It only takes a really quick glance to realize that Snore Guard looks quite different than most other mandibular advancement devices (MADs) you are probably used to seeing. It appears as though there is a whole lot of extra material on it that does not really need to be there.
However, if you are like me then you are probably wondering if this oversized design serves some sort of beneficial purpose. Maybe it is not as bulky as it looks. Perhaps that oversized jaw design is paper thin and improves fit and comfort. After all, surely a snoring mouthpiece manufacturer would not just create such an invasive-looking product for no reason, right?
A Closer Look
Although Snore Guard is just beginning to gain more exposure in the United States it is actually one of the more established products on the market. This device was first manufactured all the way back in 1989. However, for a really long time it was only available with a prescription from dentists in Canada. Today, Canadian residents can order online without a prescription. It is also now available in the United States, but you do need to go through a dentist to get it.
Snore Guard is a mandibular advancement device (MAD), which means that it is designed to hold your lower jaw in a slightly advanced position. By doing this, your airway remains free of obstruction while you sleep. As you may know, all the muscles in your body relax when you fall asleep. So, your tongue and throat muscles relax, too, which allows small tissues to fall closer to one another. In many people these tissues actually touch and cause an obstruction. As air is pushed through during normal breathing, these tissues vibrate and result in that loud snoring sound that earns you an elbow to the ribs throughout the night from a partner who would love to sleep if it was a little quieter.
As you can see from the pictures, Snore Guard has a lot of extra material. Like other MADs it has an upper and lower jaw, and it is made of plastic. It should be noted that the plastic is very smooth and nonirritating. Instead of the upper jaw just fitting around the teeth though this device has a fairly wide piece that wraps around the upper jaw between your teeth and inner lips, yet there is not much to the lower jaw. I have to admit, when I first saw it, I thought the design was either really awful or super brilliant. Unfortunately there was nothing brilliant about how it made my mouth feel.
Snore Guard arrives as a one-size fits all device, but like other MADs, you do need to do the boil-and-bite technique to achieve a custom fit. It also has a large airflow port in the front that allows you to breathe through your mouth as easily as when you are awake. The ports force your mouth to remain slightly open for this purpose.
I did not do trials on many mouthpieces that require a prescription unless I was really intrigued by what they had to offer. This happens to one of the few that I did do because I really wanted to see if that extender ramp would be as uncomfortable as I was imagining it would be. Let’s just say that sometimes, you can judge a book by its cover!
I had my dentist order a Snore Guard for me. We decided that my wife would sit this trial out. Thank goodness we did because there is no chance she would have been able to wear this contraption.
My dentist offered to do the boil-and-bite method with me to fit the device, but I decided to take care of it at home since I have a lot of experience doing it. First, I rinsed it with warm water and a little dishwashing detergent. I was surprised that this is yet another mouthpiece that only says to rinse with warm water in the cleaning instructions. I really do not understand why better cleaning instructions are not being provided with some of these devices. Just thinking about all the bacteria multiplying on these things makes me cringe. So, if you are like me, and not crazy about introducing new germs to your mouth from the day before add a little dishwashing soap to your care routine. Avoid toothpaste unless stated otherwise. Toothpaste can be abrasive and some mouthpieces are discolored by it.
Snore Guard recommends wearing the device for a couple hours per day for a few days in a row. Since I’m used to wearing MADs, I sort of skipped this step. Well, I didn’t skip it completely. After I achieved a custom fit, I did leave it in for about a half hour just trying to figure out how anyone would wear this bulky thing every day for any length of time when there are so many others available that are significantly more comfortable. My jaw was already sore because it forces your mouth to stay open a little more than most devices, and I felt like the skin between my nose and lip were being stretched out from the thickness of the device.
That night, I didn’t even want my wife to see me wearing it. She warned me not to do this one, but I didn’t listen. I knew I would have to deal with that smug, “I told you so!” look for the next seven days.
I waited until the very last minute to put in my Snore Guard. I tried to be very enthusiastic about it, so my wife wouldn’t know I was already dreading my decision.
The morning came with mixed feelings. First, the device stayed in all night. Second, my wife said I was quiet all night. So, what’s wrong with that? Well, I did not want to eat breakfast and it was not because I wasn’t hungry! When I took that mouthpiece out it was as if my mouth was permanently stuck in an open position.
I told my wife I was in the mood for one of those green smoothies she always tries to get me to drink. I usually prefer to chew my breakfast. Well, at least when I don’t feel like I slept with a bowling ball in my mouth all night.
The second night, I took it our around midnight when I got up for a drink of water and “forgot” to put it back in when I went back to bed.
You can usually expect a little soreness when you start wearing a mouthpiece. I’m used to that soreness. I know it will usually start to fade by day three. This device caused a little more than just soreness. To be honest, I lasted three nights and had to retire it. When your jaw aches like mine did it is a pretty good sign that the device is not a good option for you.
For a prescription-only device it does not make a whole lot of sense for this product to be so generic and outdated. Not only are there more advanced mouthpieces available by prescription; there are also some devices that are far more advanced and comfortable than Snore Guard and available without a prescription.
I really can’t find much positive to say about this device. If you live in Canada this could be a convenient and budget-friendly product, considering it is available online and in many stores. Ordering one in the United States is a pain. However, if it was a little more comfortable it might be worth the effort.
I do appreciate that Snore Guard is crafted from smooth material and cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, but the bulky design cancels out any positive qualities it has. It is hard to justify paying premium prices when you can easily order more advanced devices that are effective and comfortable. Zyppah is a great example of an MAD that is easy to get used to wearing and available without a prescription. You can also step out of your comfort zone and consider a chinstrap like My Snoring Solution. The concept is the same, but the design is very different.
I used to annoy my wife and two kids with my snoring, but no longer! Now I blog about different devices and techniques for stopping snoring.