Objective: To evaluate an adjustable mandibular positioning appliance for treatment of snoring and sleep apnea.
Methods: One hundred thirty-four patients with baseline apnea/hypopnea index (AHI) of 37 +/- 28 events/h (mean +/- SD) received the appliance. The efficacy of the appliance was assessed by the following investigations, performed at baseline and with the appliance: polysomnography, Epworth sleepiness scale, bedpartners' assessment of snoring severity, patients' assessment of side effects, and overall satisfaction.
Results: Thirteen patients were lost to follow-up. An additional 46 patients had no follow-up polysomnography, but answered the questionnaires. A total of 75 patients had polysomnography at baseline and with the appliance. We found a significant reduction in AHI from 44 +/- 28 events/h to 12 +/- 15 events/h (p < 0.0005) and a reduction in the arousal index from 37 +/- 27 events/h to 16 +/- 13 events/h (p < 0.05). Epworth scores fell from 11 +/- 5 to 7 +/- 3 (p < 0.0005). Bedpartners' assessment revealed marked improvement in snoring. For example, at baseline 96% of patients were judged to snore loudly "often" or "always" by their bedpartners, whereas only 2% were judged so while using dental appliance. The most frequent side effect was teeth discomfort, present "sometimes" or "often" in up to 32% of patients. Follow-up clinical assessment in 121 patients conducted on the average 350 days after the insertion of the appliance revealed that 86% of patients continued to use the appliance nightly; 60% were very satisfied with the appliance, 27% were moderately satisfied, 11% were moderately dissatisfied, and 2% were very dissatisfied.
Conclusion: We conclude that the adjustable mandibular positioning appliance is an effective treatment alternative for some patients with snoring and sleep apnea.