An oral sleep apnea appliance is used to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a disorder that is distinguished by short pauses in breathing during sleep and is often accompanied by loud snoring or a choking sound. This is caused by blockage of the airway when the person is trying to breathe. If left untreated, it can cause serious conditions like high blood pressure, heart attacks, or strokes.
Patients with sleep apnea may be a candidate for the oral appliance instead of other, bulkier devices like a CPAP. An oral appliance pulls the lower jaw forward, which enlarges the airway to allow for easier breathing.