The Battle of Snoring Mouthpieces: MAD vs TRD

Updated on February 25, 2020

Are you ready to finally do something about your snoring problem? A snoring mouthpiece might help, but there are so many different brands, styles, and acronyms that it can be hard to know how to pick the right one.

What Causes Snoring?

The technical definition of snoring, according to the Mayo Clinic, is the “hoarse or harsh sound that occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate as you breathe.”   

In other words, your tongue falls back and partially blocks the throat. Just about everyone snores, but chronic snoring can be an indicator of a more serious problem that should be looked at by your doctor.

What Are the Different Types of Snoring Mouthpieces?

You’ve visited your doctor, and had a sleep study test, and now the recommendation is to get a snoring mouthpiece. The Mayo Clinic defines a snoring mouthpiece as a device that is fitted as a dental mouthpiece that helps keep the tongue, jaw, and soft palate in a forward position to keep the air passages open.

The two most popular mouthpieces are MAD, or Mandibular Advancement Device, and TRD, or Tongue Retaining Device. TRD’s are also referred to as TSD (Tongue Stabilizing Device). We will discuss both MAD and TRD in this article.

Both devices work to unblock the passage of air from the throat by keeping the tongue forward, but they accomplish this in two very unique ways.

Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD)

The MAD is extremely popular with oral appliance users. As the name implies, the MAD appliance moves the jaw forward. 

According to the American Sleep Association, a MAD lessens any restrictions in air flow by moving the jaw forward, which also keeps the tongue forward and away from the back of your throat. Think of a garden hose that has a kink in it, so the water won’t flow.   If we straighten the hose out then the water flows freely.  

MAD’s are molded to a patient’s teeth, which allows the upper jaw to remain in a fixed position while the lower jaw is pushed forward. 

MAD’s come in three varieties:

  • “Boil and Bite,” an over-the-counter option.  
  • Semi-custom devices, which are made from a mold of the teeth. 
  • Fully custom MAD made by a dentist or a sleep specialist.

Costs range from around $40 for the off-the-shelf models to almost $2000 for a top custom-fitted solution. ZQuiet MAD, one of the most popular devices in the market, for instance, is priced at $79.95.

Pros of a MAD:

  • A MAD allows you to breathe through your mouth.
  • How about teeth clenching or grinding? You’ll go MAD about this!
  • MADs can be adjusted for maximum efficiency.

Cons of a MAD:

  • A MAD can cause pain and soreness in the jaw, due to the pulling forward of the jaw.
  • Dentures?  You won’t be able to use a MAD.
  • MADs require fitting, which may mean visiting a professional, depending on the type of mouthpiece you get.
  • MADs will be the more costly option.

Tongue Retaining Device (TRD)

You’ve probably guessed that the TRD/TSD deals with the tongue. This unit is made out of flexible plastic or silicone resin, similar to sports mouth guards, and fits comfortably in the mouth. 

A TSD gently pulls the tongue forward and away from the back of the throat, which prevents the tongue from blocking any breathing, which in turn eliminates snoring. The TSD does this by attaching to the tongue through gentle suction and then is braced on the lips or teeth to keep the tongue slightly forward according to the American Sleep Association.

Pros of a TRD:

  • TRDs work very well with dentures. 
  • TRDs fit almost everyone.
  • TRDs are usually less costly than MADs

Cons of a TRD:

  • A TRD can cause soreness and pain in the tongue due to the constant pulling of the tongue by suction.
  • Most TRDs do not allow for breathing through the mouth.  If you have a deviated septum or are susceptible to allergies, TRDs are probably not for you.
  • TRDs are normally not adjustable.

Which One is Better?

Believe it or not, there is not a be-all answer to this question. In most cases, what works better for you is trial and error. Your doctor may have a suggestion of which snoring mouthpiece would work best, but ultimately the decision will be which one you are most comfortable with. Both types of devices have their pros and cons.   

You may also find that one solution may not work after a period of time, and you will need to try something different, especially if something else has changed with your body and/or health over time.

Do I Really Have a Problem?

Snoring can be an indicator of a major health problem, or it can be something as simple as a major irritant to your partner. No matter what, if you snore, someone is not sleeping well. Snoring can also be caused by consuming too many alcoholic drinks before bedtime, not getting enough sleep the night before, or just not feeling well.

In some cases, there are other ways to reduce snoring. Sometimes it is as simple as losing a few extra pounds, or sleeping on your side. Other times, the problem may require a more complex solution, such as a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) mask. In some extreme cases, surgery to repair a nasal cavity issue may be required. 

Not all snorers have a sleep disorder, but If you constantly feel tired after a night’s rest, have morning headaches, difficulty concentrating, a sore throat in the morning, or if you have been told you stop breathing for a moment during sleep, then it may be time to consult with your doctor or other medical professional and see if you have a sleep problem such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

As We Put This Article to Rest

We hope this article gave you some good tips to help you choose the right snoring mouthpiece for you. Remember, there is no one right solution for everybody, and you may have to try two or more before you find your perfect remedy. Now, go get some rest!

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.