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Thornton adjustable positioner (TAP) is a special mandibular advancement device designed to improve obstructive sleep apnea and snoring, thereby improving health and quality of life.
The TAP appliance is:
The rate of efficiency for TAP device is so high, that it's considered one of the best CPAP alternatives.
First of all, you need to know that TAP is effective only for patients with obstructive sleep apnea, when the airway completely collapses, blocking the airflow into the lungs.
The dental TAP appliance is preventing the airway to collapse, and it will maintain the airway open to allow air to pass through the throat.
The thornton adjustable positioner holds the lower jaw in a forward position so that is does not open during sleep and cause the airway to collapse. Keeping the mouth closed and the lower jaw in a forward position is the key to maintain the airway open.
By maintaining a clear airway, the TAP can improve breathing and reduce snoring during sleep.
The clinical studies show significant improvements in patients with sleep apnea during the test and after the short or long-term evaluation:
The aim of this study was to compare the treatment efficiency of CPAP and the mandibular advancement device for long-term evaluation.21 patients were tested with dental devices and 22 patients with CPAP. The results were slightly better for CPAP; however, the CPAP patients showed more problems in accepting their treatment due to the CPAP side effects than the patients with oral devices.
This study demonstrates that the mandibular advancement devices, including the TAP appliance, may reduce the severity of obstructive sleep apnea for the entire period of the study (1 year).
This video demonstrates how to use the TAP 2 appliance for sleep apnea and snoring:
Here is a good visual guide about how to properly clean a thornton adjustable positioner:
The most common side effects with the use of TAP and other mandibular advancement devices are the following:
If the salivation persists, then it may indicate that there is mouth breathing as a result of inadequate lip seal, or because the nasal airway is partially or totally blocked.
If you are a severe mouth breather, but your nasal airway is open, you can use a chin strap to help you keep the mouth closed.
The cause of the discomfort is associated with the strain on the masticatory musculature from moving the jaw forward for longer periods of time. However, you can easily prevent this issue with a range of mandibular motion exercises, using the therapeutic bite tab.
The bite tab is a small soft strip of plastic, a few millimeters thick, which can be easily improvised.
Some good exercises to prevent long term changes in your bite from wearing a TAP dental device for sleep apnea can be found in this video:
For other exercises to prevent the musculature discomfort please follow these steps:
This exercise is useful because it activates the muscles that retrude the mandible, thus counteracting the forces that advanced the mandible.