Mandibular Repositioning Device

Mandibular Repositioning Devices as CPAP Alternatives

A mandibular repositioning device, or an MRD or a mandibular advancement device, is a dental device that can sometimes help patients with obstructive sleep apnea breathe more easily while they sleep. It looks much like a mouth guard or a night guard that has been custom-fitted to a patient’s mouth. It should be worn nightly on a regular basis.

Normally, patients with obstructive sleep apnea have narrowed airway passages while they sleep and thus often display symptoms such as loud snoring. For this reason mandibular repositioning devices are often referred to as anti-snoring devices. The main purpose of the mandibular repositioning device is to push the tongue downward and forward, making room for air to move straight down the patients throat and into his or her lungs without body tissue getting in the way. Keeping this area of the body open in patients with sleep apnea will allow them to sleep more deeply and also will reduce the chances of a passage collapse when a patient struggles to breath in while sleeping.

There are many kinds of mandibular repositioning devices available through different dental laboratories and other manufacturers, but only a few are FDA-approved. Talk to your physician or a sleep center expert if you are trying out different methods of sleep apnea treatment and think MRD may be a good fit for you. Generally, you will need to make several dentists’ appointments before a proper mold of your teeth can be made and sent off to the lab for construction of the mandibular repositioning device, or the anti-snoring device, as the fit has to be very tight to be able to move the tongue and jaw forward.

Many patients find it difficult to sleep while wearing mandibular repositioning devices, while others simply adjust to them over the course of a couple of weeks. Patients may also have to try out devices made of several different materials before they find one that feels comfortable or right.

Things to Think about before getting a Mandibular Advancement Device

Patients with too many unfilled cavities, patients with gum disease or patients who are too overweight cannot use a mandibular repositioning advice, as the device will either damage your teeth or be ineffective. Side-effects include these, along with pain in the jaw area, achy muscles, soreness and the urge to keep your mouth slightly open. Any person who has trouble breathing through the nose or have irregularities with their heart should also be weary of getting one. Since the effectiveness level of the device largely depends on your bone structure and specific symptoms, it is important to see a sleep doctor first for overnight sleep study before ordering a mandibular repositioning device.