What is a Snoring Appliance?

Jillian Peterson

A snoring appliance is a device that helps open airways to reduce snoring and let chronic snorers get better sleep. Loud snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea, a condition where muscles in the mouth and throat relax during sleep and obstruct the airways, causing the patient to snore or stop breathing during sleep. Most snoring devices fit in the mouth and hold the airways open to reduce snoring. The most common snoring appliances used are dental mouthpieces that hold the jaw open, but in severe cases of sleep apena, a CPAP machine may be prescribed by a sleep specialist.

BiPAP breathing masks can help manage sleep apnea, which is a common cause of snoring.
BiPAP breathing masks can help manage sleep apnea, which is a common cause of snoring.

A CPAP machine is a snoring appliance consisting of a mask, held in place by straps, that sits over the nose and mouth and is connected to a humidifier by a tube. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure, and the machine provides a continuous flow of compressed air that keeps the airway open and allows for unobstructed breathing during sleep. This kind of snoring appliance is usually only used in cases of severe sleep apnea. CPAP machines can only be prescribed by a doctor after the patient has completed a sleep study in a sleep laboratory to determine the cause and severity of their sleep apnea. A sleep specialist then fits and adjusts the pressure on the CPAP machine for each individual.

Earplugs can be used if your partner's snoring affects your sleep.
Earplugs can be used if your partner's snoring affects your sleep.

In milder cases of snoring, a snoring appliance known as a dental mouthpiece or mandible advancement splint may be used. Dental mouthpieces are usually made of soft, clear plastic and fit inside the mouth. These snoring devices move the jaw forward or lift the soft palate and keep the airway open. Some snoring devices even have a piece that sits on the tongue, preventing it from sliding backward into the throat and obstructing the airway.

Individuals with mild to moderate sleep apnea or snoring may buy these snoring mouthpieces from a drug store. Over the counter snoring mouthpieces can be soaked in hot water to allow the plastic to mold to an individual’s mouth. More expensive dental snoring mouthpieces can also be prescribed by a dentist. Snoring devices fitted by a dentist are molded specifically to an individual’s mouth, and can also help correct other dental problems.

For those who have a snoring partner, the best snoring appliance may be earplugs. Earplugs for snoring are different from earplugs made for swimming or blocking industrial noise. Partners of severe snorers can find earplugs that mold to the ear to block snoring. Snoring earplugs may also be shorter than other earplugs so that individuals can still sleep comfortably.

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