Effects of a mandibular advancement device on the upper airway morphology: a cephalometric analysis

J Oral Rehabil. 2009 May;36(5):330-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2842.2009.01946.x.


The aims of this study were to assess changes in the upper airway morphology associated with an oral appliance in situ in patients suffering from the obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea syndrome and to relate these changes to treatment response. Changes in upper airway morphology as a result of an oral appliance were assessed in 52 patients with obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea syndrome by means of cephalometric analysis. Lateral cephalograms were taken at baseline and after 2-3 months of treatment. Baseline and follow-up cephalograms were traced twice and cephalometric variables were compared. The predictive value of changes in upper airway morphology for the treatment response was evaluated in univariate and multivariate regression analyses. Oral appliance therapy resulted in an increased posterior airway space at the level of the second vertebra, the uvular tip and the base of the tongue. The increase of the posterior airway space at the level of the second vertebra and the uvular tip were the best predictors for relative improvement of the apnoea-hypopnoea index. However, the predictive value for treatment response of these cephalometric upper airway changes should be interpreted with caution.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cephalometry / methods
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hyoid Bone / pathology
  • Male
  • Mandibular Advancement / instrumentation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pharynx / pathology*
  • Polysomnography / methods
  • Prognosis
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / pathology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy*
  • Temporomandibular Joint / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome