Mandibular Advancement Device
Thirty percent of adults over the age of 30 snore. This may not seem like a large percentage, yet it equates to over 37 million people snoring on a regular basis according to the National Sleep Foundation. Snoring affects more than just the person snoring. Partners and family members can also be kept awake by the rumbling sounds of a snorer. This leads most individuals suffering from this condition to look for an anti-snoring device to quiet their night’s sleep.
While there are many options out there when seeking a device to stop snoring, mandibular advancement devices (MADs) are the most common type of stop-snoring mouthpiece. Addressing one of the primary reasons that cause people to snore — the vibration of soft tissue in the back of the throat caused by partial obstruction or narrowing of your airway and your tongue falling back in the throat — MADs reduce the potential for snoring by sliding your lower jaw slightly forward. Keeping your jaw forward helps increase the size of your airway and keep it open, decreasing the air turbulence and chances of snoring.
How MADs work
Focused on keeping your airway clear of obstruction, MADs prevent the rear part of the tongue from slipping back into the throat while you sleep. Putting the muscles in your lower jaw under tension, the device gently pushes them forward. Because your tongue muscles are actually attached to your lower jaw, setting your mouth into this position also shifts the base of your tongue forward. Maintaining this tension while you sleep prevents your tongue from relaxing and slipping back into your airway, minimizing the factors that cause a person to snore.
MADs work by engaging your teeth and using them as leverage points to advance the lower jaw. Although many of these mouthpieces have a similar appearance, the mechanics of how they move your jaw varies. Some devices work by mechanically attaching the upper and lower mouthpiece trays together in such a way that the lower tray protrudes beyond the upper tray. When in use, the lower teeth and jaw are positioned forward of the upper teeth. Some of the attachment mechanisms for this design include screws or other interlocking connectors that allow some adjustment to the amount of jaw advancement, but generally, force your mouth into a fixed position. Other mouthpieces use a hinged connection method between the upper and lower pieces. This design, which ZQuiet features, actually increases flexibility and allows you to move your mouth in multiple positions while wearing the mouthpiece.
Getting your MAD ready for use
MADs typically have two different options for preparation based on the specific device. In order to get your mouthpiece ready for use, you may have to boil the device before use to customize it to your mouth. These are known as boil-and-bite mouthpieces. Devices that don’t require this step often have additional features that make them customizable right from the box. While boil-and-bite mouthpieces have the added benefit of conforming to your teeth, there is a chance for user error during the process, which unfortunately is irreversible. Mis-molding your mouthpiece can lead to an ill-fitting device that doesn’t effectively stop your snoring. Other potential issues with boil-and-bite MADs include lack of mobility, as well as the general bulkiness of these devices.
MADs ready out of the box don’t require an additional preparatory step before they’re ready to wear, but you will have to figure out which settings work best for your mouth. This can lead to a trial-and-error process while you figure out exactly what type of adjustment successfully stops your snoring. Products like ZQuiet address this issue by offering you two different mouthpieces with your initial order. The first mouthpiece adjusts your jaw slightly by 2mm. If it does the trick and feels comfortable, there are no more steps to take to customize your MAD. If it doesn’t curb your snoring, the second mouthpiece provides a larger adjustment of 6mm to quiet your night’s sleep.
Regardless of which MAD you use, if you decide one is the right anti-snoring device for you, expect an adjustment period as you get used to using a mouthpiece while you sleep.
To learn more about all the stop-snoring devices available, including more information on ZQuiet, click here.