Effectiveness of mandibular advancement appliances in treating obstructive sleep apnea syndrome: A systematic review

Laryngoscope. 2016 Feb;126(2):507-14. doi: 10.1002/lary.25505. Epub 2015 Jul 30.


Objectives/hypothesis: Mandibular advancement devices are an alternative to continuous positive airway pressure for patients with mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS). The main aim of this review was to assess the effectiveness of different devices in treating OSAHS, based on polysomnographic measurements such as the apnea/hypopnea index (AHI) and oxygen saturation, and on changes in the upper airway and improvements in the most common symptoms: snoring and somnolence. Their adverse effects were also noted.

Study design: Systematic review.

Methods: Following an exhaustive search in the Medline, Scopus, and Cochrane Library databases, 22 articles published in the past 10 years met the quality and inclusion criteria.

Results: Using mandibular advancement devices during the hours of sleep helps to prevent snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness, reduce the AHI significantly, and bring about beneficial changes in the upper airway. Adjustable and custom-made mandibular advancement devices give better results than fixed and prefabricated appliances. Monobloc devices give rise to more adverse events, although these are generally mild and transient.

Conclusions: Mandibular advancement devices increase the area of the airway. They bring the soft palate, tongue, and hyoid bone forward and activate the masseter and submental muscles, preventing closure. All these effects reduce the AHI, increase the oxygen saturation, and improve the main symptoms of OSAHS.

Level of evidence: NA.

Keywords: Obstructive sleep apnea; mandibular advancement appliance; mandibular advancement device; mandibular advancement splints.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Mandibular Advancement / instrumentation*
  • Palate, Soft / surgery*
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / surgery*
  • Sleep Stages / physiology*
  • Treatment Outcome