A revolution in custom made, dentist fitted oral appliances.
Traditionally custom made oral appliances were made from acrylic resin, similar to dentures. This material can be somewhat brittle and prone to fracture unless made to a thickness of around 4mm.
3D Nylon printed appliances can be made to a thickness of only 1mm yet still be virtually unbreakable. This has truly become a “game-changer” in the field allowing for a surpassed level of comfort in the mouth.
The following table compares custom made 3D Printed Nylon appliances, custom made acrylic appliances and over the counter ‘boil and bite’ devices.
Custom made oral appliances
Custom made oral appliances are now regarded by sleep physicians as the best available treatment for overcoming snoring and, along with the CPAP machine, one of the two main treatments for sleep apnoea. Recent studies1 demonstrate that oral appliances are as effective as CPAP, even for severe forms of sleep apnoea.
While the initial cost is higher for the custom made appliance there are many advantages including the fact that they will last many more years than a boil and device. Studies show that many people give up on a boil and bite device because of the ensuing problems and there is no support provided.
There are two types of custom made oral appliances:
1 Custom-made acrylic appliance
These are the conventional appliances that have been the main treatment of snoring and sleep apnoea. While they have been an effective appliance the material can be brittle and subject to fractures.
2 Custom-made 3D printed Nylon appliance
Using the latest generation technology, 3D printed Nylon can be made to a thickness of 1mm resulting in unprecedented comfort and accuracy of fit. This is becoming the new standard of care in oral appliances and is now being used exclusively at SleepWise Clinic.
Over the counter (boil and bite devices)
The other category is the ‘over the counter’ devices, also known as boil and bite devices. These can be purchased in stores, and online, and are basically one size fits all devices which are softened in hot water and adapted against the teeth. They generally have no, or only a limited way of adjusting the appliance to find the optimal position of the lower jaw.
The main problem with the boil and bite devices is that being one size fits all they need to be large in order to fit all sizes of people’s jaws. This makes them far bulkier than they need to be. Another problem is that because of the softness of the material they tend to fall off the teeth and don’t tend to stay in place during sleep.
So in summary, the consensus2 is that boil and bite devices are minimally effective and uncomfortable to use
For the best results, it’s very important that the dentist you see for an oral appliance is using the latest technology and providing 3D printed nylon appliances for snoring and sleep apnoea.