Understanding

Sleep Apnea

Do you have trouble sleeping? If so, you’re not alone. An estimated 22 million Americans suffer from a lack of sleep—and even exhaustion—caused by sleep apnea. Chronic snoring problems and interrupted sleep aren’t just an inconvenience. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to more serious health risks. Sleep apnea is a common but serious sleep disorder that causes interruptions in breathing during sleep. These pauses in breathing are called apneas and they can happen hundreds of times each night. Sleep apnea can have a negative impact on your health and prevent you from getting the restful night’s sleep your body needs.

VIDEO: What is Sleep Apnea?

Potential Health Issues

From Untreated Sleep Apnea

Continuously interrupted sleep can result in serious health-related problems.
Potential health issues that may result from untreated sleep apnea include:

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Sudden death

Heart attack

Stroke

High blood pressure

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Diabetes

Obesity

ADHD

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Dementia

Depression

Inability to concentrate

Impaired memory

Common Symptoms

Sleep Apnea

  • Frequent, loud snoring
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Chronic exhaustion even after a full night’s sleep
  • Gasping, choking or snorting during sleep
  • Morning headaches

  • Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure
  • Poor memory, moodiness or difficulty concentrating
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat

understanding sleep apnea and health risks

Sleep Apnea Risk Quiz

Important Considerations for Sleep Apnea

Use this brief questionnaire and checklist to determine if you might be at risk for sleep apnea.


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Sleep Apnea Consultation | Stop Snoring | Sleep Well St. Louis | Dr. Lillenberg DDS | St. Louis MO

Complimentary

Sleep Apnea Consultation

Our doctors feel so strongly that knowledge and action can improve and save lives that they are offering a no-cost individual 30 minute consultation on sleep breathing disorders. Whether it’s loud snoring or other sleep apnea symptoms, make sure you are not at risk for this very treatable, potentially life threatening condition. Learn more about sleep apnea and get all of your questions answered. We have a limited number of consultation times available, so schedule yours as soon as possible.

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At-Home Sleep Test

A comfortable alternative

If during your consultation it is suspected that you may suffer from sleep apnea, we will assist you in ordering a convenient and accurate home sleep test designed to assist in the diagnosis of sleep-disordered breathing. In the comfort of your own bed, you’ll wear the testing device while sleeping. A Board Certified Sleep Physician will interpret the data and we will contact you to discuss your results.

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Sleep Apnea Solutions

There are various methods of treating sleep apnea. One of the following options may be the right solution for you. 

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Oral Appliances

These devices are custom fitted by dentists with special expertise and training in treating sleep apnea. They fit in the mouth, similar to a retainer or mouth guard. They open your airway by moving your lower jaw and tongue forward while you sleep. They are small, comfortable and effective.

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CPAP Device

With Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), patients wear a specialized mask over the nose and face during sleep. The CPAP device delivers a steady supply of air, keeping the airway open. CPAP treatment can be very effective, however the patient must be willing to use it correctly and consistently.

sleep apnea surgery solution

Upper Airway Surgery

There are several surgical options. Nasal surgery can correct a deviated septum or remove bones in your nose to improve air flow. Surgery may also be performed to remove and/or reduce the size of the soft palate, uvula and back of the tongue. These surgeries are not typically recommended as first line treatments for obstructive sleep apnea.

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Benefits of Treatment

Restful Sleep

A full night’s sleep for both you and your partner. Wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Daytime Alertness

Experience increased concentration, memory, focus and energy.

Improved Health

Avoid the health risks caused by untreated sleep apnea and live a longer, healthier, more enjoyable life.

James Lillenberg DDS PC

Excellence in Dental Sleep Medicine

Dr. Lillenberg DDS | Sleep Apnea | Sleep Well St. Louis | St. Louis MO

Dr. James Lillenberg

Sleep Apnea-Focused Dentist in St. Louis
Alleviating Sleep Disorders with High-Quality Oral Care & Appliances

James Lillenberg DDS has been in clinical practice for 35 years in south St. Louis County. A native St. Louisan he is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry. James has logged 100’s of hours with the Pankey Institute of Florida, Spear Institute of Scottsdale, Arizona and the Seattle Study Club of Seattle, WA. in professional continuing education.

He completed a continuum at The Pankey Institute in Dental Sleep Medicine in April 2016 and a mini-residency in Dental Sleep Medicine at Tufts in April 2017. James is certified by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine as a Qualified Dentist and is currently attaining his Diplomate Status with the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine. He is also a board member of the Missouri Sleep Society.

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Common Questions

Regarding Sleep Apnea

If I snore, do I have sleep apnea?

Snoring frequently accompanies sleep apnea but it is not always an indicator of whether this sleep condition is present. However, snoring can indicate that bulky throat tissue could potentially obstruct airways – especially if patients have certain lifestyle factors that contribute to sleep apnea. Fortunately, the oral appliances we provide can treat both obstructive sleep apnea and snoring at the same time.  These oral appliances are small and very comfortable to wear. They work by positioning the lower jaw slightly forward so that the airway is no longer obstructed.

Is it possible that I could have sleep apnea even if I don't snore?

Anyone of any age can have sleep apnea. We can arrange for a home sleep study (HST) for a diagnosis by a medical professional, a local sleep physician or your primary care doctor. This is an essential step for a diagnosis.

What causes obstructive sleep apnea?

The exact cause of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is different for each person. Anyone can develop it, regardless of age or gender. The most common risk factors include:

  • Being over age 40
  • Having a large neck (over 17 inches in men, 16 inches for women)
  • Being overweight – approximately half of OSA sufferers are overweight
  • Being male – more men than women suffer from OSA
  • Having a large tongue or small jaw
  • Enlarged tonsils and adenoids (particularly in children)
  • Using alcohol or sedatives which relax the muscles in the airway
  • Nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum or sinus and allergy problems

What is the difference between a CPAP and an oral appliance?

While CPAP is very effective in treating sleep apnea, many people cannot tolerate the discomfort of  the mask and the inconvenience and noise of the machine. Therefore a high percentage of users have difficulty or will not wear them.  

An oral appliance is a popular alternative to the CPAP. This device is small, portable, fits more comfortably and can provide similar treatment benefits.

How do you confirm the effectiveness of the oral appliance?

You will have a follow-up sleep study while using your oral appliance to confirm the effectiveness of the device. A consultation with the sleep medicine physician will be necessary to interpret the results.

Does insurance cover obstructive sleep apnea treatment with oral appliances?

Because insurance plans vary widely, our experienced team will work with you to see if your insurance company will cover the oral appliance. If for any reason it isn’t covered, we will let you know and work with you to develop a financial plan if needed.

If coverage is available for oral appliances, it will come from your medical insurance carrier. Most dental insurance companies do not cover treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.  

Our patients tell us it is well worth the investment of their time and money to treat their sleep apnea because of the improved quality of life they experience.

What if I don’t have insurance?

We offer a discounted cash price for all appliances and do accept credit cards.

How long will it take to adapt to the oral appliance? Will it hurt my teeth?

Most patients will adapt comfortably within two weeks with little difficulty. However, a few may require more frequent appoints during the initial adjustment period. Minor side effects for some are not uncommon during the first few days but usually subside. Teeth and bites can be sore initially for some but this can be managed by adjustments and accommodations.

How often will the appliance need to be replaced?

Oral appliances for snoring and OSA are precision durable medical equipment devices approved by the FDA. They may need to be replaced after 3 years of nightly wear for some patients to adequately treat your snoring or OSA.

Will the appliance change my bite?

A change in your bite is possible. Depending on the position of your teeth and the status of your bone, your teeth may shift. This can be minimized with the use of a morning re-positioning device.

Are there any side effects of the appliance?

The most common side effect is morning muscle soreness that usually goes away after a short time. Some patients may experience either dry mouth or excessive salivation. As mentioned above, minor tooth movement occurs in some patients.

How long will I have to use the oral appliance?

Obstructive sleep apnea in unlikely to decrease with age; therefore your oral appliance will probably be a lifelong therapy. However, certain wellness factors such as significant weight loss may improve your symptoms.

Can’t I just order a boil and bite device off the internet?

While there are over-the-counter appliances you can order, keep in mind these are not FDA approved for treating sleep apnea. Additionally, when not fitted properly they may cause unwanted side effects such as jaw problems or excessive tooth movement.

Schedule Your Complimentary
Sleep Apnea Consultation

James Lillenberg DDS PC | 11428 Tesson Ferry Rd, St Louis, MO 63123 | (314) 279-0087