AASM Updated Guidelines for OSA Treatment with Oral Appliance Therapy

Share this:

AASM Updated Guidelines for OSA Treatment with Oral Appliance Therapy

The American Association of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has outlined a number of guidelines pertaining to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and Continuous Open Airway Therapy® (COAT).

One of these guidelines is that COAT can be a very effective treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea.

For more severe sleep apnea, Continuous Open Airway Therapy® may not be the preferred option, but for patients who are not able to tolerate CPAP treatment it may present a viable alternative. The reason for this is that even though a CPAP machine may keep the airway open more effectively, the oral appliance central to COAT treatment will usually have some degree of efficacy. This amended efficacy will provide health outcomes preferable to no treatment at all – which is what may happen for patients struggling with CPAP.

Another of the AASM guidelines is that dentists should be well-trained in oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea to:

         Adjust the COAT device correctly

         Minimize side effects

         Communicate back to the sleep physician

This communication between dentist and physician is a very important part of the patient’s overall treatment.

Dentists and physicians should work together as a team to continuously monitor the success of the patient’s treatment both in the short term and the long term. Among the concerns outlined in the guidelines put forth by the American Association of Sleep Medicine is that the health outcomes of patients are monitored as well as their apnea index, how well the patient is sleeping, and how readily the patient is able to adhere to their treatment.

Dental Sleep Medicine – AASM Updated Guidelines

  1. It is recommended that sleep physicians prescribe COAT rather than no therapy for adult patients who request treatment of primary snoring
  2. When COAT is prescribed by a sleep physician for an adult patient with OSA, it is strongly suggested that a qualified dentist us a custom, titratable oral device over non-custom oral devices.
  3. It is recommended that sleep physicians consider prescription of an oral device, rather than no treatment, for adult patients with OSA who are intolerant of CPAP therapy or prefer alternate therapy.
  4. It is suggested that qualified dentists provide oversight rather than no follow-up of COAT in adult patients with OSA to survey for dental-related side effects or occlusal changes and reduce their incidence.
  5.  It is suggested that sleep physicians conduct follow-up sleep testing to improve or confirm treatment efficacy, rather than conduct follow-up without sleep testing, for patients fitted with an oral device.
  6.  It is suggested that sleep physicians and qualified dentists instruct adult patients treated with COAT for OSA to return for periodic office visits as opposed to no follow-up with a qualified dentist and sleep physician.

SomnoMed has a strong history of supporting both the AASM and AADSM in their treatment guidelines. Our world class devices are custom designed with your patients comfort at the top of mind as we strongly believe that comfort equals compliance. We are also helping to increase the collaboration between dentists and physicians, which will improve the sleep health of patients suffering from OSA. For more on how dentists and physicians can more easily work together as a team, visit somnomed.com

SomnoMed is the global leader in COAT (Continuous Open Airway Therapy)®, and has innovated OSA treatment options since 2004.  Our world class devices are designed with patient comfort as priority, and we are proud to have the best support and service system for our dentists and your patients.  Learn more by clicking here, or call 1-888-447-6673. If you would like more resources for your practice, join SomAdvantage for access to exclusive free training and resources for building your sleep practice.


 Ramar K, Cort L, Katz S, Lettieri C, Harrod C, Thomas S, Chervin, R. Clinical Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Snoring with Oral Appliance Therapy An Update for 2015. J Clin Sleep Med. 2015 Jul 15;11(7):773-827

Veasey SC1, Guilleminault C, Strohl KP, Sanders MH, Ballard RD, Magalang UJ. Medical therapy for obstructive sleep apnea: a review by the Medical Therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Task Force of the Standards of Practice Committee of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.  2006 Aug;29(8):1036-44.

Share this: