Growing up my friends would often joke about me snoring. We would go camping and everyone would say I scared all the wildlife away. I even had someone say something to me about it from a campsite near mine. I just learned to live with it and joke about it, too. Little did I know that it was affecting my health. My name is Aaron and am a former snorer.
Fast Forward to Adulthood
When I met my wife, I can truly say I met my match. Not only does she snore; she is louder than me! I didn’t even think this was possible. I started doing a little research on snoring and this is when I learned how it was affecting my health. I also wondered if this was the reason I always seemed so tired during the day, even with eight hours of sleep.
I decided right then that I was going to buy something that would stop my snoring. Of course, I had no idea just how large the market is full of devices that claim to be the solution. I discovered everything from chin straps to snore pillows to nasal strips, as well as a few gimmicks I am embarrassed to say both me and my wife tried in hopes of them being the miracle we were looking for. I think I spent more time researching snoring products than I did studying for all my finals put together when I was back in college years ago. The more I learned the more I wanted to find a solution.
Visiting My Doctor
I traditionally avoid going to the doctor, if I can help it, but I had no success with any of the products I tried. So, I made an appointment. Upon his evaluation, he determined that I snore, as if I needed to be told this.
So, I asked him what I needed to do to put a stop to it. He suggested elevating my head more, sleeping on my side, and avoiding drinking alcohol. Of course, I had already stumbled across these ideas during my own research and had tried them already. None were helpful for either of us.
Then, he suggested that I try an anti-snoring mouthpiece. I had briefly read about them, but honestly I just dismissed the idea out of frustration when none of the other products were helping.
He explained that the snoring is caused from vibrating tissues in my collapsed airway. When you sleep, your jaw falls back toward your throat, which allows these tissues to get closer together. As air passes through it causes them to vibrate. My doctor said that a mandibular advancement device (MAD) works by holding the lower jaw in a forward position. This tightens muscles that surround the airway, which prevents the vibration.
I was ready to try a mouthpiece. Quite honestly, my frustration had nearly instantly turned to excitement. He started listing some different brands that are available, including Myerson EMA, Somnodent, Silent Partner, Somnomed, Tap III, SnoreFree, Snore Silencer Pro, and the SUAD device.
I was ready to try any of them, but then he started talking about the price. My happy bubble literally exploded when he gave me a price range of $1,500 to $3,000. That is more than I paid for my first car. Was he serious? I politely told him “I’ll decide which one I want and get back to you.” Of course, I had no intentions of spending that amount of money on one.
Looking for an Alternative
Although I left the doctor’s office discouraged, I was eager to get home and get on the Internet. I was sure I had read about mouthpieces during my research that could be ordered online. I could not remember how much they were, but I did not recall having sticker shock, so they couldn’t have been as much as the prescription devices.
As soon as I walked in the door I got on the computer. I found dozens of oral appliances that simply needed to be molded using a “boil-and-bite” technique. This is comparable to the fitting process done by a dentist or doctor. It sounded a little intimidating, but considering most were under $100 I was willing to give one a try.
Now, I had to decide which one to order. The more I looked the more confused I became. Some had air holes and others had adjustability features. Some were BPA-free and others were not. I assumed all would be FDA-cleared, but learned that not all wear this label. Plus, I was reading a ton of mixed reviews, so I figured not all devices work for every person. Choosing one was going to be harder than I thought.
All I kept thinking was that I wish there was one website with reviews from several products and maybe a comparison chart to make this process simpler. Right then it dawned on me that I was going to create this website. I figured there are probably thousands of other people trying to make the same decision as me. No one should have to do this much research to get relief from snoring. I was already invested, so I might as well share what I learned.
I knew I would have to try several products firsthand to give them a fair review. However, considering I could order 20 devices for the price of one prescription one it did not seem so bad after all.
My biggest challenge would be also finding one for my wife. As a reviewed the products briefly I was finding that the ones I stumbled across were not suitable for denture wearers, which my wife is. Surely there would be something for her available, too.
Over about a two-year span I tried several anti-snoring mouthpieces: GMSS, ZQuiet, SnoreRx, VitalSleep, Snore-Ex, SnoreMender and SnoreMender PS, Snore Eliminator, Snoremeds, SnoreMate, ProSnore and ProSnore II, Ripsnore, Zyppah RX, Snore Guard. Below are features I evaluated, and questions I needed to find the answers to with each device.
- Airflow Holes – Not only are there holes, but are they large enough to breathe through, but not so large to force the mouth to stay open too wide?
- Adjustability – Does the device offer the option to adjust the lower jaw position? If yes, how easy is the process?
- Material – Does acrylic resin or thermoplastic seem to make a difference in comfort? Is the material BPA-free and/or latex-free? How thick is the material?
- Construction – Is it hard or soft? Does this seem to make a difference in comfort and effectiveness?
- FDA-cleared – Is the device cleared by United States Food and Drug Administration? Is only the material cleared, but not the device itself?
- Fitting Process – Do mouthpieces that are lab-molded fit better than those done with the boil-and-bite technique?
- Guarantee – Is there a money back guarantee? How long do you have to return the device? What is the ease in returning? Do you have to pay shipping charges to send it back?
- Dentist Designed – Is the mouthpiece designed or endorsed by a dentist?
My goal throughout the trial was to find a mouthpiece that would be comfortable, durable, and effective while also considering the overall price.
During this time, I also learned that not all mouthpieces are mandibular advancement devices. There is also tongue stabilizing devices (TSD) available. This expanded my research even further because the TSD holds the tongue forward rather than advancing the jaw. I had finally found a suitable option for my denture-wearing wife.
I gave each device a fair trial period of either 7 or 14 days. I found that I could not make a decision based on one night. Most caused soreness the first night, so I had to see how many days it would take for my mouth to accept the product. Plus, just because one worked the first night did not mean it would continue to be effective for the full trial. Some of the devices I got rid of as soon as the trial was complete, but many I still have today.
The Results of My Trials
I have to admit, going into this I did not really expect to be blown away by the results. I would have been happy just finding one that worked. What I found is that almost all of them were effective at stopping my snoring. To say I was surprised by these results would be an understatement.
However, in terms of comfort and usability there were some extreme differences. Some of the more primitive appliances felt like I had a plastic ball in my mouth. They were so uncomfortable. Some were easy to mold using the boil-and-bite technique while others took a few tries to get it right. I felt spoiled the first time I tried a mouthpiece that allowed me to make micro adjustments to the lower jaw positioning. It was nice being able to achieve to most precise advanced position for my mouth.
When I was done trying all the devices, I planned on putting to the test, I created a comparison chart. This should help you tremendously if you are trying to decide which one to buy.
So, you are probably dying to know which mouthpiece is my favorite, right? Well, after trying several MADs, I settled on ZQuiet. I really love the Living Hinge Technology™. Its low profile design and super soft material is incredibly comfortable to wear. It had become my device of choice.
This is when I was introduced to tongue stabilizing devices. I was wrapping up my trials and developing my reviews when I stumbled across Good Morning Snore Solution (GMSS). I had no interest in trying it because I was content with ZQuiet, but I was intrigued because it is a TSD, not an MAD. So, I ordered it for my wife to try since the GMSS website says it is safe for denture wearers.
She was so excited to receive it and put it the test. Let me tell you this was the first night she slept soundly. Yes, this means I slept soundly, as well. For a full week all she did was talk about this device, so I figured I would try just one more and ordered one for myself. I was sold the first night. So, GMSS is what we both wear now.