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The airway must be opened to allow air to pass through the throat. A constricted or collapsed airway causes snoring or Sleep Apnea. The TAP holds the lower jaw in a forward position so that it does not fall open during the night and cause the airway to collapse. The TAP maintains a clear airway to reduce snoring and improve breathing.

TAP® is comfortable and custom-made to prevent any change in teeth position or mouth structure. They are patient-adjustable, allowing for maximum comfort and effectiveness.

Click on the image above to download a pdf brochure about the device.

Silent Nite® Slide-Link

The Silent Nite SL – Snoring and Sleep Apnea reducing device is a custom-fabricated dental device that moves the lower jaw into a forward position, increasing space in the oro-pharyngeal airway space and reducing air velocity and soft tissue vibration. Special connectors are attached to transparent flexible upper and lower forms. The forms are custom laminated with heat and pressure to the dentist surgeon’s model of your mouth. The fit is excellent and comfortable, permitting small movements of the jaw (TMJ) and allowing uninhibited oral breathing.

Click on the image above to download a pdf brochure about the device.


The EMA (Elastic Mandibular Advancement) appliance is a custom-made removable intraoral appliance created for noninvasive treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The appliance is designed to both advance the lower jaw (mandible) and open the bite to allow for less restricted airflow during sleep.

EMA appliances help promote a deeper, more restful sleep by preventing snoring and relieving the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The EMA does not interfere with breathing through the mouth, even in cases of congested nasal passages. The EMA has many options for patient advancement with 9 strap lengths and 4 different elastic tension options. Non-restricted side-to-side (lateral) or front-to-back (protrusive) movements of the jaw are possible while wearing the appliance due to varying elastic bands.

Click on the image above to download a pdf brochure about the device.

Full Breath®

With the Full Breath® oral appliance excellent results are being obtained with this exciting new modality, which works on the same basis as a physician’s tongue depressor. The advantages are that the lower jaw can remain in it’s most comfortable position without needing to be moved into a forward position. This is particularly helpful in those patients who are prone to TMJ discomfort. By allowing the jaw to remain in it’s “comfort zone” many of the side-effects of mandibular advancement can be avoided. In addition, the appliance is very comfortable and fits on just one arch as opposed to most other Sleep Apnea oral appliances which require components to be fitted onto both the upper and lower teeth.

The SomnoDent® MAS / Flex

Made from unique SMH BFlex material and acrylic, the Flex provides superior retention and comfort. SMH BFlex is a soft polymer that is heat-cured, packed and pressed utilizing an exclusive chemical formula that facilitates soft to hard polymer bonding at the layers interface. The result is a fit that is unmatched and unlike anything seen before in a resilient material, securely anchoring splints with a snug fit even on short teeth with little undercut. With an expected life of 3-5 years, it comes with a three year warranty against manufacturing defects and breakage and is suitable for all dentitions. SMH BFlex does not discolor or attract odors. Patients and oral surgeons may prefer this model, particularly where crown and bridge work is present.

The SomnoDent® MAS is comfortable and easy to wear. The appliance uses the smallest amount of material possible, reducing bulkiness in the mouth. It is made up of two separate pieces, which allow you to speak, yawn and drink. Our design does not limit tongue space which results in a high comfort level with the SomnoDent® MAS.

The SomnoDent®MAS is a highly effective solution, for the majority of patients suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Its exceptional levels of patient acceptance and compliance, as well as treatment efficacy, are backed by a large body of clinical research. 96% of patients with proven OSA stated they would like to continue to use the SomnoDent® MAS. 91% of patients reported substantial improvement in sleep quality with the SomnoDent® MAS.

Click on the image above to download a pdf brochure about the device.

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