Occasionally I will have a patient ask me why they should spend the additional money for us to make them an anti-snore mouthpiece rather than just buy one from a TV advertisement or off the internet. I know that if a couple of people ask me, then many more are wondering the same thing.
I have several concerns about utilizing these devises without proper medical supervision and fitting. Realize that simple snoring, although it can be very annoying to your bed partner, is not a real medical problem. The concern is that without a proper study, it is impossible to really know if you are dealing with simple snoring or if you are dealing with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) which is a serious medical problem. My fear is that you can resolve the snoring, yet the sleep apnea remains. In essence the life threatening disease has been masked.
A second very real concern is that studies have shown after wearing an oral appliance for two years, 70% of the patients have changes in their bite that they are unaware occurred. These changes are permanent. With patients who have had orthodontics as an adult the percentage is near 100%. Stability and predictability are critical to long term oral health. Some of the ways to prevent changes occurring have to due with fit and design of the appliance.
The other concerns I have are not nearly as important, such as the comfort of the “boil and bite” type of appliances. Also, they tend to breakdown rather quickly. If my concerns were just limited to these last two I would recommend trying the inexpensive over the counter, unsupervised appliance. However, given the medical issues and the stability issues, I am very concerned about just guessing about how far to move your lower jaw forward and the forgiveness of the materials used in the “over the counter” appliances.
If you would like to talk about what may be a better way to address snoring and sleep apnea, I would be happy to do so, just give us a call to set up an appointment.