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Advantages and disadvantages of using a dental appliance to stop snoring

Tell me about dental appliances

questionmanOne of the latest snoring treatment options to appear on the market is the dental appliance, better known as a snoring mouthpiece. While the technology behind this device dates back to the 1980’s when it was issued exclusively by dentists, it wasn’t until recent years that several manufacturers started to produce an at home do it yourself version of the device.

Today, there are over three dozen companies that are producing such OTC dental appliances and the number of new entrances to the market continues to grow each year.

So what’s all the buzz about? Do these things really work?

These are two questions that I asked myself a few years back when I was in search of a snoring solution. You can read more about my story here.

To answer the first question, the reason behind the explosion of interest in recent years is because the action of the DIY dental appliances closely mimic those that were once only available from a dentist. The cost of a custom fitted mouthguard is upward to $3,500 and many insurance companies are not willing to foot the bill. Meanwhile, the at home versions are available for $100 or less with several models to choose from.

As you may have guessed, the answer to the second question is “yes” they are quite effective as I have found out by trying several products and sharing my experience testing each and writing several product reviews.

There are of course some advantages and disadvantages of using a dental appliance to treat snoring.

DIY dental appliance advantages

  • Money MoneyInexpensive – As previously mentioned, the cost of most products are around $100, in many cases much less. The cost of professionally fitted custom devices are between $1,500-$3,500, often with little to no insurance reimbursement when used for the purpose of controlling snoring.  It’s easy to see that pro-fitted appliance cost 15x-35x more than a DIY.
  • Proven effective – Throughout the past three decades, multiple studies have been conducted examining the effectiveness of these appliances. Each study concluded that such products are an effective way to control snoring to some degree. Here is one study if you are interested. Several other studies have been conducted by universities as well as private studies from product manufacturers.
  • Safe – When you choose an appliance that is FDA cleared, follow the instructions, and use only as intended, they are safe to use. Keep in mind, these DIY products should only be used to treat snoring and should not be used to treat obstructive sleep apnea without first consulting with your doctor. Such appliances are often used to treat OSA but this should only be attempted under the supervision of your doctor.
  • thumbsupSimple to use – There’s nothing complicated about it, it’s a mouthpiece. After creating the custom fit, simply pop it in your mouth at bedtime and remove it in the morning. You will have to disinfect it daily to prevent the buildup of bacteria and germs.
  • Long life – Depending on the brand, many devices can last for as long as two years. If you do not grind your teeth while sleeping and use good cleaning and storage practices, it may last even longer.

Disadvantages

  • Doesn’t work for everyone – One of the biggest disadvantages of using a dental appliance to control snoring is the fact that they are not 100% effective. Most manufacturers claim a satisfaction rate of over 90% while several clinical studies suggest a much lower rate of effectiveness that is 85% or less. Based on my personal experience along with feedback from friends and family who I introduced the dental appliance to (as well as several readers of this blog), they are quite effective and have helped many including my wife and I.
  • soremouthSoreness/ discomfort – If this is your first time using a mouthpiece, you will likely wake up with a sore jaw. This soreness is caused by the jaw being held in the forward position for several hours as you sleep. Fortunately, with continued use, any soreness tends to dissipate within the first 2-5 days as your jaw becomes accustomed to being stretched. Think of it as that sore feeling the day after visiting the gym after a long hiatus.
  • Difficulty fitting – While all of my experiences fitting my dental appliances have been positive without any major issues, those who are not familiar with these devices may find the fitting process to be challenging. The key to getting a great fit with any product, regardless of manufacturer, is to carefully read the instructions before starting and work quickly. Most appliances are dipped in hot water for just a few seconds and then immediately placed into the mouth. A bath in hot water for too long or a delay in placing it into your mouth will cause fitting issues.

Is it worth it?

questionAfter reading over the advantages and disadvantages, you may be asking yourself “Is it worth it?”.

While this snoring solution is not for everyone, it’s worth giving a try because of all of the low risk offers that exist.

Luckily, the industry is fairly competitive and all of the major manufacturers include a no/low risk trial just to get you to try their product.  While the details of each manufacturer differ slightly, most can be tested out for 30-45 days by paying only the shipping charges upfront which are typically between $8-$15.

Usually, the process works something like this:

  1. Order the product and pay the costs associated with shipping and handling
  2. Test it out for the specified period of time (usually 4-6 weeks). You will know whether or not it works within the first week
  3. Keep the dental appliance if you are satisfied and your card will be billed for the remainder of the balance after the end of the trial date
  4. If not satisfied, you can send it back to the manufacturer and your card will not be billed.

Each manufacturer will of course vary so be sure to check with them before committing to a purchase.

I’ve have personally eliminated my snoring and receive daily emails from people who have thanked me for introducing them to these devices and saving their relationships. If you have a snoring problem, I would highly recommend giving one of these products a try.

If you need help deciding on which appliance to go with, take a look at my recommended products.

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