Updated: Dec 16, 2020
By stenting the human oral airway open to a position of optimal flow, oral appliances have been demonstrated to be effective at treating obstructive sleep apnea. The human oral airway is a three dimensional anatomic structure, basically a flexible tube, unsupported by bone or other hard tissue and its integrity is maintained by neuromuscular control. Its collapse during sleep results in apnea. An oral appliance positioned in the mouth during sleep, affects neuromuscular changes in the pharynx, an anatomic structure not in the mouth but downstream from the mouth. This is a complex situation determined originally by evolutionary changes in the human head.