Questions / Answers

Q & A’s To Help Take The Mystery Out Of Snoring Mouthpieces

These are a list of questions I have and others have asked of me over the years. Hopefully the answers will help you in your research.

If you have any other questions please touch base via the CONTACT page. I wish to add to the content here so we can all benefit from the discussion.

Q: How do I know MAD’s or TSD’s are safe to use?
A: If a country’s governing body eg; FDA, has cleared the device then you can be rest assured they are considered safe under the following conditions:

  • Ensure the product is only used for its intended purpose
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use it.
  • You don’t have a pre existing health issue, for example, loose teeth TMJ, gum disease or any other medical condition that could be adversely affected by using one of these devices.

Q: Are mouthpieces made of safe materials?
A: Only ever use a mouthpiece that has some form of government clearance or approval attached to it. Most counties in the world will have government control’s governing their use. In the USA the FDA is the governing body. If you are purchasing a mouthpiece in the USA make sure it has FDA clearance. This will ensure it doesn’t contain materials like BPA’s and will be safe to insert in your mouth.

Q: Why is shipping so expensive?
A: To be honest I can see no rationale answer to this question. It is not hard to form the opinion some manufacturers add a little extra to the shipping to cover “costs”. This is just my opinion of course but sometimes the shipping fees are just excessive. Most mouthpieces are shipped from the USA and if you live internationally it can be a big pill to swallow. If I ever have to contact a manufacturer it will invariably be about shipping costs.

Q: What causes snoring?
A: When we sleep the muscles and soft tissue [uvula] in the rear of our throat relax and can restrict the air passage. In addition, our tongues also go into relax mode, falling backwards into the rear of the throat. This combination of soft tissue and tongue can cause a narrowing of the air passage and as the air tries to push past into our lungs it vibrates into a sound we more commonly know as snoring.
Excess weight [around the neck], alcohol, sleeping pills, deviated septum’s, nasal polyps, over enlarged tonsils can also trigger snoring.

Cross section showing restricted air passage

A typical blocked air passage

 

Q: Can I use a mouthpiece to treat [OSA] Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
A: The manufacturers do not recommend you use oral devices as the sole treatment of OSA. Despite this I have also experienced personal feedback from some people, plus read in forums, of people who have used them in conjunction with the more traditional treatments for OSA. Part time use when on short holidays, weekends away, sleep overs etc. A personal decision.

Q: Can I use a mouthpiece to treat Central Sleep Apnea [CSA] ?
A: No – not under any circumstance. CSA is a lung/brain issue and not the same as OSA

Q: I wear dentures, can I use a mouthpieces?
A1: Tongue Stabilizing Device [TSD]: Yes – TSD’s do not apply any pressure to teeth gums or the jaw.
A2: Mandibular Advancement Device [MAD]: No – Most MAD manufacturer’s will officially advise you should not use their device if you wear a denture. The denture must be in to be able to use a MAD and the force applied could dislodge the denture. It could also damage the denture due to the amount of pressure applied on the teeth to advance the lower jaw.

Q: I have crowns, caps, bridge work, loose teeth, can I wear mouthpiece?
A1: Tongue Stabilizing Device [TSD]: Yes – TSD’s do not apply any pressure to teeth gums or the jaw.
A2: Mandibular Advancement Device [MAD]: No – Most manufactures would rather you not use their devices if you have extensive dental, bridge, caps, crowns or loose teeth due to the pressures applied to the teeth. However I have heard from a number of people who in fact have used them successfully provided the dental work they have is at the rear of the mouth because most of the pressure is applied to the front teeth not the back teeth. Not something I am recommending to you…..just providing information. It will be a personal decision.

Perhaps read this post about bridges, crowns, partial dentures, I have written about these specific issues.

Q: How does an Mandibular Advancement Device [MAD] stop snoring?
A: The MAD mouthpieces work to stop snoring by surrounding the teeth of both the upper and lower rows with some form of molding then moving the lower jaw in a forward advancement. This advancement can be either static or adjustable.
The lower jaw is known as the mandibular and the effect of moving it forward opens up the air passage in the rear of the throat. This forward movement of the jaw also promotes a movement of the tongue forward, allowing air to flow more freely and stop the vibrations at the rear of the throat which we more commonly known as snoring.

Q: How does a Tongue Stabilizing Device [TSD] stop snoring?
A: The TSD works by pulling then holding the tongue forward and away from the rear of the throat. This opens up the air passage avoiding the snoring vibrations caused by the narrowing.
The tongue is inserted into the bulb at the front of the mouthpiece and a sucking and slight pressure force is applied to the bulb which in turn holds the tongue comfortably in place.
It does not move the mandibular [lower jaw] forward in the same way as the MAD mouthpieces and as a result applies little to no pressure to the teeth or jaw whilst in use.  Many people have found these devices to be more comfortable than many of the MAD mouthpieces.

Q: What does it mean I have to boil and bit it?
A: This is simply the process of molding the MAD mouthpiece to your teeth. [Not required for TSD’s.] You will be provided with detailed instructions on how to do this when you receive your MAD. You will not be hurt [burned] by the molding process. Whilst the gel does become soft enough to fit around your teeth when you boil it and bite down, it is not going to be that hot it will burn you. I have completed molding on many MAD’s over the years and the hottest they have ever become is mildly warm.

Q: Can I remolded by boiling my MAD again?
A: In the majority of cases you can but it is wise to limit it to 2-3 times. The material used is able to be remolded but not indefinitely. Manufactures will suggest you limit it to 2-3 times.

Q: Do you need a prescription to buy a mouthpiece online?
A: Yes and No. In the USA, both the Mandibular Advancement Devices and Tongue Stabilizer Devices fall within the “Class II Medical Device” title by the FDA.
Normally these devices would require a prescription in the USA, however, the vast majority of manufactures have been able to comply with a variety of prescription regulations. They have set up their websites in a variety of ways so they are able to satisfy governing requirements and as a consequence we are not required to obtain a prescription.
Many have a qualified Dental Practitioner endorsing the device online plus include an extensive Health and Qualifying Q & A attached to the order process which must be completed by purchasers.

Q: What is the life expectancy of a mouthpiece?
A: The Life expectancy of these devices will be different for each individual product. They can vary from 6 – 15 month. Quality plays an important part but so does they way you sleep and the shape of your bite.
If you grind your teeth when you sleep then you will increase wear and tear on the molding and reduce the mouthpieces lifespan. If you have a significant overbite then you can expect more pressure to be applied to the structure of the mouthpiece as your mandibular is drawn forward. This also can reduce lifespan of the mouthpiece.

Q: I have a Temporomandibular Joint Disorder [ TMJ], can I use a mouthpiece?
A1: A: Mandibular Advancement Device [MAD]: – If you have any form of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders then you should NOT use these types of stop snoring mouthpieces.
A2: Tongue Stabilizing Device [TSD]: Yes – TSD’s do not apply any pressure to teeth gums or the jaw.

Q: What is the need to fill out the questionnaire when purchasing online?
A: This is one of the “prescription” requirements plus it is a reminder that not everyone is suited to all mouthpieces. Some people may not understand the differences and purchase the wrong mouthpiece without knowing it. For example if you wear dentures then you shouldn’t be buying a MAD instead a TSD is going to be your best option.

Q: Will a MAD hurt me?
A: It is not unreasonable to experience some forms of jaw discomfort when you commence using a MAD. Your lower jaw is being forced into an unnatural forward position and until your body acclimatises to it you may very well experience a settling in period. You can liken it to any form of new exercise your body commences. It hurts to begin with but as the body acclimatizes it recovers.
Under normal circumstance you could expect this settling in period to be less than 7 days, however if you experience severe jaw soreness immediately or for an extended period, discontinue use and seek professional advice from your Dental or Medical Physician.

Q: Can a mouthpiece help me control teeth grinding?
A: Yes a MAD will, but a TSD will not. If you wish to use one of the snoring MAD’s to just control teeth grinding them I would recommend you look for a cheaper alternative from your local Pharmacist. A common mouth guard will do the same thing and be much cheaper.

Q: How do you clean mouthpieces?
A: I clean mine with toothpaste and a toothbrush on most occasions.  Some manufacturers insist on specific denture solutions but I have found a combination of both does a good enough job. Make sure you dry it after cleaning and store it in a sealed container during the day.

Q: Would you recommend a cheaper mouthpiece from Amazon or Ebay?
A: If they have FDA clearance and can prove it, then yes, I would consider them. The bottom line is most of them don’t and you don’t really know where they come from or what they are made of. BPA is a deal breaker for me. Remember you are going to have this in your mouth for 7-8 hours every night and you have to be comfortable knowing it is not made from dangerous materials.

Q: Am I able to breathe using a mouthpiece?
A: Most MAD’s are made to meet this requirement but it is more difficult with a TSD, however my wife seems to be able to draw sufficient air in when she has a blocked nose from a head cold.

Q: I am worried about swallowing and choking on the device, is this possible?
A: This is one of the many checks carried out by the governing body clearing your particular device. If it has been cleared by the FDA then you can feel totally confident it is safe in this respect. You will most definitely not swallow or choke on it.

Q: What other settling in issue would I expect to encounter using a mouthpiece.
A: Most people will experience a period of drooling, initially at least, and for the mouthpiece to be dislodged from the mouth during the night. These may continue depending on the individual. I evolved out of the drooling but still find it dislodges every now and then. Usually I find it floating around in bed from time to time. My wife encourages me to find it.

Q: Can children use MAD’s or TSD’s?
A: No – children are still developing and growing. Due to the time these devices are in the mouth it is not recommended for use by children. Most are too big for children’s mouths in any case.

Don’t forget…..drop me a line if you have another question. Would love to answer it for you and add the content here.