Are custom snoring devices better than over the counter mouthpieces?

Many life-long snorers are wondering if the high price is really justified and if there is a significant difference between the custom made and commercially produced snoring mouthpieces.

There are several differences, which greatly depend on the model.

1. The quality of fitting

One of the greatest advantages of custom made devices is their perfect fitting, since they are individually made for each customer, using precise measurements and impressions of his or her jaws and teeth. But, ‘boil and bite’ no-snoring mouthguards also achieve very high level of customization, as long as the customer follows the instructions to the letter.

When a customer orders one of the ‘boil and bite’ products online, he or she gets the generic mouthpiece made of thermoplastic. That type of plastic becomes soft when immersed in the hot water.

Customer is supposed to insert the device into his mouth while still hot and malleable and bite hard on it in order to get the accurate impression of his or her jaws. After a few seconds, the plastic cools and becomes hard and rigid, retaining the exact impression of the customer.

Some over-the-counter mouthpieces such as SleepPro Custom 

use similar dental impression kit, but after the customer takes the impression of his or her teeth, the impression is sent to the lab to be used to produce a customized oral device. The finalized mouthpiece is then sent back to the customer to be used to stop his snoring.

When dentists create custom made no snoring mouthpieces, they in fact go through the same process: they use a mold to create the impression of customer’s teeth, which they then send to the lab to be used to produce a no-snoring device.

Is there a difference in the quality? If a customer follows the instruction that comes with the kit, the impression should be as good as that produced by the dentist and the resulting appliance should be as perfectly fitting as that made by the dentist.

Of course, people are not always careful or patient and make a mess of impressions, so the devices do not come as they should, but with a bit of trial and error, the resulting product should be a perfect no-snoring device without a huge price attached.

2. Adjustability

In order to stop snoring, a mouthpiece is supposed to advance the jaw of the wearer slightly. This advancement should be done in small increments, bit by bit. Advancing the jaw too much right away would result in the painful jaw in the morning and probably not much sleep.

All good custom made no-snoring oral appliances have a range of advancement settings, which a customer can use to slowly push his jaw one setting at the time, until the result is achieved: no more snoring. There are several  over-the-counter no-snoring devices with similar settings, such as SnoreRX,  which features 10 advancement settings. Since this ability to adjust the settings is the key to the comfortable use and effectiveness of any oral appliance, only those that can be adjusted are comparable in quality to the custom made appliance.

3. Life expectancy

As expected, custom made professionally fitted oral devices generally have a longer lifespan. The life expectancy of commercially produced no snoring devices greatly depends on the model, the manufacturer and the material used for the product.

While professional devices normally last from two to five years, commercially produced mouthpieces last between three month and two years. This, of course, depends on how often the device is used, whether the user also grinds his or her teeth, and how he or she maintains his appliance.

4. The price

The most obvious difference between custom-fitted snoring devices and those purchased online is the price. While over the counter mouthpieces cost between $35 up to $200, you should expect to pay up to $2000 for a device made by your dentist.

The dentists justify the high price by the number of visits you have to make: first for the examination and consultation, then for the fitting, and, after it has been made, for adjustment. Keep in mind that almost no insurance companies will cover any of these expenses.

5. Safety

Dentists, as is to be expected, are not happy by the popularity of off-the-counter no-snoring products. One of their major complaints is that such devices are used without any medical supervision and that they can do quite a lot of damage if not used properly.

While there is some possibility of soreness caused by a poorly fitting device, this very much depends on the model of the OTC appliance. The quality between them varies a great deal. In addition, customers are not stupid and will not continue to use an appliance that is not fitting or is not doing the job of stopping  snoring. Since the price of OTC appliances is often low, a person can keep trying different models until he or she finds the one that works.

6. Convenience

The ability to get a no-snoring device from a local drugstore made it available to thousands of people who would not be able to get it otherwise. Visits to the dentists are time consuming and expensive, and many people would simply continue snoring, without having the benefit of a technology that is now available to put a stop to the annoying habit.

7. Snoring and apnea?

While some over-the-counter mouthpieces work to stop snoring and prevent apnea, apnea is far too serious to be treated without the medical input. In fact, every person who snores should visit the doctor to make sure that snoring is not a symptom of apnea.

During such a visit, a doctor can also suggest if a person is a good candidate for a no-snoring device, custom or commercial.