Are you tired of sleepless nights because of incessant snoring? Or has your partner’s snoring become a nightmare? If so, it’s time you consider an anti-snoring device. This comprehensive blog will focus on one solution in particular: snoring mouthguards.
Why People Snore
Snoring is a common issue experienced by many people. In most cases, it results from restricted airflow during sleep because of the relaxation of throat muscles. Nasal congestion or a specific sleep position may contribute to the problem. However, chronic snoring can also indicate a more severe respiratory disorder called sleep apnoea.
There are two kinds of sleep apnoea: central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea. While central sleep apnea is a neurological issue where the brain is unable to send signals to breathe, obstructive sleep apnea is a more common phenomenon. It arises when the throat muscles overly relax, obstructing the airway. Both conditions interrupt a restful night’s sleep and can result in other health complications if they aren’t treated.
Anti-Snoring Mouth Guards: How They Work
An anti-snoring device is a dental appliance designed to alleviate snoring and moderate sleep apnea symptoms. These anti-snoring mouthguards work by repositioning the lower jaw forward, creating a larger space in the back of the throat and reducing the likelihood of airway obstruction. This action not only helps to alleviate the irritating snoring sound but also contributes to a better night’s sleep.
Two types of snoring mouthguards dominate the market: mandibular advancement devices (MADs) and tongue-retaining devices (TRDs). MADs move the lower jaw forward, while TRDs hold the tongue forward to keep the airway clear.
It’s essential to note that these devices are beneficial for snoring and can improve sleep apnea symptoms, especially for those who struggle with the discomfort of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines.
Boil and Bite Process
The ‘boil and bite’ process is common in fitting many anti-snoring mouthpieces. This process involves softening the mouthguard in hot water and biting into it to create a custom impression of your teeth. This bite process allows the device to mould perfectly to the shape of your teeth, ensuring a comfortable and effective fit.
Potential Side Effects
While using a mouth guard for snoring is generally safe, some users might experience minor side effects such as dry mouth, sore throat, excessive drooling, and temporomandibular disorder (jaw discomfort). It’s also essential to check for well-defined teeth marks, indicating a too-tight device and the potential for loose teeth. Therefore, regular check-ins with a healthcare professional are highly recommended.
The Importance of Regular Cleaning
Regular cleaning of the anti-snoring mouthpiece is crucial to maintain oral health and the device’s effectiveness. It’s recommended to clean the device daily to prevent bacteria buildup that can lead to foul odours, discolouration of the device, and possibly even gum disease.
Alternatives to Mouth Guards
While mouthguards offer a cost-effective treatment designed to reduce snoring, they might not be suitable for everyone. Other options, such as positional therapy, lifestyle changes, and surgical procedures, could be considered in some cases.
Choosing the Right Mouth Guard
Selecting the right mouth guard for snoring involves several considerations. It’s essential to find a device that fits well and comfortably. A poorly fitting mouth guard can cause discomfort and fail to alleviate snoring effectively. An ideal mouth guard should be made from premium copolymer materials that are durable, flexible, and free from harmful substances.
Custom-Fit vs. Over-the-Counter Mouth Guards
Over-the-Counter Anti-Snoring Mouth Guards
Over-the-counter (OTC) anti-snoring mouthguards are readily available without prescription. This accessibility makes them an appealing option for many. They are also considerably less expensive than custom-made options, which can appeal to those on a budget.
OTC mouthguards typically utilise the boil-and-bite process to achieve a semi-custom fit. This process involves softening the mouth guard in hot water before biting down on it to mould it to the shape of your teeth. While not as exact as a custom-fitted device, this can still provide a reasonable degree of comfort and efficacy.
However, there are downsides to OTC options. They tend to last less long, often requiring replacement every few months. Moreover, as they are not custom-made, they may not fit as well, leading to discomfort and reduced effectiveness. They may also cause unwanted side effects, such as jaw pain or changes to the alignment of your teeth and jaw.
Custom-Made Anti-Snoring Mouth Guards
As the name suggests, a custom-made anti-snoring mouth guard is individually designed and produced for your mouth. A dental professional takes teeth impressions, then crafts a perfectly fitting device. These mouthguards offer a precise fit and are typically made from high-quality, durable materials.
While custom-made mouthguards are more expensive but often more comfortable and effective, they also last longer, with many maintaining their quality for one to two years, depending on care and usage.
It’s important to note that both types require cleaning and care to prevent damage and maintain their effectiveness. Always consult a sleep professional before deciding on a mouth guard to ensure it’s the right solution for your needs.
Things to Consider When Selecting a Mouth Guard
As the mouth guard is worn while you sleep, comfort is a key factor to consider. A device that causes discomfort or pain will likely disrupt your sleep more than the snoring itself! Factors such as the material of the mouthguard, the fit, and the size will all impact the comfort level. A custom-made mouthguard may provide the highest comfort level due to its precise fit.
The main goal of a mouth guard is to reduce or eliminate snoring, so it’s essential to select a device proven to be effective. Reading reviews, researching brands, and consulting with a healthcare professional can help identify the most effective devices.
Some mouthguards offer adjustability, allowing you to change the device’s positioning to maximise effectiveness and comfort. This can be particularly advantageous if you’re struggling to find a device that works for you.
Since the mouthguard will be worn every night, it must be durable. Mouthguards can be subjected to significant wear and tear, particularly if you grind your teeth at night. While custom-made options are more durable, many OTC options also offer excellent durability.
Price is a significant consideration for many. While custom-made mouthguards can cost several hundred dollars, OTC options can be as low as $20. However, given the potential impact on your sleep and health, this is one area where investing in a higher-quality option may be worthwhile.
Oral Health and Snoring
Good oral health practices are essential when using a mouth guard. Regular cleaning of the device, ideally after each use, is vital to prevent bacteria buildup. Using a mouth guard should not replace regular oral health practices like brushing and flossing.
In addition to cleaning the mouth guard, you should also monitor your oral health. Regular dental check-ups are crucial, particularly if you’re experiencing side effects from using the tongue retaining device. Some potential side effects to watch out for include changes to your bite, loose teeth, or discomfort in your jaw.
Remember, a mouth guard is a tool to assist with snoring, but it’s not a cure-all. Lifestyle changes like weight management, avoiding alcohol before bed, and changing sleep positions, can also significantly impact snoring.
In summary, a mouth guard for snoring is an effective solution for patients with chronic snoring or obstructive sleep apnea. It provides a non-invasive, affordable alternative to other treatments such as CPAP therapy or surgery.
Remember, choosing the right mouthguard and correct usage are crucial for maximum benefits. If your symptoms carry on, it’s crucial to get some professional medical advice. Remember, snoring can not only meddle with your sleep but also impacts your broader health and your life’s quality.
If you’re fed up with snoring and want to get a good nights sleep, why not arrange a chat with our seasoned crew at Melbourne Dental Sleep Clinic? We’re here to help you discover the most effective way to combat your snoring, setting you on the path towards enhanced sleep and overall wellbeing.