mouthguardsThere’s a reason why mouthguards are commonly referred to as snoring and athletic devices, and sleep apnea snoring mouthpieces are referred to as such. It’s because these two things are entirely different appliances; serving different purposes and goals. While they do have similarities, mouthguards are typically used to address bruxism (teeth grinding) and as a protective device for athletes during contact sports activities. Sleep apnea appliances, on the other hand, serve to clear the airway during sleep, so apnea episodes are eliminated. Let’s further discuss the similarities and differences of mouthguards and sleep apnea mouthpieces.

What Are Mouthguards?

Mouthguards are oral appliances that serve several purposes. They can be designed to address bruxism and snoring. They can also be made to protect the teeth and soft tissues of the mouth from trauma during contact sports and risky activities like basketball, soccer, boxing, ice skating and gymnastics among other things. As its name suggests, the main purpose of a mouthguard is to provide a block or protection when the face or teeth experience a blow. Mouthguards reduce the risk of acquiring severe facial and dental traumas when an accident happens.

A mouthguard is a necessary device for people who clench or grind their teeth because it shields the teeth from the extreme pressures of bruxism. It also helps control teeth grinding because reflex action signals the brain to stop the grinding action the moment the teeth hit the appliance. A mouthguard is, therefore, an essential piece of equipment for good oral and physical health. It can be bought in free sizes at certain stores, but dentists can give you customized, perfectly-fitting mouthguards that are so much more comfortable to use than mouthguards that come in one-size-fits-all sizes.

What Are Sleep Apnea Mouthpieces?

A sleep apnea mouthpiece is used as a non-surgical treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. It is known in dentistry as the mandibular advancement appliance. The device works by repositioning the tongue so the air passageways are cleared during sleep. It enhances oxygen intake, so apnea episodes are prevented.

What Are the Similarities and Differences between these Two Oral Appliances?


  • Both can be adjusted for comfort.
  • Both belong in the same category – mandibular advancement appliances.
  • Both can be customized according to individual needs.


  • The intended use or purpose of using each of these devices is different.
  • A mouthguard isn’t always customized to individual needs. It can even be bought online. A sleep apnea mouthpiece, on the other hand, is usually fitted by the dentist himself.
  • The overall construction of each of these two devices is different. Sleep apnea mouthpieces are made out of an acrylic resin material that can last for many years. Mouthguards, on the other hand can only last from 6 to 24 months.
  • Sleep apnea mouthpieces are more expensive than mouthguards.

Visit Us at Carolina Dental Center

If you have questions or concerns about mouthguards and sleep apnea mouthpieces, get in touch with us through this number – (843) 357-2122, or contact us online. Our practice specializes in non-surgical sleep apnea therapy with the use of the mandibular advancement appliance. We can also provide you with a customized mouthguard to address your needs.

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