Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)

Mandibular repositioning devices for OSA

Mandibular repositioning devices (MRDs) can be used to treat obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

MRDs are devices you wear over your teeth as you sleep. They bring your lower jaw forward to help keep your upper airway open. They’re also called intra-oral devices, mandibular advancement devices and mouth guards. They’re effective if you have mild or moderate OSA.

If an MRD is recommended for you, it should be custom-made by a trained health care professional working alongside the sleep service. They’ll want to make impressions of your upper and lower teeth to make your device.

Getting used to MRDs

MRDs are designed to keep your airway open as you sleep. There are many different devices available but it’s best to have one made especially for you by a suitably trained health care professional.

If you live in an area that prescribes these devices on the NHS, you will be referred to a specialist who will make the device for you. If not, your only option may be to buy your own.

Either way, it may be worth trying a cheap off-the-shelf version first to check that you can tolerate having one in your mouth as you sleep. But don’t use it for more than four to six weeks.

If the device feels uncomfortable on your teeth, seek advice from your sleep clinic to make sure it is not causing any damage. You may also find your jaw aches in the morning, but this usually wears off after a while.

Oral devices take a little getting used to, so you’ll need to persevere. The device should last about two years.

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Last medically reviewed: May 2016. Due for review: May 2019

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.