Non-Surgical or Dental Alternatives to CPAP

Sleep medicine dentists at Michigan Medicine offer a non-surgical treatment for obstructive sleep apnea known as a sleep apnea oral appliance. The sleep apnea oral appliance is suitable for patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea who have attempted CPAP without improvement or who could not tolerate using CPAP and do not want to pursue a surgical approach. To learn more about surgeries for obstructive sleep apnea, visit our Surgical Alternatives to CPAP page.

Sleep Study and Dental Impressions

A sleep study with a trial oral appliance may be recommended to determine the effectiveness of your future sleep apnea oral appliance. This test would be conducted in the sleep lab before fabricating a sleep apnea oral appliance, using a remote-controlled device. During your sleep study, the sleep technician moves your mandible (lower jaw or jawbone) electronically in small increments backward and forward within a range to determine the most effective protrusive (forward) mandibular position to decrease your sleep apnea events. The results of the study enable a dentist to prescribe the most effective sleep apnea oral appliance therapy.

If the results indicate that you may benefit from a sleep apnea oral appliance, dental impressions and a registration of your bite are made to fabricate the oral appliance.

Mandibular Advancement Device

The most common type of appliance is the mandibular advancement device, which moves your mandible (lower jaw or jawbone) forward to determine the best position where you may gain the most benefit.

Once you begin to use your sleep apnea oral appliance, you will be evaluated for proper fit and effectiveness, and adjustments forward or backward may be necessary. You will be followed by your dentist until your OSA condition has subjectively improved enough to be objectively evaluated by your sleep specialist, who will determine if your condition has truly improved. This may require another sleep study while wearing the sleep apnea oral appliance.

Illustration showing side view of heads with restricted airway space and with dental device increasing airway space

Mandibular Advancement Device (also called Mandibular Repositioning Device)


If the sleep appliance is determined to be beneficial, we will see you at least annually for evaluation and to verify the fit and effectiveness of your oral appliance.

You should also see your sleep specialist as recommended. With time, changes may occur in soft tissue, dental conditions and other body structures that may make it necessary to be fitted for a new oral appliance or to evaluate other alternative treatments.

Make an Appointment

To schedule an appointment to discuss dental alternatives to CPAP, call Hospital Dentistry at 734-936-5950.