Experiences with Anti Snoring and Mandibular Advancement devices.
Many of us snore and for most it is no problem. However for some snoring is a cause of poor sleep and possibly encourages/contributes to sleep apnea (breathing difficulty during sleep). It can also be a cause of tension within relationships.
At Northway Dental Practice is offered one of the most effective treatments for snoring: the Mandibular Advancement Device (also called an anti-snoring appliance or snoring appliance).
This works by positioning the lower jaw a little forwards during sleep preventing the tongue from vibrating on the soft palate at the back of the mouth. Many other snoring treatments either d’ont work or involve painful and invasive surgery.
Full movement/adjustable device is the latest one and is the one we recommend. This device allows opening and closing movements and side to side movments in use and is adjustable so allowing for maximum comfort whilst ensuring snoring is reduced or eliminated. It is also less bulky which enhances its comfort.
One of our recent patients had one of these devices fitted and kindly agreed to tell the story:
It all started with a knee operation, several years ago, for a torn ligament. The anaesthetist, in his pre-op chat, looked in my mouth and, turning to my partner, asked “Does he stop breathing in the night?” A very strange question I thought. Strange very soon turned to surreal when my partner replied “Yes!” – I had no idea. Thus began a short sleep analysis with the result that “The patient suffers from mild sleep apnoea and may benefit from a mandipular splint”.
The Intervening Years
Over the years I tried quite a few ‘boil and bite’ splints with very little success. I don’t think I ever managed to keep one in my mouth for a full night and they made my gums bleed and my teeth hurt. I became convinced that I wasn’t getting a good night’s sleep and was never waking up feeling ‘refreshed’. Whether this is true or just my sub-conscious working overtime having read about the symptoms of apnoea I still don’t know.
My dentist at the time (an NHS practice in Bath) never seemed keen on making a split for me; he would advise me that I should get one from the consultant who diagnosed me – but the sign off from the hospital provided no opportunity for following up the splint option. I guess I could have forced one or the other to act but I ended up sticking my head in the sand between a rock and a hard place. Meanwhile I would periodically buy another ‘boil and bite’ device to no avail.
As the years progressed I have also become increasingly self conscious of my snoring – another symptom of sleep apnoea (although I know it could also be due to carrying too much weight). This has got to the stage where I’m too embarrassed to stay at friends’ houses overnight or to have anyone to stay. Even my kids comment on the loud noises in the night. A change in work circumstances has also meant frequent stays in hotels during the week – establishments that are notorious for paper thin walls.
When my dentist in Bath retired it seemed like a good time to move to a more convenient practice. Eventually I landed at Northway Dental Practice and Simon Khoury (and am well impressed thus far). The subject of splints came up during my initial consultation and before too long impressions were taken for the device. I have to say, these are not cheap – especially with an updated version now available. However, it will be well worth it if does the job; and it looks like a pretty amazing gadget! Available in clear acrylic or translucent blue – I chose clear as the most practical choice, only to change my mind on leaving as the blue looked so much cooler. Should be ready in just two weeks – watch this space.
Here it is!
It’s a clever little device – looks like two gum shields, each having a horizontal metal bar which are connected by an adjustable thicker bar. All of which means you are able to move your jaw up and down and left to right a centimetre or so. The adjustable bar allows the bottom piece to be moved forward with respect to the top piece. The initial position, with the lower piece as far back as possible, has been set to keep the pieces aligned vertically (so my top front teeth are directly above my bottom front teeth).
Wore it around the house for a while and seems quite comfortable. Yes you know that you have something in your mouth but it’s not at all unpleasant. There’s also still room for my tongue to lie naturally in my mouth (something I’ve found problematic with other devices), though it does press against the shield a bit – the shield is smooth so again it’s not that noticeable.
The First Night
I expected this part of the blog to start the trials and tribulations of trying to keep the device in all night. So not true – I awoke this morning with the device still in place and I hadn’t been kicked for snoring all night! Dare I say too that I felt more refreshed?
Simon had warned me that my mouth would feel funny in the morning until my jaw returned to its natural position – and indeed it did. Surprisingly it wasn’t an unfamiliar sensation; I get the same feeling after playing my Saxophone – I guess the instrument also has the effect of moving the lower jaw forward. Supplied with the splint is a ‘bite trainer’ – a bit of plastic that you bite on and slide your jaws back and forth. This has the effect of speeding up the realignment process at least to the point where your top and bottom teeth aren’t clashing.
So far so good.
The Rest of the Week
No real problems at all – the splint stayed in all night every night and no reports of snoring. I’m sure I’m more awake in the morning. Three days in I screwed the adjuster in a couple of turns. I have to say this does make the adjuster bar more prominent in your mouth and quite noticeable against your tongue. Didn’t take too long to get used to though. I think I’ll try another couple of turns tonight and see what happens.
It’s been more than a month now so time for a closing summary:
- Has it stopped my snoring? Yes (or at least it’s quietened it down to a purr).
- Do I sleep better? I think so. I certainly don’t get kicked so much for snoring and I’m sure I’m feeling more refreshed.
- Is it comfortable to wear? I’d prefer to say it isn’t uncomfortable. You know you have something in your mouth but it’s not unpleasant.
- How far have a advanced the screw? Not much at all. A couple of millimetres only – but it does the trick at that setting.
- Does it stay put all night? Nearly always. I’ve had just a few nights were I’ve woken up because of it; either dreaming of having something stuck to my gums.
- How do I clean it? Daily with cold water, mild soap and a toothbrush.
- Would I recommend it? Most definitely YES!
*Source: Northway Dental Practice http://northwaydental.co.uk/