Snore guard is a device fitted into your month to prevent snoring. It does that by preventing your jaw and tongue from dropping back into the throat while you’re sleeping. (the relaxation of the muscles of your nose, jaw and tongue causes them to collapse) That sounds simple but that’s the way it’s supposed to work because one of the main reason why people snore is the tongue dropping back into the throat and the wind from the airways “flaps” your mouth’s soft tissue like a flag. Basically, your lower jaw and tongue restricted the air flow and this increases the speed of which the wind is traveling. This can be so serious that your airways is completely blocked by your lower jaw and tongue that you literally stops breathing for 30 seconds or more. This condition is called sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea. The term “apnea” means “no breathe” in Greek so that explains it all. If your nose, jaw and tongue relaxes too much during sleep and collapses against the throat during your sleep and blocks the airway for more than 30 seconds, it’s be definition, sleep apnea. If the same thing happens (the collapsing of your jaw, nose and tongue) but it doesn’t collapse completely then you will get snoring. Sleep apnea causes your body to jolt and wake up several times every night to catch some oxygen you’ve been missing. (even though you might not know it because you’re not awake but going to a lighter level of sleep) As a result, people with snoring problems are usually fatigued, depressed, moody or just sleepy throughout the day.
With that said, to make it simple snoring is the partial obstruction of the airways and sleep apnea is normally called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) which means complete blocking of breathing for 30 seconds or more. Before you buy a snore guard, it’s vital then to differentiate between OSA and normal snoring. Here’s some of the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.
If you have severe snoring problems. This is just one of the symptoms and its not an indication of sleep apnea because not everyone who snores loudly has sleep apnea. Be sure to check for other symptoms below too.
Dry throat, mouth and nose passage upon waking up and a look in the mirror with a torchlight reveals red and swollen uvula.
If you have TMJ (Tempero Mandibular Dysfunction) which is a condition that manifest itself in the form of sore jaws, headaches, ear aches and/or neck aches.
Sudden awakening during the night gasping for breathe. This is a sure sign but not many people experience sudden awakenings because the body normally just shift to a lighter form of sleep to harden the muscle tone and allows breathing to resume again.
Basically if you’re feeling tired, fatigue or any related tiredness symptom like loss of concentration, can’t focus on driving, losing your libido, depressed, easily irritated or felt like not having slept at all throughout the night,
Kicking in your sleep or lots of limbs movement throughout your sleep, this can be verified only by your partner of course so its good to ask your partner about this. This is usually caused by lack of oxygen to the muscle, like a jolt for oxygen or something.
There’s a lot of factors for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea other than lower jaw and tongue dropping so snoring devices like snore guard might not even work. It all depends on your condition and if its serious enough then you might need to buy a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine for treatment of sleep apnea. One of the biggest culprit for snoring (other than tongue, nose and mouth collapsing) is obesity, this means diet is responsible for snoring too indirectly or directly. I would advise you to get advise from your dentist or doctor first before you buy any snore guard. However, if you’re sure that you don’t need a CPAP machine, then you can be sure that snore guard is the correct solution for snoring problems. I highly recommend it because it’s custom fitted by a dentist so you don’t feel uncomfortable. It is fitted by heating the inner lining during the fitting process and by measuring the length of your upper and lower teeth. In case you’re wondering, it’s only fitted on your top teeth and you only use it while you’re sleeping. This prevents the tongue from dropping back into your throat and blocking the airways and thus relieve the obstruction.
Treatment of snoring problems is various and has many forms because it affects millions of unique adults. There’s no set solution for everyone because everyone’s snoring problem is a little bit different from others, so a solution that worked for your neighbors won’t necessarily work for you and vice verse. However, one of the most common causes of snoring is relaxation of muscles during sleep. This causes your breathing pass way to be restricted and the air struggling to get out, resulting in your soft palate vibrating. (because of the increase in wind speed and the structure of your airway)
To stop snoring, most people seek solutions like herbs, medicine, snore guard, jaw sling and etc, however the best solution for your snoring is a custom-made device because your mouth structure is unique. And the best custom made device for snoring that i know of is a snore guard, there’s a lot of types of snore guards but we’ll get to that later. Usually snore guard is made from plastic, to be more exact some are made from sterile thermoplastic so its recommended that you get a plastic mouthpiece. Some of them are made from soft silicone but if you have allergic to silicone then it’s better to go for the plastic ones. Now, when I say a snore guard is custom fitted, i hope it’s obvious that its fitted by dentist only or some other sleep specialist. Because this anti-snoring device needs to be custom fitted by dentist there’s a procedure to do it. First, your dentist or sleep specialist will put the snore guard into a boiling hot water for around 3 minutes to soften it. Then he or she will take it out and let it cool down for about 20-30 seconds and then proceed to let you bite it. Your dentist will insert the snore guard on your upper teeth and push it up so your teeth fits snugly into the anti snoring devices. You will then but the snore guard with your lower teeth and in this position your lower jaw will be in a slightly forward position. And after about 30 seconds the snore guard will harden and your custom fit snore guard is ready.
However, not all of snore guards are fitted this way, some dentist will need you to bite into a slab of wax to take both your upper and lower teeth impression. You will most likely be instructed to protrude your lower jaw forward as much as possible, this is so the snore guard will work to stop your snoring. Then the dentist will send your teeth impression to a lab to make an anti snoring device that you ordered. Let’s move on, you know how the process of fitting the snore guard into your mouth works but you don’t really know the snore guard prevents snoring in the first place. So right now I’m going to discuss how the snore guard actually works. Here’s the mechanics of it. Like i said, your jaw and tongue relaxes and fall back into your throat, causing restricted airways that resulted in snoring. Snore guard works by forcing your lower jaw or mandible (which is connected to the tongue) to move forward. This causes the tongue to move forward, away from the throat so your throat is not restricted anymore. So in conclusion, with the jaw forward you will be able to stop snoring and sleep like a baby. Now this has many usage so its not for snoring problems only, it also acts as a bruxing guard and solves mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea because it separates both lower and upper teeth. It also solves problems like TMJ but in severe case of TMJ patient with organic joint dysfunction, the snore guard will not work and will even worsen the problem so see your dentist or doctor before you use snore guard as your TMJ solution.
OK, now that you know all about how the process works and how the dentist creates a custom snore guard for you, let’s discuss the available commercial snore guards available in the market. I’ll do some brief review on some of the snore guards in the market and maybe other stop snoring mouthpiece that are available. Note that I’m not saying which snore guard is perfect or good or the best in this website, I’m only doing a basic review so you will need to ask your dentist about this and do your own research.
First of all, there’s three types of snore guards available in the market. That is the fixed jaw relation snore guards, semi adjustable snore guards and the fully adjustable snore guards. Fully or semi adjustable snore guards are usually for people with TMJ or sleep apnea problems as these conditions are normally progressive and you can treat the condition by adjusting your lower jaw forward. This isn’t to say that semi and fully adjustable are not for snoring problems too because as your jaw relaxes you should be able to push the mandible forward a little bit more to lessen the snoring problems.
There’s two types of fixed jaw relation snore guard, the prefabricated appliance and the elastomeric appliance. The prefabricated appliances is the cheapest snore guards out there and it’s usually not very comfortable because of its non adjustable nature. The process of which to fit a snore guard as described above is for prefabricated appliance. Normally its for people to test whether they can sleep with a jaw protruding device on their mouth before they make a significant investment into buying a fully or semi adjustable snore guard. It’s also not so durable because of its non permanent nature.
Elastomeric appliance is the total opposite of prefabricated appliance in the sense that it is almost indestructible. This is not to say that its made from hard material that will be very uncomfortable to you. In fact, Elastomeric appliance is very comfortable and the fit is almost always perfect. This is because it’s made from silicone and it’s made from your teeth impression on a slab of wax. (you’re instructed to bite on soft wax with lower jaw protruding to the front) This indestructible nature of elastomeric appliance made it perfect for patient suffering from bruxism. It is also one of the least expensive snore guard you can get on the market.
Let’s move on to the semi adjustable snore guards. The most popular semi adjustable snore guards on the market is the “silent night” snore guard. Basically, the process to make a custom silent night snore guard is the same with the above except for one small detail, you don’t need to protrude your jaw in order to make the snore guard. Silent night comes with three component. the upper jaw part, lower jaw part and a plastic hinges that pulls the two of them together. You can adjust the lower jaw as much as you need with the plastic hinges. The good thing about Silent Night is its adjustability but the not so good thing about it is its cost and its durability. It damages easily because of the plastic hinge and its expensive because there’s more servicing and cost to the lab that produces it. You can’t adjust it yourself so it’s also much more troublesome when it is damaged. (which it often does)
The fully adjustable snore guards is the most flexible and versatile snore guards of all, as the name might suggest. It usually contains some kind of screw or adjustable arrangement that the dentist can loosen and tighten as he or she needs to in order to provide more snoring relief. (your tongue gets further away from your throat) The most popular and the oldest fully adjustable snore guard is undoubtedly The Herbst appliance, it is made from either hard acrylic trays or the thermoflex trays. Acrylic trays is longer lasting and more hygienic compared to the thermoflex trays so I highly suggest you get the Acrylic ones if you’re getting Herbst appliance. The other popular fully adjustable snore guard is the Klearway snore guard, which is made by a Canadian company. It’s the most expensive snore guard available on the market because of its complex design and hardware requirements.
One of the most frequent question I get is snore guards covered by insurance? The answer is not but don’t worry there’s still hope if your dentist prescribe snore guards under some diagnosis. Here’s three of them. Obstructive sleep apnea, oral appliance to treat sleep apnea and sleep study unattended. in other words if your dentist prescribe it under snoring your snore guard wont be covered by insurance.