What are the side effects of wearing a mouthpiece for treating sleep apnea?

I was recently diagnosed with sleep apnea and have been comparing treatment options. One option that I have looked at is a mouthpiece. If I were to use a mouthpiece, what are the potential side effects as far as discomfort and injury to my teeth and jaws?

Doctors Answers (2)

Richard L. Jacobson, D.M.D., M.S.
Answered on: 5/6/2014 2

A well trained orthodontist, with a special interest and training in MPA can appropriately manage the potential bite and teeth changes that can occur in addition to managing and advising and preventing the potential discomfort from inadequate diagnosis or predisposition to TMD.

SomnoDiagnostics, Inc.
Answered on: 5/6/2014 2

You have to be able to breathe well through your nose or you may have difficulty tolerating the appliance. Although the changes may be slight it may still be difficult for you to close your back teeth together and this may have an effect on their ability to chew effectively. The slight movement of teeth and loosening of dental restorations occurs infrequently, but is still worth noting. The appliance moves the jaw forward in fairly significant steps, which may be difficult to tolerate. The appliance can make your lips look puffy and patients who severely grind their teeth at night can crack an appliance. Jaw muscle and joint pain occur in approximately 10 percent of patients and the pain will disappear when the patient discontinues use of the appliance. However, the pain can recur for these patients when they start wearing the appliance again. Changes in the bite can occur for about 20 percent of the patients. Patients with moderate or severe sleep apnea must have a follow-up sleep study, while using the oral appliance to confirm the effectiveness of the device and a consultation with the sleep medicine physician to discuss the results. Many oral appliances are only FDA accepted for snoring.