Tuesday, May 16, 2017

When It Stops Being Funny: Silent Nite Review

Snoring affects 90 million people, 37 million on a regular basis.  For the snorer, it can not only affect their quality of sleep but their productivity during waking hours.  Head bobbing at work and napping after work are often tell tale signs but they may also include morning headaches, waking up without feeling rested, changes in attention level or concentration/memory.  The Mr has always been a snorer. When he'd nap after work, I always giggled when he'd lay there with his head back, mouth breathing and would suddenly wake himself up with a loud snore.

But it got a little less funny over the past five years since my sleep became affected by it.  Not only would he wake me up and I'd have to bounce on the bed to gently wake him up, sometimes I would do that and it didn't help.  Then I'd have to resort to physically rolling him over and him kind of waking up a little...sometimes he'd comply, other times he got a little testy with me which would leave him about 2.3 seconds from almost getting bitch slapped over the head with my pillow. Sometimes he would get very quiet and I'd have to actually see if he was still breathing and other times he would wake up coughing.  Over the past year and a half, he began this horrible new habit of not only snoring but rolling onto me.  I called it "steamrolling" because that's what it felt like at 2AM.

Vacations were no respite from the guttural sounds or roller derby either as you can see from my actual journal entries:

2014- "Is it wrong I kept repeatedly bouncing in the bed hoping to shake the beast into another position?  I don't care.  Mama needed some sleep."

2015- "Had to go into the guest room to evade the grizzly bear in the room if I was going to get any sleep.  Too bad this bed sucked too."

2016- "Not much sleep to start the day since I had to listen to the buzzsaw."

12/19/16- "Not a great night's sleep again thanks to Mr Steamroller Snores-A-Lot."

Now these may seem funny but the last entry was the last straw.  In a fit of sleep deprived rage a few days later I screamed through exhausted tears, "you're getting tested for sleep apnea when we get back, I can't take this!!"  The past two years have been particularly bad and I've been severely sleep deprived.  I don't know if he thought I was kidding or it was a momentary fit but he soon learned it wasn't.  When we got back and I found myself crying in the middle of the night after being awakened and in desperate need of sleep, I researched and ordered a twin air mattress for him to sleep on in the guest room.  I told him to find a covered sleep doctor and start the process.

He turned a little white because the thought of a CPAP terrified him but it was either that or we progress to separate bedrooms like our 80's had kicked in.  He made his appointment and I went with him to the doctor after getting only 3 hours sleep the night before.  I typed out the behaviors I noticed as the person awake to observe them because to him, he didn't have a problem.  His snoring wasn't waking him up.  She said she appreciated the notes and then turned to the Mr and said "but YOU are my patient" and that pretty much disconnected me from the session because 1) I was too tired to give a crap anymore and 2) my sleep deprivation made me ragey and if I made eye contact with her again after the way she said it, I was going to need bail money.  Everything pointed to sleep apnea and she said that our insurance company required an at home sleep study first before approving a hospital stay sleep study.  So that night he picked up the machine for the home sleep study.

Basically it tracks your breathing and I think maybe your pulse or something.  The problem is it tracks when your both awake and asleep so that's already inaccurate because it can't tell when you've fallen asleep.  Doctors will typically only prescribe a home sleep study if they're fairly certain you have obstructive sleep apnea.  Well, of course, his came back totally normal despite him having panic induced anxiety and waking himself a few times that night by not breathing!  This page gives a good comparison of the two sleep studies to show why the at home version is kind of a waste unless you've got a severe case.

So the doctor is like "okay, do you want the in house sleep study?"  Um, well the snoring is still happening, wife is still refusing to sleep with me so yes.  It was a few weeks out and he was trying to find other solutions.  He had a dentists appointment between that time and she mentioned an oral apparatus might be a solution if a CPAP wasn't an option.  Now we're not talking those $20-90 deals you see on Amazon where you boil two trays and wear it as a night guard.  That doesn't do anything to physically move your jaw forward which is what needs to happen to open up the airway.  A friend recommended an oral device she looked into for her husband that was $200 but upon further investigation saw that it is not compatible for those with crowns.  The one your dentist does is a hefty $600.  I know, sounds expensive but when you're getting no sleep, you'll pay pretty much anything.  Meet Silent Nite.

The dentist takes a mold of your teeth, sends it out to be manufactured and they have several different firm but flexible bands on the side that will pull your jaw forward to open the airway.

His dentist did it on the most common setting that sees results and I let him back into the bedroom.  I'm not gonna lie, I had anxiety about sleeping with him again so I didn't get much sleep that first night and neither did he.  So I did hear some snoring but it was not representative of a normal night's sleep.  He was also complaining about his teeth hurting a little and while I sympathized I was thinking "that's nothing compared to how I'mma hurt you if I don't get some friggin' sleep!"

By the third night, we'd settled in a bit and then I heard it on cue at 2am.  It lasted 2 hours and I grabbed my phone and sent him a message for the morning "call dentist to adjust" so I could get some sleep once he was up.  He adjusted to the next setting and this one pulled his jaw forward a little more.  He did ask about the tooth pain and he said that because of this being molded exactly to your teeth, there is no way it can do any kind of damage to the teeth.  The soreness he was feeling were the ligaments in his jaw strengthening and there would likely be a 2 week adjustment period.  It was a little better but I felt like it just needed one more tick up and we'd be there.  I was right.

The third (and so far final) adjustment works very well and I would say his snoring is 85% better.  He doesn't wake me up with it anymore and when I do hear him, it's always because he's in a 45 degree angle or on his back and he usually stirs enough to turn over and I haven't had to roll him or beat him with a pillow.  (Watch me jinx myself on that one)  In the morning, he knows when he's snored or at least gone to mouth breathing and had the airways open because he'll have a little bit of jaw ache but that's on a really bad night.  This is how far forward his jaw comes when it kicks in to open the airway.

You can see it's very slightly forward but enough to open things up and allow air to pass.

So what about the hospital sleep study?  Well, all of this was going on when he was going through studying for a big test and we had to push it back 2-3x to both give him more study time and also to give this device time to be properly tested to see if the sleep study was even necessary.  This was going to be $750 AFTER what insurance covered.  Well thank God we put it off because we got a letter a month after it all started saying they denied covering the hospital sleep study due to the negative results on the at home study and that would've been $5000 out of our pocket!!  So when you compare $600 to $750 and especially to $5000, given the result, this was money well spent.  Any time he needs an adjustment or more bands, it's all covered and free through his dentist.  I don't know if it's just our crappy insurance but they do not cover it.  If you find yourself needing to go this route, you might want to talk to your dentist to see if its typically covered.

Sleep apnea can be life threatening and people who have it are more likely to have strokes and heart attacks so if you suspect you or your partner has this issue, you need to have it evaluated!  I don't know if you'll get to "luck out" like we did but they have come a long way in CPAP technology and you may not even need a full face mask so don't let that scare you.  Obviously obesity and being overweight plays a part as well because of the extra fat in the neck area so just one more reason to get and stay at a healthier weight!

But let's actually hear from the patient:

As The Mrs. told you, I mentioned some of my snoring issues to my dentist and asked about this dental device I'd heard of.  He first told me that if I need the device for snoring then all I had to do was ask.  However, if I felt I needed the device for apnea then it would require a sleep lab/overnight stay result and a full prescription. This is how the medical industry works sometimes and he admitted that even though the device ALSO fixes sleep apnea, he cannot prescribe it for that specifically without those lab results.

So I told him I just need to stop the snoring (wink wink) and I was finally on my way to a potential solution. They took molds of my mouth which was an easy, 10-15 minute process and literally a week later I came back in to get the "Silent Nite" device.

The device is actually a hard vinyl material and clicks onto your teeth, unlike some mouth guards that are soft and just kind of form to your teeth. It is not uncomfortable to wear but it does keep you from being able to open your mouth all the way and as Anele mentioned it forces your jaw forward, which also brings your tongue forward and simply provides a much larger air opening than you have under normal conditions. If you were to open your mouth and try to mimic a snore, you'll find it's easy to do. But then try to do that with your lower jaw pushed forward as far as possible. You might find you can still do a snore sound, but it's likely not going to be anywhere near as loud as it would otherwise be. That is how this thing works. 

The first few days I had the most sore teeth in the morning afterward. My dentist informed me that this is normal as the device especially leverages your two front teeth as part of it's fulcrum to force your lower jaw forward. As my teeth build stronger ligaments, he said, it will lessen. He was right. It takes a really special night of snoring or mouth openings for me to feel soreness now. I admit I might feel some still when I first take it off in the morning but it quickly goes back to normal. You just cannot argue with the results. The fact that I am back in our bed and the Mrs. is getting a full night sleep next to me again is worth every penny! 

Now of course you know from what The Mrs. told you, I do not have a CPAP machine to compare this to. The hoops they were going to make me jump through to get that are flat out ridiculous. It amazes me that a machine that is supposed to save you from apnea AND supposedly improve your restful sleep is so hard to get your hands on. But that is how they want it and I think it's primarily because of the sheer large amounts of money they get by making you go through that whole process.

I admit that I did start to feel like I was going to miss out on this amazing restful sleep that CPAP machines supposedly give people. Well, to my surprise, I started to see those same results with my dental device within 3 weeks! I can honestly say that I am more likely to sleep through the night now without having to even get up to pee or anything. Not every night, mind you, but considerably more than ever before and my nights are more restful than ever! This tells me that I am truly getting more air and this is all without some big machine next to my bed.  (Though I guess they are smaller now since people travel with them, it's the humidifier that can make them bigger)

One other benefit I am getting is that I also used to grind my teeth at night. I had a dental guard  (affiliate link) for that which I would try to remember to wear during periods of stress but sometimes I forgot to wear it and would pay the price the next day with sore teeth or a major headache. Well this device takes care of that too. I haven't awakened with a single headache since I started wearing it. And you could count on me to have at least a few headaches a month in a good month.

So all in all I think I got the right thing for me. I have no problem wearing it now and I am actually thankful that it works as well as it does. And should it stop being as effective then I know I still have 2 more adjustments that can be made if necessary to make it even more effective. About the ONLY problem I have now is that I kind of like to have a backup plan in case something gets lost and the cost of this thing is prohibitive for that. I wish they would sell you a backup one at half price or something, but that's just me.  

Do you have sleep apnea?  Ever been through sleep studies or have a dental device to treat it?

(This post contains an affiliate link,  Should you choose to buy through it, I may get a small commission to help with blog expenses.)

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  1. My husband has a cpap and it has saved his life because I was going to kill him. I was full on ready to toss him out of the bedroom permanently because of all the sleep I was missing. Since he got it, when he wears it, he is welcome to stay because I can now sleep without chainsaw noises making my ginger rage pop up.

  2. I got a CPAP about two years ago and it has saved my life. I had apnea so bad that I was dozing off while on the freeway in heavy traffic and in meetings at work. The CPAP machine is not as bad as I feared it would be (it's small, fairly quiet, and I wear a nose cushion instead of a full-face mask) but I am really glad to hear that there are additional options like the the Silent Nite dental device, since it sounds like that is a lot easier to obtain and less expensive. I was lucky - my insurance covered the device and the hospital sleep study - but I still have to pay $11 per month for the device and supplies (replacement air filters, replacement mask, etc.)

  3. My hubby has a problem with my snoring. I'm such a fitful sleeper I figured a hospital test was pointless. I'd have to stay 3 nights before I was acclimated to the room enough to sleep. I read about the good night appliance and asked my dentist but they didn't prescribe them. So new dentist and $600 later I had the device. After the adjustment period it worked ok. It's not built for smaller mouths so at night my lips would part and I'd wake up with dried saliva bubbles all over my lips. Then the plastic connectors snapped. $50 later I had a new set of connectors. A month later the first of those snapped. By this time, in spite of following the regular cleaning instructuons, I noticed a white buildup in the pocket by the connector and a green tinge in other spots. Then I had to get a cracked tooth pulled and with the replacement tooth the device is useless. It doesn't fit my teeth any more. Rather than buy a new one and keep paying to replace the connectors, I've given up. I think I used the device for a little more than a year total. I hope the Mr. has better luck. There seemed to be a lot of positive independent reviews of it. But if someone has a smaller than normal mouth or a history of TMJ, I highly advise against it.

  4. How ironic that one of the ads that popped up at the bottom was for Breathe Right Strips for snoring! I'm very happy to hear that you found a setting on the dental device that is working for the Mr.! I do have sleep apnea and use a c-pap machine, although I admit to not being consistent with it. I need a new hose and it goes right out of my mind to order one...until it's time for bed. But when I do use it consistently, my sleep is more sound and a side effect I didn't realize I'd benefit from is I don't have to get up to pee during the night. Thanks for the post because I need to get my butt in gear and order that new hose!

  5. I have sleep apnea and I did the at home sleep study, mine had an oxygen monitor involved too, and it was OBVIOUS when I was a sleep and awake, because asleep, you watched my O2 sats DROP down into the 50s, then shoot right back up to 98 or so. The doctor said I had 120 events PER HOUR. I never completely stopped breathing, but I struggled to breath with every breath. I now have a cpap and a nose/mouth mask and I have a love/hate relationship with my machine. I honestly hate it. It affects my cuddling with my husband. But you'll have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands.


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