Objective: To determine the variation in prevalence of temporomandibular disorders (TMD), other side effects, and technical complications during 5 years of sleep apnea treatment with a mandibular advancement device.
Materials and methods: Forty patients diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea received an adjustable appliance at 70% of the maximum protrusion. The protrusion was then progressively increased. TMD (diagnosed according to the Research Diagnostic Criteria for TMD), overjet, overbite, occlusal contacts, subjective side effects, and technical complications were recorded before and a mean of 14, 21, and 58 months after treatment and analyzed by the Wilcoxon test (P < .05).
Results: Fifteen patients still used the oral appliance at the 5-year follow-up, and no significant variation in TMD prevalence was observed. Subjective side effects were common, and a significant reduction was found in overjet, overbite, and in the number of occlusal contacts. Furthermore, the patients made a mean of 2.5 unscheduled dental visits per year and a mean of 0.8 appliance repairs/relines per year by a dental technician. The most frequent unscheduled visits were needed during the first year and were a result of acrylic breakage on the lateral telescopic attachment, poor retention, and other adjustments to improve comfort.
Conclusions: Five-year oral appliance treatment does not affect TMD prevalence but is associated with permanent occlusal changes in most sleep apnea patients during the first 2 years. Patients seek several unscheduled visits, mainly because of technical complications.