Mandibular advancement splint

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Background

File:Mandibular advancement splint.jpg
A mandibular advancement splint for treatment of sleep apnea.

A mandibular splint or mandibular advancement splint is a small plastic device worn in the mouth that may be used for correcting jaw and tooth problems, or for improving the quality of sleep by reducing some types of snoring or sleep apnea.

If the snoring is caused by the base of the tongue, the splint will advance the mandible (lower jaw) forward, helping keep the tongue clear of the pharynx (the back of the throat). This is an alternative treatment to a positive pressure mask, known as nCPAP (nasal continuous positive airway pressure).

Significant TMJ dysfunction (pain/clicking/limited opening/lateral deviation on protrusion) may preclude treatment with a mandibular advancement splint.

Mandibular advancement splints are widely used in the United States and are beginning to be used in Britain and Israel. Where appropriate, they are considered a good therapy choice as they are non-invasive, easily reversible, quiet and generally well accepted by the patient. The focus of improvement in appliance design is in reducing bulk, permitting free jaw movement (I.E. for yawning, speaking, drinking), permitting you to breathe through your mouth (early 'welded gum shield' type devices prevented oral breathing) and providing a robust and adjustable (in terms of advancement) device.

Some countries allow "DIY" devices to be sold to the public, whereas other countries (notably USA) prohibit them. Countries which allow DIY devices include Australia, Britain and South Africa.

This type of oral appliance is sometimes known as a mandibular advancement device or mandibular repositioning device, mandibular advancers, or any of these names with "jaw" in place of the word "mandibular."[1]

Notes

  1. Mandibular Advancement Splints for Snoring (Commercial website, citing only for common terminology). Retrieved on 2008-08-19.

References

  • [2] (The Sleep Apnoea Trust Association - United Kingdom)
  • [3] (The British Society of Dental Sleep Medicine)

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