Smile Missoula

Andrew C. Althauser, DDS
Ste C, 237 SW Higgins Avenue
Missoula, MT 59803-1485
(406) 721-2830
Monday - Thursday 8am - 5pm
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Sleep Apnea

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition which results in several pauses in breathing during sleep. The effects of this condition have been linked to hypertension, depression, stroke, and cardiac disturbances.

Apnea is the term used to describe temporary pauses in breathing. There are 3 types of sleep apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. Blockage of the airway during sleeping is the main cause of this type of sleep apnea.

Central Sleep Apnea is less common but involves the central nervous system as the cause of sleep apnea.

Complex Sleep Apnea is the third condition, but is most complicated to treat as it involves a combination of sources listed above.

Do I have Sleep Apnea?

Common Symptoms Include:

Excessive daytime sleepiness
Acid Reflux
Witness of stopping of sleeping (usually reported by spouse)
Daytime forgetfulness
Feeling sleepy while driving
Hard to diagnose/treat headaches

Risk Factors Include:

Obstruction of nasal passages
Large neck size
Large tonsils




There are three common solutions to treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. The most common and effective is with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device. UUP (uvulopalatopharyngoplasty) along with tonsil removal surgeries aim to remove excess tissue at the back of the throat. Oral devices are used to treat this condition and have been proven effective. The advantage of the oral devices is the higher compliance and comfort compared to the other options.

There are several options for oral devices.

The TAP 3 (shown to the left) is a mandibular advancement device for the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea. It is a custom-made, two-piece appliance that snaps firmly and comfortably over the upper and lower teeth, much like a sports mouthguard or retainer. Its basic function is to hold the jaw forward so the tongue and soft tissues of the throat do not collapse into the throat causing snoring and sleep apnea. The unique design allows the patient to adjust the degree to which the lower jaw is held forward, simultaneously allowing maximum comfort and effectiveness.

The Myerson Elastic Mandibular Advancement (EMA, shown to the left) appliance is a simple, patient-friendly oral appliance created for non-invasive treatment of snoring and OSA. The design is brilliantly simple, extremely stable and allows for adjustability through the interchangeable elastic straps.

The Silencer is constructed in elastomer, a pliable material which offers the patient a higher level of comfort than found with harder acrylics. The appliance features the Halstrom Hinge which is a commercially pure titanium component guaranteed for five years that allows for easy adjustment of both vertical and lower jaw positioning.