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OPAP or Oral Positive Airway Pressure involves the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea from those with mild to severe sleep apnea. The OPAP involves the use of a specific dental appliance that facilitates the air to move freely between the mouth and the lungs. The OPAP device is preferred for those patients who do not find themselves comfortable using CPAP.


Most of the patients find the mask that is used as a part of CPAP therapy as inconvenient or unwieldy during sleep. Thus non-compliance is high with CPAP users. They tend to feel claustrophobic, suffer from headache, sinusitis or even sometimes eye irritation. In such cases, the Oral Positive Airway Pressure device comes in as a rescue and is considered to be a very effective alternative.

What is this appliance?

This OPAP device used as a part of this therapy is a dental device. A very important observation from all patients suffering from sleep apnea is that, there is a problem in the passage of air from face to the lungs. This blockage primarily in the throat disrupts the airflow, which in turn results in sleep apnea.

The OPAP device is made in such a way that it adjusts and opens the jaw and enables the smooth flow of air in the passage. This helps the patient to breathe smoothly while sleeping. And unlike a mask, the OPAP is just inserted into the mouth. This also helps in correcting any deformities of the mandible. The OPAP can also be connected to a CPAP or BiPAP machine.

Before the dentist or orthodontist fits this device on the patient, they do an examination to find whether the patient could adapt to such a device or not. This could involve a Sonography too. Each device is unique for each patient. As such, the dentist takes an impression of the mandible and then prepares the device. It is important to note that the OPAP can also be used by patients who do not have teeth.

Since the teeth impressions are unique for each patient, the device made to fit comfortably to prevent non-compliance. Once the patient is using the OPAP, the physician can also do a polysomnography to check the results of the device in treating their sleep apnea.

Advantages of OPAP

1. It is much more comfortable than many other devices.
2. It helps in preventing claustrophobia and relieves the patient from headaches or sinuses.
3. It does not require any additional help to use this device. It can be used by patients themselves.

Disadvantages of OPAP

1. Since the mouth remains open while sleeping this can result in drying of the mouth
2. An open mouth can also lead to too much secretion of saliva.
3. If a CPAP device is connected along with this, then it be uncomfortable for the patient while breathing out air.

The disadvantages of OPAP can be easily addressed. The dry mouth problem can be reduced using a humidifier. The saliva problem can be reduced with regular use of the device over time. The breathing trouble can be reduced by using the Bi Positive Airway Pressure Device or BiPAP.