23 answers

Snore Guard Dental Mouthpiece vs CPAP Machine

My husband has severe obstructive sleep apnea and snores heavily. He had a sleep study done which confirmed the diagnosis. The doctor wanted to go CPAP, our dentist however said there is a new thing out called the "Thorton Adjustable Positioner (TAP) that has proven to be effective. The company that makes it (AirwayLabs) is based in Dallas. It's an adjustable mouthguard that pulls the lower jaw forward to open up the airway.

We're not quite sure what to do. My husband does not really like the CPAP machine (very cumbersome) but the mouth guard costs around $1,500 (ouch).

Has anyone had experience with either of these devices? What was the outcome? Are there other methods out there that might help?

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My husband hated his CPAP at first; actually threw it across the room one night. But now he won't go anywhere without it. It just takes some getting used to.

Don't know anything about the other device.

My husband uses a CPAP machine and although it took some adjustment (3 or so weeks) he now cannot live with out it. I can't either since I now sleep better too! My cousin had a similar experience and swears by it. Both had to try several different nose pieces to get comfotable. Good luck!

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As both a dental professional and someone who has sleep apnea, I do have an opinion for you, from personal experience, and information and observations from the dental office.

Depending on the severity of apnea, yes, the TAP can be effective in aiding apnea. However, with prolonged use, this devise can (and will) change a person's occlusion, that is, the way their teeth fit together. I have seen patients whose back teeth no longer "touch" when they bite together. This begins to impact chewing. So from a dental standpoint, I am not a big fan of this device. When a patient stops wearing the TAP, the occlusion usually goes back after time, but this is not something you really want to do.

As far as the CPAP, I understand how your husband feels with "not really liking it." I don't know how long he's been using it, or if he's only used it during his sleep study, but trust me - it is worth using, because you feel SO MUCH BETTER once you start getting better sleep. The machine is adjusted according to how much pressure is needed to keep the airway open.

I know I went through a period at the beginning where I really struggled with it - both physically and psychologically. I hated the idea of being tethered to this machine for the rest of my life. It was weird "hooking up" at night, then trying to sleep. But in a short period of time (a week or two), I adjusted more and more, and started sleeping better, and the next thing you know, the CPAP is just part of what you do. He will find that even if he needs to take it mask of after 6 hours or so (cuz you just need to take it off sometimes!!) that 6 hours of great sleep with a CPAP is far better than 10 hours without.

I agree with you doctor - go CPAP. It is a better, longer-term solution to apnea. I could have had the TAP made for me at very little cost, but I was not willing to change my occlusion so drastically. It is not a viable option in my opinion.

I would have to add it is important to avoid anything over the counter for this. Not a good solution, even for the interim. Also, there is nothing 'natural' you can take that will eliminate the obstruction causing the apnea. This deals with something that is physically in the way causing blockage of the airway. Supplements won't take that away. Good Luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

I am responding with my husband's advise! He is a registered sleep specialist, and works with sleep apnea patients every day. Here is his take. The mouth pieces may help certain types of apnea, but they tend to be a small percent, and the only way you can know for sure is to try it. More often, he says, that the mouth pieces cause more dental problems, like misalignment, tmj, headaches...etc. There are unfortunately no known supplements or medicines that can cure the obstruction caused by apnea. Now, he also says that if after a little bit of trying, the cpap machine is still bothersome for your hubby, he should go back to the company and try a different one. Many times people are improperly fitted for masks, or not given as many choices to try during their sleep study as there are actually available. There are so many sizes, styles and kinds of machines available, but all too often a sleep technician has the one or two that he favors, and every patient gets fitted for that one. (This is one of my hubby's pet pieves for sure, but what can you do??) Once he has successfully been fitted, it really should be so worth it for him to use it, that the small inconvenience wont even be noticeable. The most important thing he wants me to share is that sleep apnea is not just about whether or not he is snoring, it is a serious health issue that needs to be given correct attention!! Apnea means your husband is not breating while he sleeps, causing oxygen deprivation to the brain several times a minute for some. The health problems that can stem from this disease are hard to number, but it is A LOT! While he respects dentists for their desire to help in this matter, it is not really a "dental" issue, and truly should be handled by a sleep doctor/ specialist. I hope this information has helped some, and PLEASE, if you or your husband have any questions about any of this, please let me know. My husband has become quite passionate about helping people correctly solve this problem, and is willing to share any knowledge he can with others. Good luck to you!! ~A.~

1 mom found this helpful

My dad has very bad sleep apnea and uses a CPAP. It has really helped him alot! He used to fall asleep at the wheel at any time of the day, especially at night. Since he's been using it, he has more energy and falling asleep while driving isn't as much of a scare anymore. The CPAP is cumbersome, but I know it works. Good luck with your choice.

My husband uses the CPAP machine and it's amazing. He now has energy and can join the family for fun. Before using it though you could hear him snore upstairs even with the tv on. Thanks to CPAP we all can sleep.

How interesting to find this post. I was just talking about this same topic with a family member who has had snoring/sinus, etc. issues. Apparently there is a "over-the-counter" version of that type of positioner that you can get for about $60 that works at least for a short-term or interim fix. Her husband's physician recommended he try the less expensive one to see if it works. If it does, then he would know to go ahead with the specialized one from the dentist.

Just for background, he actually had nasal issues (deviated septum and a bone spur) in addition to the jaw issues. He had surgery to fix the nasal issues and the doc said to go this route with the jaw positioner thing before they try anything more invasive for the other issue.

My mom lived with sleep apnea for years before finally getting a CPAP machine. She hated it for the first several weeks. However, she got accustomed to it. Now she can get a full night's sleep and if she sleeps without it, she can definitely feel the difference the next day. I would be wary of taking the advice of a dentist on an issue such as sleep apnea. As cumbersome as the CPAP machine may be, it can save lives and is proven to work!

No one in this home sleeps unless my husband uses his CPAP!!!

I use the TAP and I paid 500.00 dollars for it works well and is easy to use. I got mine from a Dentist in Beford. He is on Harwood dr. I will have to look up the name he is not my regular Dentist.

My doctor said for more severe sleep apnea he recommends the cpap and for less severe he said the mouth guard works. I did ask if the mouthguard would change my bite and he said it might, but it would take a while, but that is why you need to make sure you go to the dentist regularly to see if your bite has changed. I decided to go to the cpap because I didn't want to risk messing up my bite

My husband uses a CPAP machine and although it took some adjustment (3 or so weeks) he now cannot live with out it. I can't either since I now sleep better too! My cousin had a similar experience and swears by it. Both had to try several different nose pieces to get comfotable. Good luck!

Mt husband had severe sleep apnea. We had the CPAP for 2 years and he would take it off every night. We went to see a specialist about his problems. We decided to do the surgery for sleep apnea. The surgery goes in and upens the throat and scares the soft pallet to keep it stiff during the night. It was a painful surgery but he is very happy with thr results. The specialist is an ear nose and throat dr. He is located in Colleyville. His name is Dr. Grossman. My family has been seeing him all my life. The first reason we saw him was for the implats they no do in the roof of the mouth that strengthens the soft pallet. With the severity of sleep apnea my husband had he was not a candidate. I will also tell you anything that pulls the jaw forward will eventually cause TMJ problems. I would really research the appliance before agreeing to pay for it. The device I just bought for my TMJ was $3000. I am telling this to let you know what you may have to do in the future. I wish you luck with your husband. I know once he is no longer snoring you will sleep better too.

I use mouth guard prescribed by my sleep - pulmonary doctor. Then, with that prescription I had to see the sleep and snoring apnea doctor. I have been using it for 6 months and was diagnosed with sleep apnea (mild to moderate). This mouth guard made by Somnodent is not working for me; in fact, it makes my apnea get worse. It has been over 6 months since I had over 10 follow - ups to see my “mouth guard” sleep and dental doctor, and it was just a waste of time and money because each of the follow-up appointments cost about $100 each. Mouth guard costs me $2700. It's up to you to calculate the total, but you see the whole picture now. My doctor gave me about 86% that mouth guard will work. For me, it does not work at all, with exception that it stopped my snoring, but day time sleepiness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and other symptoms are still present. I plan to switch to CPAP. And the reason for that was because I was diagnosed with tendency to Asthma. CPAP might be a better option and below I will explain why.

Make sure you convince your husband to get checked for mild Hypoxia or its related disorders, Nocturnal asthma (night asthma), and allergies, which might occur only at night, while asleep.

In order to figure out if your husband needs a mouth guard or “Adjustable Positioner,”make sure he does not have asthma or hypoxia and you will automatically save money from not buying mouth guard and paying for the wastfully - related doctor visits. If asthma and or hypoxia are present, then CPAP or BiPap with humidifier will be the best option (to take care of both apnea and asthma, with a good supervision of Good doctor). Try to Google "sleep apnea and asthma" and you'll see how much information you can read about it. Check out this website, for instance. http://www.sleepapnea.org/resources/pubs/asthma-osa.html

Some people can have asthma during sleep and might not even know it. Also, Sleep Apnea can cause Asthma and vice versa, allergies cause airflow restrictions too.

Take into account that because mouth guard did not work, I had to get second opinions which cost me over - another $2000; including a visit to an urgent care (mouth guard can worsen apnea).

Also, from those second opinions which I obtained, Second Opinion doctors always said good things about CPAP and bad about mouth guards (especially for Obstructive Sleep Apnea). I called my insurance and talked to one of their medical representatives and complained about mouth guard and its negatives. I was strongly advised to use CPAP, only. By contrast, the invention of mouth guards is an entrepreneurial idea for treating sleep apnea; it has not been on market long enough to give it a good review. That means that it did not become a standard way to treat sleep apnea. Whereas use of CPAP is a standard way of treating Apnea, since it has been for a long time on market and you can read plenty of reviews about its positives and negatives. And finding authentic reviews regarding mouth guard is a difficult task. In other words, it is too risky to try to waste your time and money. The reason it is hard to find good and independent reviews, of mouth guards, is that only websites that sell it, have positive reviews, only. That means that those websites do not want to keep bad reviews. There are very few authentic reviews you can find. It's just not enough. My review of this mouth guard, is that mouth guard will not give you comfort at night, but injure your jaw; you will, for sure, experience a change in bite; toothaches, excessive salivation and worsen your Apnea condition. You can check fake reviews by visiting this website http://www.oral-sleep-therapy.co.uk/reviews.html

These reviews, even if they are created by real customers, do not provide enough information about complications you can get from using a particular product, particularly mouth guard. And take into account suppliers of mouth guards can also write their positive reviews on websites like mamapedia.com. Just one whistle from them will double their profits.

http://www.oral-sleep-therapy.co.uk/reviews.html
In this website you'll notice only positivie reviews. I don't know why there are no negative reviews. Each review matters and such websites are designed purposely for advertising their product.

In sum, your husband suffers from breathing disorder(s), which occur(s) at night. So, you have to check with doctors that are experienced in breathing disorders such as Asthma, Apnea, and possibly Heart. I never tried CPAP, but researched a lot in GOOGLE and got a lot of second opinions from other doctors, and you don’t want to know how many doctors I have visited, but I will write it down. Over 20; because many have get paid for you comming inexperience. So, will stop my writing, right here. Thank you

I don't know about the mouthpiece. However, my husband uses a CPAP. His quality and amount of sleep have improved - and so has mine! - since he started using it. And, besides the deductible, all costs were paid. In addition, he got another machine (also covered) since at the time he traveled for business.
If it's covered by insurance, I'd go that route with the economy so bad right now.
Good luck!

my husband has sleep apeana and utilizes the sleeping machine. it is expensive but well worth it. also the humming noise is nice because it drowns out other noises. i sleep with ear plugs...

My husbands snoring has been a problem for all of us for years. He had 4 different surgeries to help, but none of them made any noticeable difference. These included having his jaw broken and chin moved forward, his palate scarred to toughen it, and a deviated septum repair. His sleep studies showed no improvement in his sleep apnea either. So, he tried CPAP. This was not comfortable for him at all, and although he stuck it out for months, it was miserable for him. His sleep specialist changed him to BiPAP, which is similar but not the same as CPAP. It has made all the difference to us. He is happier because he gets better sleep, and me and the kids are happier too because he's quieter at night, stays asleep, and he's more relaxed during the day.

Good luck!

I have used both. I started with TAP. I then went to the CPAP. I like the TAP, but you have to be very careful with it. It can cause Temporal-mandibular joint (TMJ) problems if you pull the lower jaw out too much or do not exercise the jaw in the a.m. properly. This causes excutiating pain. The CPAP, I initially had problems with the full mask, feeling like I was suffocating as well as air build up in the abdomin.. I was then switched to the nasal prongs. The force of the air was too strong, and dried out my nares. I now have the small mask that only fits over the nose and it works better for me. I would rather use the TAP because I can put it on and do other things before I fall asleep and not be disturbed, like reading. It's more portable for travel also.

My husband has a severe case of sleep apnea. We were surprised to hear is because he is young and not really over weight but it appears he has had it his whole life and it is due to the bones and soft tissue in his jaw and throat. So... he tried the CPAP and hated it!!! like really hated it. so we tried the mouth piece next and that is still what he uses 3years later. And now we both can sleep!
We used Sleep Medicine Associates of Texas, they have an actual dentist (Dr Roberts- ###-###-####) and they charged our insurance for it. We had to pay a little extra for the mouth molding, I think like $150 plus our specialist copay. Then just a copay each time. Way worth it. And Insurance covers a new mouth piece each year and once you have the molding you dont have to do it again.
I hope he can help yall I hope you get some peaceful snore free sleep soon.

A. Jones

My husband hated his CPAP at first; actually threw it across the room one night. But now he won't go anywhere without it. It just takes some getting used to.

Don't know anything about the other device.

L. -
I have worn a CPAP for almost two years. I love it! I get good, peaceful sleep and have way more energy than I did prior to using it. I won't even take a nap without it. I've known at least a dozen other people who use one and in each case they have been delighted with the results. We had a close family friend die as a result of sleep apnea so we take it quite seriously.

I was recently diagnosed and started using the machine and really hated it with a passion. After two hours, I was yanking it off, but gradually, I've worked up to most of the night. I agree with the person who said that six hours with a CPAP is better than 10 hours without. After I regained my energy, my lifestyle improved GREATLY. I worked in a dental office for more than 7 years and also experienced TMJ personally and that is something you do not want to mess with--it is far more annoying and painful than sleeping with teh CPAP. Tell him to give it a couple of months using the machine and he'll get there! Good luck!

I just wanted you to know that my mom, age 51, just had the pillar procedure done. She had a CPAP machine that she just would not use. They said that this was the least invasive way to correct it long term. She went in and they used a local to numb her throat and inserted 5 polyester braided rods less than an inch long. I think they are about $500 a rod.
She has slept a TOTAL of about 20 hrs in the last week! I don't know if this is a reaction or what but her mind just races when she tries to sleep. She isn't hungry and she doesn't want to eat. Everything tastes funny. And it wasn't a STEROID shot. I'm not really sure about what is going on with her. Her dr. is now a real jerk saying its not his problem that she is having anxiety attacks. If this ever comes up as a possibility I would definitely do my research on it. She is so sleep deprived and she cannot relax. PLEASE, PLEASE DOUBLE CHECK ANY KIND OF TREATMENT THAT IS AT ALL INVASIVE.

I am the proud owner and user of a TAP.

I tried using the CPAP for a year. I could not stand iit.

After I got the TAP, I had the full blown clinic sleep test that showed that it fixed my sleep apnea just as good as the CPAP (but I don't mind using this one).

I don't know why the Sleep Labs don't tell you about the alternative since they know that the vast majority of people wind up not using the CPAP. (My Son and fiance like their CPAP just fine but that's more unusual.)

If your husband tells his doctor that he has trouble sleeping with his free trial CPAP, the knowledgeable doctor would give you a Letter of Medical Need for your insurance company to try to get them to pay for it as they would for the CPAP. The CPAP is about $1500 which includes any and all related appointments for making, fitting, adjusting, etc. I think the CPAP machine and mask and related services cost the same but insurance usually readily pays for it.

My internist has Sleep Apnea and likes his CPAP just fine. But after he saw my test results with the TAP, he gave me my letter of Medical Need and I'm sure he's telling other patients about their options now.

If you have any further questions, send me an e-mail. I think that the TAP is the best invention ever!!! Just don't let your husband think he can not use something as his heart will suffer, he will be sleepy (while driving!), gain weight from lack of restful sleep, be more likely to be irritable, have memory problems, rob you of sleep from the irratic snoring, etc., etc.

good luck!

p.s. After reading the other posts, I wanted to add this info from my research: The surgery they speak of only works on a percentage of the people and any doctor will tell you it is VERY painful. The implant is something I might have tried as it seems relatively painless and I haven't heard any down sides to it. I hope you get a dentist that has done a lot and has an idea of why it works for some and not others. Some people never get used to the CPAP. I say: Don't encourage him to stick it out if he hates it when he has a nice alternative. I had mild TMJ before getting the TAP (only noticeable when the dentist worked on my teeth). Using the TAP didn't affect my bite or worsen the TMJ. Since I had an overbite to start with, it is now easier to have my jaw rest in a position that looks nicer than before. You do want to follow the instructions about gradually breaking it in. If there are any people who did that and still got headaches, bet Dr. Thornton would refund the money.

Dear L.,
Go to www.yourbestair.com/garrett
check this web site out till we got one my husband snored very bad. Also before I had to take allergy med every day. It is a med devise .What happens it just cleans up the air.Thought what has he so to loose. Good luck.
J. G

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