The TAP® splint has been developed in the 1990s by the American dentist and engineer Dr Keith Thornton. Dr Thornton works in the third generation as a dentist in Dallas, Texas and, among other things, has earned a reputation as an expert in TMJ disorders.
During his military service as a dentist of the US Navy in the Philippines, he was often involved in emergency operations and first aid measures. Patients suffering from shortness of breath or choking seizures could be effectively helped in a first aid measure by quickly bringing forward the lower jaw, leading to an opening of the pharynx.
When Dr Thornton dealt with the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea in the early 90s for the first time, he remembered this effective measure to open the throat area. It was obvious to him that it must be possible to advance the lower jaw and thus to open the posterior respiratory tract by using an appropriate splint construction.
Thanks to his study in engineering, he succeeded quite quickly in developing a mechanical construction incorporated in two dental splints, allowing the lower jaw to be advanced in a forward position – reliably and controlled. The “TAP®”, short for “Thornton Adjustable Positioner”, was born.
Within a short time, scientific studies confirmed that the TAP® splint represented a targeted and effective kind of treatment of snoring and sleep apnea. Even a 96 % success rate by wearing the TAP® splint could be established in the scientific study published by Pancer et al. in 1999: Evaluation of Variable Mandibular Advancement Appliance for Treatment of Snoring and Sleep Apnea in: Chest 1999, 116(6): 1511-1518
Today, the TAP® splint is one of the most widely used anti-snoring devices in the US.
Whether snoring threatens your relationship or your health: the TAP® splint is the easiest way to help you. Your orthodontist or dentist fabricates your individual splint – without recourse to surgery or lengthy treatment. The splint makes sure your lower jaw is held in a forward position – thus keeping free your respiratory tracts and considerably reducing your snoring problems or, after precision adjustment, in many cases even completely eliminating it.
Thus, intraoral treatment devices have long been a recognized alternative to therapy with respiratory masks (nCPAP). Numerous scientific studies demonstrate the effectiveness of specific lower protrusion splints like the TAP® splint. The guidelines of the American and German Society of Sleep Medicine (AASM / DGSM), too, recommend intraoral devices for the treatment of snoring and light to moderate forms of sleep apnea as an alternative or complementing kind of therapy (DGSM (2009): S3 guideline non-restorative sleep / insomnia, in: Somnology 13 : 4-160)
Basically, TAP® splints are suitable for all patients with a good teeth condition and at least 8 remaining natural teeth in combination with sufficient mobility of the lower jaw. Thanks to continuous research and development, four different splint options, a device for combined therapy and a test device are currently available for different occlusions and patient needs.
This is the version originally developed by Dr. Thornton, enabling targeted and effective treatment of snoring and sleep apnea. Featuring a long activation range with a frontal external titration unit, it can be easily adjusted by the patient.
With this version, the dimensions of the splint components have been substantially reduced. The protrusion adjustment device is incorporated within the upper jaw splint, thus guaranteeing lip closure at any time while wearing the splint. The TAP®-T upper protrusion adjustment device is made of a nickel-free biocompatible titanium alloy – a proven and suitable implant material. The lower guiding device consists of a high-strength stainless steel alloy.
The TAP®-T Reverse device incorporates a reduced upper protrusion adjustment device made of titanium. It has been specifically designed for patients with deep bite. Lower protrusion is adjusted by activation key from a palatal direction, as this reduced adjustment device can be incorporated behind the upper incisors in the DURASOFT® splint.
Construction of the dreamTAP™ is characterized by a modified mounting position of components, i.e. the adjustment device placed in the lower jaw. This structure creates more space for the tongue, thus offering even more wearing comfort for the patient. Thanks to exchangeable hooks, an adjustment of up to 15 mm can be achieved. dreamTAP® components are made of a nickel-free CrCo alloy fabricated by metal injection molding and therefore extremely solid.
This nasal pillow mask has been developed for patients with low CPAP acceptance and is put in the upper jaw using a ThermAcryl™ mouthpiece. With its comfortable, yet absolutely stable fit that avoids slipping, the mask is completely sealed and does not leave annoying marks on face and nose. For use in the combined therapy, the TAP® PAP can be complemented by a lower jaw splint, thus reducing the mask pressure by advancement of the lower jaw.
Methods using devices such as the TAP® splint destined for protrusion of the lower jaw are particularly indicated for patients with primary snoring and mild to moderate forms of sleep apnea – without recourse to invasive or surgical measures.
The diagnostic testing device myTAP™ helps to establish whether bimaxillary devices are generally eligible for a patient. It is inexpensive, infinitely adjustable and easy to use.
Construction and design are based on the TAP® splint; the mouthpiece is made of ThermAcryl™ – a lightweight plastic material that can be softened in hot water and then adjusted in the mouth. The adjustment mechanism is used to adjust the optimal protrusion of the lower jaw. This position can be continuously adapted and modified at any time.
Watch the application video below on myTAP® to get acquainted with the step by step adaptation of the testing device.
Any TAP® treatment device may only be manufactured by certified dental technicians who have undergone the appropriate training. This also applies to dentists and orthodontists, who should have an appropriate additional qualification as well (clinical course dental sleep medicine).
Therefore delivery of TAP® kits, components and accessories is exclusively effected to qualified specialists, i.e. to certified participants of the TAP® technical course or licensed TAP® laboratories (except for TAP®PAP and myTAP™).
You can use the search function to search and contact the certified TAP® partners on site. If you cannot find a dentist or orthodontist in your area, contact a sleep physician directly. These doctors pursue an interdisciplinary approach and are usually part of a network that also includes ENT specialists and dentists/orthodontists.
Would you like to become a certified TAP® partner? For more information click here.