Oral Appliance Therapy for Sleep Apnea

Dr. Dexter is the first Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine (ABDSM) in Eugene, Oregon and Lane County. ABDSM is the leading testing organization in the United States for dentists who treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy (OAT).

While CPAP is the standard treatment for sleep apnea, the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) estimates up to 50 percent of sleep apnea patients do not comply with or tolerate CPAP. Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option that offers a higher rate of patient compliance than CPAP. 

Dr. Dexter works with sleep physicians to identify the right oral appliance design, then custom fit appliances to each patient and make any needed adjustments to ensure an open airway and a more restful sleep.


What is Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT)?

Oral Appliance Therapy, OAT, is an effective and non-invasive treatment alternative to the traditionally prescribed CPAP machine regardless of severity level. In contrast to a CPAP machine, oral appliances are mouth guard-like devices worn only during sleep to maintain an open, unobstructed airway. Effective oral appliances are formed from custom dental impressions, fitted and adjusted by Dr. Dexter to ensure proper fit and maximum effectiveness. 

OAT can be prescribed to patients looking for a convenient and effective treatment for sleep apnea right off the bat or those who aren’t consistently using their CPAP or other sleep apnea treatments.

Travel Friendly OAT, Oral Appliance Therapy for Sleep Apnea

Worn while sleeping, a custom-fitted oral appliance will shift your jaw forward to open the airway for better breathing.

How does OAT work?

An oral appliance works to open the airway by positioning the jaw forward and holding it in place. There is a “sweet spot” in advancing the jaw where you get the maximum benefit of airway opening with the minimum of manageable side effects, such as jaw and muscle pain.

The positioning and stabilization of the jaw help hold the tongue and other tissues at the back of the mouth and throat in place, keeping them from collapsing back and obstructing the airway.


OAT Benefits

Closure and blockage of the airway during sleep result in disruption of sleep and a drop in oxygen. These events can cause microarousals, respiratory distress, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and disrupted non-restorative sleep. 

An oral appliance can keep the airway open, allowing the oxygen levels to be maintained and restorative sleep functions to stabilize. 

Because of the ease and comfort of use, oral appliance therapy has a higher compliance rate when compared to CPAP therapy. This significant increase in compliance is a factor in determining the effectiveness of care.

Oral appliances are also comfortable, quiet, portable, easy to use and care for, and convenient for travel. Additionally, they do not restrict movements while sleeping, work with any sleeping position, can be used for patients who are CPAP intolerant, do not require electricity, and have no consumable parts to replace.   

OAT Treatment Process


Evaluate your sleep health, determine if you are a candidate for OAT, and discuss home sleep testing.


After sleep apnea is diagnosed by a sleep physician, a prescription is written for oral appliance therapy (OAT), provided by Dr. Dexter. Dr. Dexter will work with you to select the best oral appliance for your needs.

Making and Fitting

Dr. Dexter will custom-fit the device using impressions and models of your teeth. Once the oral appliance is custom-made by a qualified dental lab, you will return to our office for a fitting and learn how to properly wear and care for your device, including its warranty. 

Follow-Up Visits

First follow-up visit is two weeks post-fitting to make any required adjustments to ensure an open airway and a more restful sleep. Your sleep physician receives periodic updates on your treatment.

Think you have Sleep Apnea?

Don’t lose your best days to restless nights. Better health starts with healthy sleep. Take a short sleep risk test to determine your risk.

Oral Appliance Therapy vs. CPAP

Covered by most insurance
FDA Approved
First line treatment for Mild to Moderate Sleep Apnea
Sleep position does not effect therapy
Does not irritate facial skin or facial hair
Better compliance (up to 60% of CPAP users are not compliant)
Better bedtime aesthetics
Comfortable to wear
Custom Fit
Easy to Clean
Higher patient compliance rate
Sleeps in any Position



Donald R. Dexter, Jr., DMD