Mandibular Advancement Devices are commonly referred to as stop snoring mouthpieces or mouth guards. They are used to help treat patients suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
In order to understand how these mouthpieces work, it’s important to first understand a little bit about the etiology, as well as relationship between snoring and sleep apnea disorders.
[box type=”important”]Sleep apnea disorders are characterized by pauses in normal respiration while the sufferer is asleep. The patient isn’t aware that he or she has stopped breathing in their sleep. In the daytime the symptoms often manifest as depression, constant tiredness and just overall malaise. As the body struggles to breathe at night, you often wake up feeling exhausted.[/box]
Snoring and intermittent pauses in breathing are the most common symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea.Â It’s important to note that in the case of Central Sleep Apnea the sufferer often does not snore and Mandibular Advancement Devices are usually not prescribed.
Note – As your body relaxes while you sleep, so do the smooth muscles in your airway through which your lungs receive oxygen as you breathe.Â Unfortunately, in some individuals these muscles drastically loosen to the point where the airway is blocked.Â The airway is a tube shape, sort of like a garden hose.Â However, unlike a garden hose which often holds its shape in OSA suffers this tube “flattens” due to lack of muscle tightness.Â With the airway collapsed it becomes difficult for air to pass into the lungs, and the muscles begin to vibrate against one another as their air passes through.Â This vibration is a sound that we commonly know as snoring.
For many patients, this begs the question….Â What does a mouth guard have anything to do with the airway in my throat?Â Any individual with a background in medicine can tell you that the mouth, nose, and throat are inseparable when it comes to treating disease and disorder.Â A medical problem originating in the throat can absolutely show it’s effects elsewhere.
Mandibular Advancement Devices work by moving the lower jaw slightly forward.Â This artificial pushing on your jaw bone causes the muscles in your throat to tighten lessening the obstruction in the airway.Â 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.Â As a matter of fact, many individuals who have not been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea choose to purchase these mouth guards over the counter as there primary concern is to stop snoring.
There are many varieties of these devices available.Â Your physician may prescribe you a mouth guard that may or may not be covered by your insurance.Â These devices can be quite costly, and are often crafted from metal and rubber.Â Some over the counter varieties also range dramatically in price, and these stop snoring mouthpieces are often crafted of soft plastic capable of being molded.
Many individuals are completely unaware that snoring is associated with any sort of sleep disorder.Â Fortunately, there is now a growing awareness of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and many people searching for methods on how to stop snoring often discover after visiting their physician that their snoring is only a symptom of a wider problem and not the disorder in and of itself.