SomnoSeal: Enhancing Nasal Breathing and Sleep Therapy Comfort

Dr. Kimberly Hutchison explains how SomnoSeal addresses the challenges of mouth leaks in CPAP and oral appliance therapies.


by Kimberly Hutchison, MD, FAASM


In the realm of sleep dentistry, the management of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a critical focus. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy and oral appliance therapy (OAT) are common interventions, but they often come with challenges, particularly for patients who breathe through their mouths. The innovative SomnoSeal device offers a groundbreaking solution to these challenges, enhancing therapy efficacy and patient comfort.

The Backstory of SomnoSeal

The inception of SomnoSeal stemmed from a pressing need to address the discomfort and ineffectiveness caused by mouth leaks during CPAP therapy. Traditional solutions, such as chin straps, mouth tape, and full-face masks, were not well-tolerated due to discomfort. Thus, the development of SomnoSeal was propelled by a sleep medicine physician on the quest for a more patient-friendly solution. Designed to comfortably seal the lips from the inside, SomnoSeal creates a closed system, ensuring that the pressurized air from the CPAP machine is directed solely through the nasal and posterior pharyngeal passages.

SomnoSeal and OAT

Oral appliance therapy, another common treatment for OSA, can also benefit from the integration of SomnoSeal. While oral appliances are effective in maintaining an open airway by repositioning the jaw, they do not address the issue of mouth breathing. SomnoSeal complements oral appliance therapy by encouraging patients to breathe through their noses, thereby increasing the therapy’s overall effectiveness. It offers a comfortable alternative to mouth tape, which some patients find intolerable or inconvenient.

SomnoSeal and CPAP Therapy

SomnoSeal enables mouth breathers to comfortably utilize smaller, nasal or nasal pillow style CPAP masks, which are generally better tolerated than full-face masks, enhancing both comfort and compliance in therapy. Mouth leaks in CPAP therapy can significantly reduce the treatment’s effectiveness. Air escaping through the mouth leads to a decrease in the necessary airway pressure, resulting in suboptimal treatment outcomes. SomnoSeal addresses this issue by promoting nasal breathing and preventing mouth leaks. SomnoSeal not only enhances the efficacy of CPAP therapy but also alleviates the discomfort associated with dry mouth and sore throat, common side effects of mouth breathing during CPAP use.

Encouraging Nasal Breathing

Nasal breathing plays a crucial role in effective sleep apnea therapy. It not only helps in maintaining optimal oxygen levels but also contributes to better sleep quality. Nasal breathing warms and filters the air, making it more conducive to healthy respiration. By promoting nasal breathing, SomnoSeal helps ensure that patients receive the full therapeutic benefits of their treatment, whether through CPAP or oral appliance therapy.

The Advantages of SomnoSeal Over Traditional Mouth Closure Modalities

In the landscape of sleep apnea treatment, the introduction of SomnoSeal marks a significant improvement over existing mouth closure methods such as chinstraps and mouth tape. These traditional modalities, while effective to an extent, come with their own set of drawbacks that can affect the overall treatment experience and efficacy.

Chinstraps: Compromising Airway Patency

Chinstraps, often used to prevent mouth breathing during sleep, have a critical downside. By design, they can inadvertently pull the lower jaw backward. This backward movement of the jaw can exacerbate obstructive breathing, especially in patients with sleep apnea where airway patency is already a concern. The resultant effect can be a reduced effectiveness of CPAP. Patients with a history of TMJ disorders are more at risk with chinstraps also.

Mouth Tape: Challenges and Limitations

Mouth tape, another common solution for mouth leaks, presents its own set of challenges. Firstly, removing mouth tape can be difficult, especially in an emergency or groggy state upon waking. Secondly, it can cause skin irritation, making it uncomfortable for users with sensitive skin. Furthermore, mouth tape often fails to adhere properly in the presence of facial hair, limiting its applicability and effectiveness for a significant portion of patients.

“SomnoSeal promotes nasal breathing and prevents mouth leaks.”

SomnoSeal: Comfort, Discretion, and Practicality

SomnoSeal is designed to circumvent these issues effectively. Its key benefits include:

  • Comfort: SomnoSeal is engineered to be comfortable for all-night wear, avoiding the discomfort associated with chinstraps and skin irritation common with mouth tape.
  • Discretion: The in-mouth design of SomnoSeal is discreet, making it less obtrusive and more aesthetically acceptable to users compared to bulkier chinstraps or visible mouth tape.
  • Reusability and Affordability: With a lifespan similar to CPAP masks, SomnoSeal is reusable and needs replacement only about every 90 days, making it an affordable and sustainable option.
  • Compatibility: Unlike mouth tape, SomnoSeal is compatible with facial hair, ensuring effective use across a diverse patient population.
  • No Compromise on Breathing: Importantly, SomnoSeal does not compromise the natural position of the jaw, ensuring that there is no additional risk of exacerbating obstructive breathing patterns during sleep. It ensures that the mouth remains closed enhancing comfort and oral health.

By addressing the limitations of chinstraps and mouth tape, SomnoSeal stands out as a more patient-friendly, effective, and practical solution. Its ability to enhance comfort, ensure therapy compliance, and maintain airway patency without the drawbacks of traditional modalities positions it as a superior choice in mouth closure solutions.


The SomnoSeal device represents a significant advancement in the management of obstructive sleep apnea by addressing the challenges of mouth leaks in CPAP and oral appliance therapies. Its emphasis on promoting nasal breathing and eliminating dry mouth makes it a valuable tool for sleep dentists and their patients.

As sleep dentistry evolves, devices like SomnoSeal play a pivotal role in refining treatment strategies and improving the quality of life for those suffering from sleep apnea. Its development is not just a leap forward in sleep medicine technology; it also represents a significant stride forward in the collaboration between sleep medicine and sleep dentistry.

The SomnoSeal is now available for online purchase. For detailed information, including professional bulk discounts, visit Additionally, explore for an extensive range of educational and patient empowerment tools, including the interactive CPAP101 online course, a library of informative videos, and our weekly ‘Sleep Bytes’ video series.

SomnoSeal can help patients who use CPAP or oral appliance therapy. Read another treatment option in “A New Technique for Fabricating a Mandibular Advancement Device in the Edentulous CPAP-Resistant Patient” by Dr. Richard Dunn here:

SomnoSealKimberly Hutchison, MD, FAASM, serves as an associate professor of neurology and sleep medicine at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, OR. Her diverse work spans clinical practices in neurology and sleep medicine and spearheading a remote sleep medicine program in Saipan for the underserved. Focused on improving sleep apnea care, Dr. Hutchison developed the SomnoSeal device to enhance treatment compliance. She also founded, an educational hub offering resources like the CPAP101 course and weekly sleep-related videos. Discover more about her groundbreaking work at and learn about SomnoSeal at

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