Mandibular Advancement Devices are commonly referred to as stop snoring mouthpieces or mouth guards. As well as being used to restrict or totally stop snoring they are often used to help treat those patients who are suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea or OSA.
In order to understand how these dental mouthpieces work it’s important to first understand a little bit about how they function as well as to realise the relationship between snoring and sleep apnoea disorders.
Snoring and intermittent pauses in breathing are the most common symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. It’s important to note that in the case of Central Sleep Apnoea the sufferer often does not snore and Mandibular Advancement Devices are usually not prescribed.
So as your body relaxes while you sleep, so do the smooth muscles in your airway through which your lungs receive oxygen as you breathe. Unfortunately, in some individuals these muscles drastically loosen to the point where the airway is blocked. The airway is a tube shape – a bit like a garden hose. However, unlike a garden hose that often holds its shape – in OSA suffers this tube “flattens out” due to the lack of muscle tightness.
With the airway collapsed it then becomes difficult for air to pass into the lungs, and the muscles begin to vibrate against one another as their air passes through. This vibration is a sound that we commonly know as snoring.
For many patients, this therefore begs the question….
What does a mouth guard have to do with the airway in my throat?
Any individual with a background in medicine or dentistry will tell you that the ear, mouth, nose, and throat are inseparable when it comes to treating disease and disorder. A medical problem originating in the throat can show it’s effects elsewhere and it often does this.
Mandibular Advancement Devices work by simply moving the lower jaw slightly forward. This artificial pushing on your jaw causes the muscles in your throat to tighten lessening the obstruction in the airway and this allows more space for the air to pass through to your lungs and dramatically decreases the likelihood that you will snore in your sleep. As a matter of fact, many individuals who ‘simply snore’ have not been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea choose to purchase these mouth guards ‘off the shelf’ as their primary concern is to stop snoring. They have full confidence in the product as it is fully endorsed by the NHS.
There are many varieties of these devices available and you should really consult your GP who may prescribe you a mouth guard or recommend a manufacturer such as SleepPro who manufacture a full range of products right here in the UK. These devices range from a simple standard mouthpiece, to Self Fit Adjustable models and the most sophisticated of all that are fully custom-fitted especially for your jaw in their Dental laboratories here in Britain.
Many individuals are completely unaware that snoring is associated with any sort of sleep disorder. Fortunately, there is now a growing awareness of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea and many people searching for methods on how to stop snoring often discover after visiting their GP that their snoring is perhaps only a symptom of a wider problem and not just the disorder itself.
So our advice is to talk to your Doctor and let them check you out.
By John Redfern
Take a look at our YouTube video for more info on the topic.