Mandibular Advancement Splint (MAS)
The Mandibular Advancement Splint (MAS) is a dental appliance that is worn on the teeth (like a mouthguard) during sleep. The dental splint is used to pull the jaw forward and help open the airway and minimise the severity of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Scientific evidence shows that MAS is effective in treating a range of severities of OSA and reduce snoring.
Mechanism of a MAS
The MAS consists of two splints that are worn over the upper and lower teeth. The two plates are connected in such a way that the device pushes the lower jaw forward relative to the upper jaw’s position. In most cases, this helps to open up the airway and preventing the surrounding soft tissue from collapsing. The device typically repositions the user’s lower jaw (mandible) by about 8 to 10mm, which is generally enough to keep the airway open.
If the sleep physician recommends MAS, you will need to visit your dentist who will take you through a thorough examination to assess your suitability, as well as choice of device. The dentist will study your medical and dental history, advise of the potential side effects and post-treatment care. If your current dentist does not provide MAS services you may contact our office who will be able to provide you with details of dentists in your area who are capable of assisting sleep apnea patients with MAS.
Possible side effects
It typically takes several weeks to become comfortable wearing MAS. The most common symptom is discomfort in the jaw muscles and the temporomandibular joint. Other negative effect may be excessive saliva and gum tenderness.
In most cases, a properly fitted oral appliance should not cause prolonged discomfort, which emphasises the need to purchase a MAS from a dentist, rather than a store bought device.
Different people have different facial structures and airways. As such, it is difficult to determine whether an oral appliance will work for your particular situation. This is where a sleep physician and a dentist can help determine whether anatomical structures (as well as the severity and type of sleep apnea) would be suitable for MAS.
Watch this video for more information on dental devices for treating obstructive sleep apnea.