What are snoring appliances? In a nutshell, they are removable devices that fit into your mouth when you go to bed. They help keep your airways open to control snoring. Sometimes, they can be an effective treatment for people suffering from sleep apnea. They are also called oral appliances or dental devices, and are fitted by a dentist. They look like mouth guards that are worn by boxers and footballers.
How Snoring Appliances Work
- They pull forward the lower jaw to create more room for air flow during sleep.
- They re-position the tongue and the other throat tissues. This ensures that when the uvula (the bean-shaped tissue at the back of your mouth), the tongue and other tissues at the back of the throat relax, they do not collapse and block the airways. Snoring and sleep apnea is prevented when air flows smoothly.
Advantages of Using Snoring Appliances
- Comfortable: Especially to people who can’t stand the mask of CPAP machines.
- Portable: Since they are removable, you can travel with them and even sleep in an airplane without having to worry that you will snore.
- Flexible: You can remove the device anytime you like.
- Customizable: Through your dentist’s measurements, each appliance is custom made to fit your jaw.
Desirable Features to Look For
- Inquire first what components make up the snoring appliance that you are to be fitted with. Avoid snoring/oral appliances that are made of metal nuts and bolts. In case of an accident around your jaw area, the appliance can break your teeth.
- When shopping for an oral appliance, always place more priority on those devices that allow you to adjust them while they are already fitted in the mouth.
- The appliance should not hinder you from doing normal activities like talking.
- Since they are custom designed for you, they can be quite expensive. Make sure insurance covers it. There are other stop snoring mouthpieces on the market if your insurance doesn’t cover it, though they are usually one size fits all. Also, these commercial versions are mainly designed only for snoring, not sleep apnea.
Do not forget to clean your device regularly. Most dentists will offer accompanying gels.
Types of Snoring Appliances and How They Work:
Mandibular Adjustment Devices (MAD):
These devices are also called jaw advancers or mandibular splints. These work by pulling the lower jaw forward so that it does not collapse when muscle relaxation occurs during sleep. The airway is thus clear and airflow is not obstructed.
Some side-effects of Mandibular Adjustment Devices:
- Facial pains in the earlier stages of fitting the device.
- Salivating more than usual: happens a lot during the earlier stages of treatment.
- Tongue bites: This is because of the re-adjustment of the jaws.
With these kinds of effects, it is often advisable that a person seeks medical advice from a dentist so that the MAD can be adjusted to the person’s specifications.
Tongue Retaining Devices
These devices adjusts the tongue and brings it forward. This way, the back of the tongue does not collapse and no blockage of the airway occurs. With no blockage, snoring does not happen.
You can have a tongue retaining device customized so that you can close your mouth and sleep in a natural way.
Who should use a tongue retaining device?
- People with very long tongues: The device has an enlarged posterior that accommodates the outer tongue well.
- People with few teeth, no teeth or removable teeth: The device is placed on the gums.
You shouldn’t use them if you have allergies or congested sinuses that force you to breathe using your mouth.