At Tongue Lab, we believe everyone has the right to realize their full potential and enjoy the sense of fulfillment that comes with doing so. Breathing properly and a good night’s sleep play a vital role.
One-third of all people suffer from sleep breathing disorders (SBD), including snoring or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Tongue Lab is intent upon helping you breathe better so you can sleep better. That’s why we created the TRP (Tongue Right Positioner), a line of innovative and patented, oral medical devices designed to train and condition the tongue, thereby tackling the cause of SBD and other health problems.
Dysfunctions of the tongue affect between 50% and 75% of the population, generating serious consequences for your health. They include breathing through the mouth rather than the nose, sleep breathing disorders, sleep bruxism (teeth grinding with jaw clenching during sleep), malocclusion and relapses following orthodontic treatment.
Tongue Lab, created in 2012 by Jean-Michel Mauclaire and headquartered in Paris, France, aims to prevent or cure the various disorders that result from dysfunctions of the tongue. With the patented TRP (Tongue Right Positioner), the potential for doing so is great.
Dr. Claude Mauclaire, a French orthodontist and pioneer in tongue research and conditioning, created the first TRP. In the 1970s, she realized that despite the application of certain best practices in her field, her patients did not enjoy lasting results following orthodontic treatment. Her observations quickly led to an important finding : The tongue plays a vital role in the equation.
She subsequently designed exercises to train and condition the tongue that are similar to those used by speech and orofacial myofunctional therapists today. Dr. Mauclaire used these exercises with great success for many years. As a result, her patients did not relapse after orthodontic treatment. In fact, the esthetic, functional and health benefits they enjoyed lasted over time.
Like all forms of rehabilitation, Dr Mauclaire's treatment required a strong commitment. Not all of her patients were able to comply with the need to do their lingual exercises for 20 minutes three times a day, every day for at least three months.
A few years ago, while treating one of her patients, she had a sudden insight that led to the idea of an oral device designed to train the tongue and facilitate maximum compliance.
Observing patients who were wearing the TRP and listening to their feedback, Dr Mauclaire discovered unexpected benefits to using the device. Patients were breathing more easily and sleeping better. Working with Tongue Lab, she approached researchers and other healthcare professionnals to deepen her undestanding of the TRP's beneficial effects. Her initial fondings were confirmed and scientific papers followed.
Today, Tongue Lab is about to launch several clinical trials and extend its borders worldwide.
Dr. Claude mauclaire's philosophy « The soft overcomes the hard, the weak overcomes the strong." Lao tzu
THE TONGUE AND YOUR HEALTH
The tongue, located at the intersection of the upper respiratory and digestive systems, plays a vital role in our health. Lingual dysfunctions are common and there are several types. Among them: atypical swallowing, interposition of the tongue between the teeth, and a low tongue rest posture.
When the tongue functions incorrectly or is poorly positioned, it loses muscle tone during sleep. Sometimes, the tongue’s muscles are excessive in size or adopt an incorrect position in the oral cavity. These irregularities can result in a narrowing of the pharynx, which disturbs breathing and sleep quality.
Snoring is a common sleep breathing disorder (SBD). During sleep, lingual muscles that are not properly toned relax pharyngeal tissue and are drawn toward the back of the oral cavity. The already constricted pharynx is further narrowed and breathing is affected. With each incoming breath, the air provokes noisy vibrations of the pharyngeal tissue, creating what we call snoring.
Snoring is not a trivial matter. It disturbs the sleep of the person who snores and the person who sleeps alongside them. Snoring often leads to high blood pressure and may be a precursor of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA
The stress of frequent arousals to resume breathing, coupled with lingual dysfunctions, often leads to sleep bruxism (teeth grinding with jaw clenching during sleep).
Sleep breathing disorders impact not only our health but our performance at work and at school, our driving and our effectiveness at other moments during the day. Our personal and professional relationships suffer as well.
SLEEP BREATHING DISORDERS CONCERN US ALL
TREATING SLEEP BREATHING DISORDERS
Despite the serious health risks, between 80% and 90% of those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are neither diagnosed nor treated. Is it a question of not knowing or denial? Usually, it’s someone in the person’s entourage who detects the first signs.
Most of the treatments available today – continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks and mandibular repositioning devices (MRD) – are effective but highly uncomfortable and sometimes painful. Consequently, patients do not follow through. What’s more, these treatments do not address the lack of lingual tone that causes sleep breathing disorders (SBD).They treat only the symptoms. As a result, these devices must be used every night, all night and for life.
Since most of the patients who are being treated for OSA do not comply with the treatment plan as prescribed, their breathing and sleep remain disturbed and the health risks are ever present. Even more concerning, half of all patients abandon the treatment completely. Intolerance to the treatment, coupled with lassitude, is often why.
Other options exist, including neurostimulator implants and intensive surgery, but they are not widely used.
Lingual training and conditioning offer an interesting alternative to all of these treatments and are gaining ground. More and more studies demonstrate that exercises to train the tongue and restore its physiological functions, muscle tone and position have a beneficial impact on SBD.
It’s important to point out, however, that training and conditioning the tongue is neither easy nor quick. Both the patient and the healthcare professional must be committed to the process, which could take several months. Unfortunately, our contemporary lifestyle and desire for instant gratification do not always lend themselves to the perseverance that’s needed. Consequently, the frequency with which lingual exercises are practiced declines more or less rapidly. Often, the treatment comes to a halt after a few weeks. Weak compliance impacts the results, which often means a less than predictable outcome.
Thanks to Tongue Lab, the story does not end there.
THE TONGUE RIGHT POSITIONER
Tongue Lab offers an innovative alternative: the TRP (Tongue Right Positioner). This connected, custom-fitted medical device is designed to train the tongue so it can successfully recover and maintain its physiological position and muscle tone. As a result, the TRP treats the cause rather than the symptoms of sleep breathing disorders (SBD). The TRP is currently protected by 3 international patents.
The TRP is worn only over the upper teeth and is put in place just before bedtime. It is worn while one sleeps. Specially designed to correct lingual dysfunctions without disturbing the wearer, the TRP does not inhibit talking, consuming liquids or swallowing saliva during sleep.
The TRP is unique. First, unlike other oral devices, it actually stimulates and guides the tongue to assume its natural functions and positions rather than simply prevent or inhibit dysfunctions. Consequently, a real and lasting transformation takes place. To that end, the TRP was designed to be comfortable and maximize compliance. Second, once the tongue is functioning properly, its contact with the upper teeth and palate also improves.
What’s more, the TRP exerts no pressure in the nose or pharynx or on the teeth and jaws. Consequently, there is no bone displacement. This too sets the TRP apart form other devices used to treat SBD.
Wearing the TRP daily is simple : It’s easy to insert and remove, and the patient continues to speak and consume liquids normally while wearing it.
HOW THE TREATMENT WORKS
At the beginning of treatment, while the tongue is still functioning incorrectly, the TRP might bother some users. The discomfort diminishes as tongue training and conditioning continue. The TRP works while you sleep. During sleep, the brain is also being reprogrammed. The tongue quickly adopts its physiological functions and positions thanks to this neuromuscular conditioning. Full treatment can take three to 12 months, depending on the case and how long it takes for the tongue to adopt and fully assimilate its natural functions. When this becomes automatic, the treatment ends.
In the best-case scenario, the TRP is no longer needed. Sometimes, however, patients will need to wear the TRP from time to time to avoid a relapse.