Hi, I am Robert Bates
I have a snoring problem. Well, actually I had a snoring problem. Snoring is not a joke though [...]
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Choosing The Best Anti-Snoring Device
If you have been looking for a snoring solution for any amount of time then I’m sure you must have seen at least a few mouthpieces already. Just by seeing a few of these devices you can tell that there can be a lot of differences between them.
Typically this is one of the most effective snoring solutions available. However, if you’re wondering if there are some junk products out there too, you are correct.
That is why you need to know what you are looking at. Just because a product is being sold as an anti-snoring mouthpiece, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good one, that it will work for you, or even that it even works at all.
Oral appliances are one of the oldest and most developed kinds of snoring solutions. Doctors, dentists, and designers have had a lot of time to get the kinks worked out. This is definitely a good thing for you.
What brought about these devices is the actual process behind snoring. Once people realized that just trying to stop the snoring sound is not enough, they began to look at what caused it.
Today we all laugh when we see things on TV like a spouse putting a clothespin on their partner’s nose or covering their head with a pillow.
Unfortunately there was not much else you could do about snoring at one point. I would like to point out that I do not recommend either of those options though. If you snore, please do not put a clothespin on your nose as a quick fix. If your partner snores, please do not put a clothespin on their nose. I can speak from experience when I say they will not appreciate that, I know I didn’t.
Now, basically there are two kinds of oral appliances that can help to keep you from snoring. They each work in different ways.
The first is called a jaw retaining or jaw holding mouthpiece.
The second is called a tongue retaining or tongue holding mouthpiece.
Type 1 – Jaw Retaining
These are oral devices that work by moving your jaw into a certain position and keeping it there during sleep. Today most jaw retaining mouthpieces use a simple boil and bite fitting process.
If you have ever used an athletic mouth guard and molded it to your teeth then you already know exactly what I’m talking about. In fact, most of these devices resemble an athletic mouth guard.
A Rough Start
For a long time medical professionals were convinced that snoring was caused directly by the jaw. This can be true, but the keyword is can be. The oldest jaw retainers I have seen were made of nothing more than dental wire and very hard plastic.
Basically the old ones looked more like dental retainers. This may be because each one had to be created and fitted on a custom basis by your dentist. Some of these things ended up costing a few thousand dollars by the time they were done.
You had to pay for materials, examinations, fitting, and every hour the dentist put into it. Keep in mind that most insurance companies would not cover these devices.
Can you guess what happened if it didn’t work? You had to start the process all over again. Needless to say, at this stage the device didn’t gain much popularity.
After some time had passed, jaw holding oral appliances were eventually sold directly to the people who wanted them like you and I. At this point, they became much less expensive, but it was literally impossible to have each one fitted by a dental professional.
This is where the boil and bite process came in. By making the mouthpiece out of what they call a thermoplastic, each one could be custom fitted at no cost by the snorer.
Once these devices had been produced by private corporations for a while, the competition factor kicked in. This is always a great thing. Prices dropped even further, but what I love about competition is that it makes businesses improve their products.
Eventually, snorers everywhere had a variety of options available. You could get anything from a basic boil and bite mouth guard all the way up to a device made of two separate moldable pieces with micro adjustments and titanium screws. I’m not making that up.
How Well They Really Work
Jaw holding devices are effective if you snore because of your jaw or something your jaw is directly involved in.
The problem is that only so many people snore because of their jaw. There are many other things that can cause snoring. Just to throw an example out there for you, you can snore because of something as simple as large throat structures.
There doesn’t have to be anything out of place, just things being larger than average can be enough to make you snore.
However, I do respect the jaw retainer as a snoring solution. There are some junk products out there that shouldn’t even be sold, but there are a lot more good ones. A decent mouthpiece will probably help around 70% of people.
Notice how I said help, not cure. That 70% would probably see a reduction in snoring, but I doubt it would stop completely.
Risks and Side Effects – Ouch!
There are some things you need to be aware of if you are considering this kind of mouth guard. I would like to make something clear though.
Soreness in your mouth and jaw
You should expect some soreness in your mouth and jaw for the first week or two if you start using a jaw holder. This is natural. It just takes your body a little while to get used to something else being there.
If this pain lasts longer than a week or two then you need to proceed carefully, if at all. This kind of device can cause long term jaw pain.
They can also cause facial pain and give you an over or under bite. Once you have developed these issues it becomes your dentist’s problem. At that point he or she is the only one that can help you.
There are some other miscellaneous things you should know about. For example, you always want to make sure that the material in your device is at least hypoallergenic, or better yet FDA approved.
If you get something that is just one solid piece you may have some issues with your saliva, as in drooling like a mastiff in your sleep. When this happens there are really only two ways it can go:
Option 1 is you wake up with a wet pillow and possibly an angry partner.
Option 2 is you wake up because you’re choking on your own saliva.
You really don’t win either way. This is not as much of a concern with newer devices and it doesn’t happen with most two piece designs.
Do you have gag reflex?
Also, if you have any kind of noticeable gag reflex you will probably not have much fun with this kind of oral device. A lot of them, especially the cheaper ones extend all the way back to cover your molars.
Since the design of these devices has advanced so much from the originals, these problems have been becoming rarer and rarer. The improvements in materials and the newer adjustment features are what have really helped.
Type 2 – Tongue Retaining
Tongue retaining mouthpieces are kind of like the new kid on the block, if the new kid on the block helped you get a great night’s sleep safely and comfortably. Unfortunately my neighbors’ children seem to be set on keeping everyone in the neighborhood awake at night, but that’s another story.
As a whole, tongue holding devices are very comfortable and work extremely well for a very high percentage of people. They usually do not need to be fitted, and in my opinion they look much better while you are asleep.
You also really don’t need to worry about gagging or choking because of the way they work.
How They Work
Typically, a tongue retainer will attach to the tip of your tongue in some way. The most popular way is with a little bit of a vacuum created by a cup or tube that fits over the very tip of your tongue. That is why some of these devices actually resemble a baby’s pacifier.
The tongue is very large when compared to everything else in your mouth and throat. It only takes a little thought to see that if you move your tongue, you can open up a lot of space.
Instead of letting your tongue just flop around while you sleep, this appliance will gently pull your tongue forward to keep your airway open.
Eventually, medical professionals realized that the jaw is not always the main cause of snoring. They found that the tongue is often one of the biggest causes of snoring. These devices were originally created less than a decade ago. However, the initial designs were actually very effective.
These appliances quickly became available to people everywhere via the internet. This led to almost immediate competition and these devices are already improving. There really wasn’t anything wrong with them in the first place, but they keep getting better.
This is where tongue retaining devices really shine. The highest effectiveness is claimed to at least 90% with roughly half to two thirds of those actually eliminating their snoring problem. That’s pretty impressive compared to any jaw retainer.
There is one other point I would like to tell you more about. You are probably familiar with what a CPAP is. Some CPAP users have been able to switch to this device. Surely you also know how serious the problem has to be for someone to end up with a CPAP in the first place.
I would have to say that is one of the most impressive things about these appliances. They deserve every bit of it when I say they are extremely effective and they can back it up with clinical proof.
A Very Safe Option
When it comes to risks and side effects, you really can’t beat a tongue retainer. I’m not exaggerating. If you have a gag reflex, you have nothing to worry about.
No part of one of these appliances will go near your throat. You do not have to worry about your teeth, jaw, face, or bite issues either.
This kind of devices only touches your tongue and the outside of your lips. The worst thing one of these can directly cause is a tender spot on the tip of your tongue, and that usually lasts less than a week.
These devices are as close to risk free as you can get with a snoring solution. I personally have never had a bad experience with one and I have not heard of any horror stories from other users.
Some people just don’t like them, but there are also some people that just don’t like pizza, ice cream, and football.
The mouthpiece is my method of choice to prevent snoring. If you decide to go with an oral appliance make sure you read my article about the Good Morning Snore Solution. That’s the one I use and I have a lot of good reasons for making that choice. It also happens to be one of the few tongue retaining solutions available.
One of the unique advantages of using these products is that this device effectively treats multiple causes of snoring. This is truer for ones that hold your tongue. Other solutions tend to focus on only one cause or another. If your snoring is caused by more than one thing then a tongue correcting device is definitely the way to go.
One of these is also ideal for you if your snoring is caused by your tongue. A tongue retaining product will hold your tongue in place properly and keep it from hanging back towards your throat. However, the jaw retaining kind cannot do this.
If you sleep with your mouth open then this kind of solution will also benefit you. In this case the mouthpiece keeps you from snoring by keeping your mouth in the proper position. This is true for both varieties of these products.
Generally speaking, I believe that a tongue retaining device will outperform a jaw retainer any day of the week. They work for an enormous percentage of people and there is a very good chance one will work for you.
Some of them have even been shown to be effective in treating sleep apnea, which is far worse than regular snoring. Could a jaw holding mouthpiece keep you from snoring? Yes, it could but your odds are better with the tongue holding variety.
This is my opinion, but research has also shown tongue retaining appliances to be the more effective snoring solution, just in case you don’t believe me.
When anyone asks me for advice about snoring I always suggest looking into a tongue retaining device. They are cutting edge, they are the most effective, and they are the most comfortable solution out there in my opinion.
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