Stop Snoring & Keep Smiling: 4 Common Myths About Mouthpieces and Your Teeth

Are you keeping your partner up all night?

Do you think snoring might be affecting your overall health?

Snoring affects a lot of people, but snoring mouthpieces can help alleviate the problem.

There are many misconceptions about snoring mouthpieces. Read on to learn the truth from dental professionals about these mouthpiece myths.

Do snoring devices stain teeth?

Many people are concerned the mouthpiece may stain their pearly whites.

Dr. Marielaina Perrone is a family, cosmetic, and implant dentist who practices in both Henderson and Las Vegas, Nevada. She specializes in creating those beautiful smiles that we all desire.

When asked about staining issues, Dr. Perrone wasn’t concerned.

Marielaina Perrone DDS They do not cause tooth staining.  However, you should always thoroughly clean the appliance after use and let it air dry. Your teeth should be brushed and flossed before placing the appliance in for the night. Also, have your appliance checked and cleaned at your regular dental hygiene appointments.

Dr. Dan Bruce has a private dental practice in Boise, ID, and devotes a significant proportion of his time to treatment of sleep apnea. Dr. Bruce has been invited to speak on sleep apnea treatment dental study clubs, along with local physician offices.

Dr. Bruce has not seen staining from snoring appliances on his patient’s teeth:

Dan BruceIt is, however, very important to clean the appliance according to the manufacturer’s instructions (which vary from appliance to appliance) in order for the appliance to not pick up stain itself.  Silver fillings, or amalgams, may tend to stain the appliance, depending on the liner used.  This will not affect the useful life of the appliance.

Now that we have the staining myth out of the way, we’ll address some other common concerns.

Will the mouthpiece cause teeth movement?

Many people fear a snoring device can cause their teeth to move. That would be terrible if that were the case.

Dr. Bruce believes that while tooth movement as a result of the appliance does not occur with every patient, it is a risk and may require extra attention.

Many patients will notice short-term changes in the bite after removal of the appliance. Many offices will provide a customized repositioning appliance for morning use. This should help the bite return to normal. Even with the repositioning appliance, some patients I have treated may develop a change in their bite. This may or may not be reversible if the appliance is discontinued.

In cases where the individuals bite change does not revert to normal, Dr. Bruce says there are several options:

If the bite change is permanent and the change does not affect the chewing ability, speech or other functions of the teeth some patients may elect to do nothing and will function well. Others may desire restorative dental treatment or orthodontic treatment to achieve full contact of the teeth. I definitely feel a custom fitted appliance from an experienced dentist reduces this risk and provides a more comfortable night’s sleep.

The only patients I have personally seen bite changes in are those wearing sleep apnea appliances. For those patients, it is important to weigh the consequences of bite change vs. the health risks of untreated obstructive sleep apnea.

Dr. Perrone also commented on teeth movement as a result of snoring mouthpieces:

They should not interfere with tooth alignment if made properly. There is usually only about a 1/2 hour period in the morning after removing the appliance where the bite may feel off. The muscles will quickly readjust and be back to normal.

Is there a good DIY option?

Speaking of making sure the device is made properly, some people are tempted to save money and use a “boil and bite” mouthpiece. If the results are the same, why should anyone go to the dentist and spend more money?

Richmond, VA dentist Dr. Erika Mason, has spent the past 25 years building her practice on a foundation of innovation, exceptional patient care, comfort and trust. Dr. Mason provides general dentistry and progressive dental techniques, including treatment of sleep apnea, with the aid of the most advanced technology.

Dr. Mason says some patients are skeptical that snoring mouthpieces even work.

Erika Mason DDSIf they are custom made by a dentist and they are just not a “boil and bite” type of mouthpiece then they will be comfortable and should stop the snoring!

Erika also warns her patients the DIY mouthpieces can cause tooth movement or improper fit. This could potentially lead to more expensive dental work in the future.

Dr. Bruce agrees with Dr. Mason:

I have seen a few patients who have purchased “boil and bite” appliances for snoring over the Internet who have come in with sore jaws and maligned teeth from improper fitting of the appliance.

It seems we should avoid the do it yourself “boil and bite” mouthpieces at any cost. Saving a few dollars today isn’t worth the potential headache and expenses a poor fitting appliance could cause later.

Why bother with a snoring mouthpiece at all?

Some patients don’t see their snoring as a problem in the first place. It’s important to realize that snoring might be a symptom of bigger health issues. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Dr. Mason warns:

The key to remember is, snoring isn’t always benign. It usually has some consequences associated with it that can be life threatening and very consequential to patients health. If people say, ‘Oh, I just snore,’ that is not usually the case. They should be tested for obstructive sleep apnea, and then proceed with a snoring device.

If you were wondering what exactly is obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Bruce explains it for us:

Snoring is a narrowing of the airway during sleep which causes an audible sound.  When the airway is completely closed off during sleep or is so narrow that the blood level of oxygen is decreased significantly, this is classified obstructive sleep apnea.  

Dr. Bruce continues, with an explanation of why obstructive sleep apnea is a problem:

There can be serious health consequences with obstructive sleep apnea, and it can be very hard to distinguish between sleep apnea and snoring.  This is the biggest misunderstanding when it comes to snoring.  Many patients know they snore, but do not know that if sleep apnea is involved this could cause high blood pressure, result in excessive sleepiness during the day, or cause many other health problems.

It appears obstructive sleep apnea could wreck havoc on our health, and snoring is the warning sign.

If snoring has become an issue it might be time to start contacting local professionals. Staining and teeth movement won’t be a problem as long as patients are working with an experienced dentist to choose and care for a proper snoring mouthpiece.

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