Are snoring mouthpieces available OTC?
Is snoring such an issue that both you and your bed partner are struggling to have a good night’s sleep? Having to schedule an appointment with a doctor or dentist to get a prescription for an anti-snoring mouthpiece can lead to more interrupted nights while you wait for your consultation. While many of the oral appliances to stop snoring available in the U.S. require a doctor’s or dentist’s prescription, an assortment of equally-effective mouthpieces are now on the market over-the-counter.
How the FDA impacts availability
It’s important, to ensure the quality and effectiveness of a stop snoring device, that you only consider an anti-snoring mouthpiece that has FDA Clearance as required by federal regulations. Some mouthpieces will claim to stop snoring, but haven’t been proven effective in that capacity. Their FDA claims may be for something else, such as a mouthguard to protect teeth from bruxism (nighttime clenching and grinding), which means they are not indicated to treat snoring.
Within the FDA, classification falls into three categories: Class I, Class II, and Class III. Where a product fits is based on the risk associated with the device and the intended use of the product. Almost half of all medical decides are Class II. Devices that are recognized as a pharmaceutical or supplement intended to diagnose, cure, prevent, or treat a disease affecting the structure of a human’s or animal’s body all go into this category. This is where Mandibular Adjustment Devices (MAD’s) or stop snoring mouthpieces fit. It’s a broad category, based on having a moderate to high risk factor, and includes everything from MADs to motorized wheelchairs. Classification confirms the safety and effectiveness of each device. Once that’s assessed, it can be determined whether the device is sold over-the-counter or with a prescription.
Which stop snoring devices need a prescription
While more and more stop snoring mouthpieces are being cleared for sale over the counter, there are still certain devices that require a visit to the doctor or dentist. Additionally, those used to treat sleep apnea require a medical professional’s recommendation, so you can’t find CPAP machines or mouthpieces that treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) sold over the counter.
As far as mouthpieces meant specifically to treat snoring, some are still only available through your dentist. Many tongue retention devices (TRD), such as the AVEOtsd mouthpiece, usually need to be fitted by a doctor or dentist. These devices vary from MADs in their design. While MADs fit over your teeth and shift your lower jaw forward to keep your airway clear while you sleep, TRDs focus on your tongue, holding it slightly forward to help keep your airway clear. The most common dentist-fitted oral appliances for snoring and OSA are custom-built acrylic MADs that require a dentist to fit it specifically to your mouth. These types of dentist-fitted mouthpieces are an expensive option, typically costing an average of $2,500, because they require multiple office visits and each mouthpiece is custom fabricated by a dental laboratory.
How to order an anti-snoring mouthpiece OTC
Some of the most popular anti-snoring mouthpieces are available over-the-counter and can easily be ordered online. A few are even available in select drugstores.
- ZQuiet – available online, also offers a 30 day trial period for a minimal cost.
- Zyppah – available online, comes in a variety of different colors so you can customize the appearance of your device.
- SnoreRX – available online, can also be found in select online drugstores across the country.
- PureSleep – available online by prescription, but before you can order, you’re required to fill out a lengthy survey on your health.
- VitalSleep – available online by prescription with options to order a standard size for men and another one for women.
When to consult a dentist no matter what
OTC anti-snoring mouthpieces should not be used as a treatment option if you think you may have any form of sleep apnea or any other type of sleep disorder. If you’re unsure whether your snoring is simply snoring, or a symptom of something greater like OSA you may want to complete the “STOP BANG” Questionnaire. If you answer “Yes” to three or more questions below, you should contact a doctor or dentist for an obstructive sleep apnea evaluation.
Do you snore loudly? Yes or No?
Do you often feel tired, fatigued, or sleepy during the daytime? Yes or No?
Has anyone observed you stop breathing during sleep? Yes or No?
Do you have (or are you being treated for) high blood pressure? Yes or No?
Are you obese/overweight (BMI more than 35 kg/m2) Yes or No?
Are you over 50 years old? Yes or No?
Is your neck circumference greater than 16 inches? Yes or No?
Are you male? Yes or No?
–Chung F et al Anesthesiology 2008 and Br J Anaesth 2012
If you suspect you may have OSA, the most common type of sleep apnea, your doctor will most likely ask you to participate in a sleep study to confirm the diagnosis. It’s essential that you find out either way to receive the proper treatment. Some people will use an over-the-counter MAD to keep their airway open and treat the snoring while they are waiting for professional medical diagnosis and treatment.
If you have conditions such as TMJ, gum disease, or loose or missing teeth you should consult with your dentist before using any oral appliance, whether you can purchase it over the counter or not. These issues can worsen with the use of certain devices and prevent the mouthpiece from working as efficiently as it should to help treat your snoring.
Still, have more questions about stop snoring mouthpieces? Our thorough list of Frequently Asked Questions can help you find the information you need to make an informed choice on which stop-snoring mouthpiece is right for you.