The most common cause of noisy snoring is restricted airflow when the soft tissues at the back of the throat close up, causing air to be forced through. The soft tissues close up when the jaw muscles relax, causing the jaw and tongue to fall back. For all the people suffering from snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea, a snoring mouthpiece could be the perfect solution. A snoring mouthpiece, also known as a dental appliance or a mandibular advancement splint, is a plastic device worn in the mouth during sleep. Its goal is to prevent the soft tissues at the back of the throat from closing up and it achieves this goal by bringing forward the lower jaw and by lifting the soft palate.
Snoring mouthpieces are custom made to fit your teeth to lessen discomfort and to prevent these appliances from reshaping the way your teeth grow. Dentists will make an impression of your teeth and use this as the mold from which they make your appliance. Dentists will have you come in regularly to check that the mouthpiece still fits your mouth and teeth properly and that it is still helping prevent your snoring.
There are also mouthpieces available that are similar to athletic mouthguards. These appliances are shaped by you at home by boiling them in hot water and pressing them against your teeth while they are hot. They will harden in the shape of your teeth. Most of them are able to be remolded every few months up to five or six times total however most of these appliances should be replaced every 6 – 18 months to ensure they are working to their full potential.
Snoring mouthpieces can fit over most dental work. When you first start using your mouthpiece you may experience some discomfort at the back of the jaw. This will diminish as your jaw becomes accustomed to moving into a forward position. There may also be some discomfort in your teeth until they become accustomed to wearing the mouthpiece. After removing your mouthpiece it may feel as though your jaw is pushed forward. This will lessen as your jaw will slip back into position more naturally and quickly the longer you wear your mouthpiece. Other side effects include dryness of the mouth and excessive salivation.
So do mouthpieces work? Studies have found snoring mouthpieces to be very effective. A study in the UK of 25 heavy snorers found that the use of mouthpieces effectively reduced snoring loudness for 84% of the subjects while 76% said they were snoring on fewer nights per week.