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?

4 moms found this helpful

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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!

More Answers

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.

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