While the functionality of dental devices remains the same across the board (advancing the lower jaw), their design and how they achieve this process can vary greatly. The different designs come with different names that both the doctors that use them, and the manufacturers that create them, use to distinguish one from the other. Here are some of the more popular ones:
TAP: The TAP devices are one of the first ones created, and they are characterized by a clasp in the front which connects the top and bottom pieces. While this feature is disliked by some because it does not allow opening and closing, others like it because the position of the clasp in the front allows the rest of the device to be slim and therefore less bulky when in the mouth.
Dorsal: By far we have found that the dorsal fin design has been the most popular among our patients. It is characterized (and named) for the wings on the sides that which are located on the sides of the lower piece. The reason so may say they like this design is the freedom of movement it allows, the upper and lower pieces are not connected so you are free to open your mouth, speak, and even drink water. It also is slim enough to not bother most with excess bulk.
Herbst: The last one we want to share with you is the Herbst model. These are a good mix of both a device that is connected, but also allows freedom of movement and opening/closing of the mouth. A popular option with senior patients (as this model is Medicare approved) it's name comes from the arms in the side that create the jaw movement. Everything is rounded, and minimized to ensure that there it will not bother you during sleep. There are even numbered markers on the side to allow you to know exactly how far it is advanced.