Mandibular advancement splints (MAS) (AKA oral appliances, AKA occlusal splints) promise a lighter-weight alternative to CPAP machines + a power source. For backpackers, carrying a heavy 60lb battery makes it virtually impossible to do backpacking while getting good sleep. So MAS devices are a particularly attractive alternative for backpackers.
- MAS devices are relatively new, and although there are a decent number of studies that find they're an effective alternative to CPAP, these devices are still the subject of active research to determine their actual efficacy (as of 2015). Also, the devices are effective for only ~70% of patients.
- The typical cost is $2000 - $3500. Insurance may cover some or all of this.
- Different types of MAS devices
- The second page gives some credence to ethylene-vinyl acetate! (Ctrl+F for "boil and bite")
- I can fabricate plastic parts (thanks hackerspace!). However, fabrication isn't the only reason for the high cost. Dental expertise is still needed for two reasons:
- Long-term use does cause the teeth to move. If done correctly, these changes are minimal and aren't clinically significant. However, it's not inconceivable that these changes could be harmful.
- The mechanism of action isn't entirely understood. Where it's understood, we know that obstructive sleep apnea originates in multiple places in the mouth. Unless you have a way to create many iterations of the device, and are able to perform effective sleep studies on yourself, it's less likely that someone without upper airway expertise would be able to fabricate an effective device.
Steps to fabricate my own: