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Council on Dental Practice - Dentistry's Role in Sleep Related Breathing Disorders

The House of Delegates approved an American Dental Association (ADA) policy statement addressing dentistry’s role in sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBD), developed as a result of a 2015 resolution calling for the action.

The adopted policy statement outlines the role of dentists in treating SRBD. Key components include assessing a patient’s risk for SRBD as part of a comprehensive medical and dental history and referring affected patients to appropriate physicians; evaluating the appropriateness of oral appliance therapy (OAT) as prescribed by a physician and providing OAT for mild and moderate sleep apnea when a patient does not tolerate a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device; recognizing and managing OAT side effects; continually updating dental sleep medicine knowledge and training; and communicating patients’ treatment progress with the referring physician and other healthcare providers.

The Role of Dentistry in Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders (PDF)

The Council on Scientific Affairs formed the Oral Appliance Evidence Workgroup and produced an evidence brief, Oral Appliances for Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders, which was used as background to draft this policy.  The objective of this brief was to provide a summary of recent literature for the use of oral appliances in the management of sleep-related breathing disorders, principally obstructive sleep apnea.  This brief reviewed clinical practice guidelines from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine/American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, which found that patient adherence with oral appliances was better than that for CPAP and that oral appliances have fewer adverse effects that result in discontinuation of therapy, compared with CPAP.

Evidence Brief: Oral Appliances for Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders (PDF)

More information on sleep apnea and snoring is available on MouthHealthy.