How Do Sleep Apnea Mouth Guards Work?

Looking for a different way to solve your sleep apnea issue? If you are looking too get rid of CPAP, or want to avoid it, then you may have heard about sleep apnea mouth guards. Yet, what do they do and how exactly do they work?

Sleep apnea mouth guards are widely used to treat mild to even severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). I’m Aaron, sleep expert. Below, we will look at how these oral devices work to reduce symptoms of sleep apnea, and snoring, so that you can better understand if this may be an option for you.

How do sleep apnea mouth guards work?

These mouthpieces work by positioning the jaw in a forward position which allows for more airflow and less obstruction to the airway during sleep. The guard acts as a cushion between the upper and lower jaws, keeping them slightly apart so there is more space between the tongue and throat while sleeping.

This space allows for easier breathing and can help reduce snoring as well as improve oxygen levels throughout the night. Many people find that using an appropriate mouth guard helps significantly reduce their symptoms of sleep apnea.

How well do mouth guards work compared to CPAP?

These oral devices have proven to be effective for treating sleep apnea. While they don’t provide the same level of treatment as CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines, they can reduce the amount of oxygen deprivation brought on by sleep apnea while you’re asleep and make it easier for you to address some of the associated health effects.

Mouth guards are non-invasive, easy to use and potentially more comfortable than using a CPAP machine. This make them an ideal option for those who want, or aren’t able, to go through with traditional sleep apnea treatments.

Types of Sleep Apnea Mouth Guards

There are two main types of mouthpieces available: mandibular repositioning devices (MRDs) and tongue retaining devices (TRDs).

  • Mandibular Advancement Devices – MRDs keep your lower jaw slightly further forward than normal, pushing the tongue and tissue out of the way so that you can breathe comfortably during sleep.
  • Tongue-Retaining Devices – TRDs do not move the jaw but instead keep your tongue in place by positioning it forward with a suction cup.

Both types of oral devices can help with snoring and provide improved breathability while asleep. A sleep specialist can suggest which one may work better for you.

How much does a sleep apnea appliance cost?

The cost can vary depending on the type, complexity and material. Over-the-counter oral appliances are typically less expensive than custom-fitted options and range from approximately $40 to $500, with an average cost between $100 and $200.

Custom-made oral appliances range from $400-$2,000+, with an average cost between $1,000 and $1,700 for the device itself plus fittings and follow ups.

Pros/Cons of Mouthpieces


– Can help reduce/eliminate snoring

– Ease of use and more compliant

– More discreet

– Non-invasive treatment and doesn’t require surgery

– Not noisy like CPAP


– Not always effective in treating sleep apnea permanently

– Can cause skin irritation, over-salivating, dry mouth, or difficulty breathing due to the mouth guard fitting incorrectly

– May be expensive

– May need to be replaced periodically

– Possible teeth discomfort and jaw pain


Sleep apnea mouth guards are proven to be a very effective treatment for sleep apnea. Not only do they reduce snoring, but also effectively treat various symptoms of sleep apnea, such as pauses in breathing during the night.

They offer superior comfort and fit compared to other treatments, such as CPAP masks/machines, while being easy to use and maintain. The key is to find the right appliance for sleep apnea that works best for you and your individual needs.

Your doctor can help with this by referring you to a sleep specialist or ENT. If you are newly diagnosed with sleep apnea, you may want to know exactly how a sleep apnea machine works as well.