Wondering how a mouth guard could affect numbers?
BadBreath wrote:Hello all! I just had my 1 month follow up with my sleep doc and all is well. I took my smartcard as well as the graphs from Analyzer and he was quite impressed. At 100% compliance with a nightly average of 7.5 hours of therapy and AHI’s all below ten (half below 5) he was quite happy. And with my understanding of the numbers and the software, he said I was in the 99.9 percentile as far a patients go. I made it clear to him I owe it to my friends at the CPAP forum! I even showed him how to leave the data on the smartcard, and he was so impressed he said I should work for Resprionics LOL. I said maybe a job as a sleep technician, and to someday become registered, and he said “just say the word”. Maybe I have a new career path! When I asked for a new copy of my prescription with the mask unspecified, and copies of my sleep study including the charts, he couldn’t get them to me fast enough because he knew I would use them effectively.
As much as I liked my ball cap mod to the ComfortLite2, I just had a better fit and lower numbers consistently with the Opus mask. And with my mouth guard mod, I am able to sleep through the night on my side. I tried to improve on it in order to make it easy for anyone to modify, but I kept going back to the original setup as the best. Recently I purchased some mouth guards from Wal-Mart and ended up with a simple and effective mod after all. It is firm yet flexible and quite comfortable. There is a minor modification to the mask but it can still be used with the original headgear.
Two “Athletic Works” adult size strapped mouth guards from Wal-Mart. (98 cents each)
One “pin clip”, 1” long, 3/8” diameter on the large circle. (10-20 cents)
Elastic headband. I found one at Wal-Mart that is cloth in the front and elastic cord in the back – very comfortable – for under 2 dollars.
Trim the straps on the mouth guards leaving 1-1/4” (give or take – here is where there is some adjustability). Boil both guards together according to directions, but keep them from touching while boiling. You need to leave them in a little longer so they get sticky. When they come out of the water, without cooling, align them and press the bottoms and the straps together so they stick, creating a two sided mouth guard. Once they cool a moment put them in your mouth and set, according to directions, but for both your top and bottom teeth. Now dip only the strap into almost boiling water, and when soft, remove and shape into a cylinder, taking care to keep it straight and level. This may take repeated heating to get what you want. Lastly, about 3/8” from the tip (again, give or take) you want to crimp it (again while hot and soft) so there is an indent all around. It will look like a cylinder with a ball on the end (A round cap on a fence post? A round finial on a curtain round? A …I’ll stop there).
Now take the pin clip and squeeze together the ends and straighten them so they are parallel to each other.
You now want to bend just the very tips at the end outward very slightly.
Remove the Opus mask from the headgear. There is a tab on the housing where the head gear was attached. Drill a small 1/8” dia. hole through the center of the tab, being careful to not go through the housing underneath. You do not want to compromise the air chamber. And lastly put two ¾” slots in the front center of the head band about 1” apart.
Slightly open the pin clip and put it around the indent in the mouth guard post just below the ball.
With the ends facing up, squeeze them together and push both ends into the hole you made in the tab under the mask assembly. They should spread out once in and stay in the hole, but allow the mask housing to rotate and bend forward and back.
Place the spare hose strap (that came with the mask) through the slits you made in the head band and attach the hose.
Put the head band on and the mouth guard and nose pillows in. Adjust the placement of the tube on the headband so it maintains slight upward pressure on the nose pillows.
The flexibility between the mouth guard and the mask allow for easy adjustment, but the rigidity between your mouth and the post, and support above from the hose, keep everything in place.
I can usually tell the effectiveness of a seal by how quickly the auto-on responds. With this setup it comes on after the first breath. I sleep through the night (except for a small break usually around 3-4am), and my AHI is usually below 5.
Now the disclaimer: I use a mouth guard anyway for teeth grinding, but my sleep doc says a mouth guard can negatively affect your numbers. Others have also pointed that a simple mouth guard can affect the structure of your mouth. All I can say is this works well for me and my situation but YMMV. Buyer beware, and you get what you pay for. Let me know if this works for anyone else out there.
CPAPopedia Keywords Contained In This Post (Click For Definition): hose, CPAP, AHI, seal, Prescription, auto
We bill insurance and don't do fee for service like a dentist office.
A dentist would recommend a plastic guard. Why not get rid of the straps, protect the TMJ and decrease the pressure with a more custom fit device.
We are now fixing a number of off the shelf masks to our leak proof custom dental devices fitted by a dental sleep medicine practice.
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