1205 SE Professional Mall Blvd., Suite #202
Pullman, WA 99163
Phone: 509-332-8084          Fax: 509-332-6380


Dr. McInturff is an active member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, which provides dentists with resources and specialty training in the field of sleep medicine and oral appliance therapy (OAT). Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder which causes interruptions in breathing while sleeping. Typically these interruptions last between 10 and 30 seconds, although some pauses can persist for one minute or longer. These pauses may occur hundreds of times a night and result in abrupt reductions in blood oxygen levels. 

There are three different types of sleep apnea:

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the soft tissue in a person’s throat collapses during sleep, resulting in blockage of the airway. 

Central sleep apnea occurs when the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe. 

Complex sleep apnea is a combination of OSA and central sleep apnea. 

Sleep research has associated sleep apnea with a number of medical conditions, including excessive daytime fatigue, memory problems, mood disorders, atrial fibrillation, and high blood pressure, to name a few. Here are the statistics:

75% of the patients who have drug resistant hypertension also have OSA

40% of the patients who have heart disease also have OSA

45% of the patients who have congestive heart failure also have OSA

75% of the patients who have type 2 diabetes also have OSA

50% of the patients who have renal disease also have OSA

80% of the patients who have fibromyalgia also have OSA

84% of the patients who have nocturnal strokes also have OSA

50% of the patients who have atrial fibrilation also have OSA 

A medically supervised sleep study is necessary to properly diagnose your sleep apnea, and following your diagnosis, your physician may recommend treatment with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. While the CPAP device is usually the first line of therapy, between 25 and 50 percent of sleep apnea patients do not comply with or tolerate the CPAP treatment. Second-line methods of treating sleep apnea include dental appliances, which re-position the lower jaw and tongue. Dental sleep apnea appliances may be used in conjunction with CPAP therapy, or they may be used independently. At Pullman Dental Care, we recommend approved sleep apnea appliances which meet the Medicare criteria as "durable medical equipment" or DME. We only recommend oral appliances which can be titrated (which means adjustable in small and controlled steps to achieve the ideal therapeutic effect). After fabrication of an oral appliance, we evaluate our patients with an ApneaLink Plus home sleep study monitor, which allows us to make any necessary adjustments to the appliance and assure that it is working properly. We do not recommend self treatment or over-the-counter products, since they may result in irreversible tooth movement or damage to the jaw joint. For most cases, we recommend the TAP 3 Elite appliance (which meets the Medicare criteria for DME) or the SomnoDent appliance (which does not meet the Medicare DME criteria, but it is a very good titratable appliance). We will be happy to discuss which dental appliance system best suits your needs.

the TAP 3 Elite
The TAP 3 Elite is the latest model in the well established line of TAP appliances. The upper tray has an adjustable hook which engages a slot in the lower tray and prevents the trays from accidentally unhooking in your sleep.
The SomnoDent appliance made by SomnoMed is another comfortable and effective alternative.
Click to Replace
We use the ApneaLink Plus level 3 home sleep apnea monitor when fabricating mandibular advancement appliances for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. This important diagnostic tool enables us to verify that your sleep apnea appliance is working optimally.
If you would like to learn more about dental options for treatment of sleep apnea, the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine has a helpful patient information page here.
Also, if you would like to know more about sleep apnea in general, we recommend visiting the website of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine here