Experienced Dentist in St. Louis
Caring & Skilled Dentistry Helping Those Suffering from Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea Dental Appliance in St. Louis

A Little Device Can Save Your Night

Dental appliance treatments are becoming more popular as research continues to prove their effectiveness. While the most common form of therapy for sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, many patients dislike the side effects and complain the mask is too bulky and uncomfortable to wear.

In many circumstances, a dental appliance is a preferable alternative for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea. Dental appliances are smaller and more comfortable to sleep in; plus, sleep apnea patients who toss and turn in their sleep don’t have to worry about the appliance being jostled or detached. In more severe cases, patients may have to utilize both a CPAP machine and a dental appliance to keep their airways open.


Dental appliance treatments can help:

  • Patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea
  • Patients unable to have surgery
  • Patients who find CPAP therapy too uncomfortable
  • Patients who find CPAP therapy ineffective

If you’re interested in learning more about your dental application options, contact James Lillenberg DDS at (314) 227-9141.

How Do Dental Appliances Work?

There are two types of sleep apnea dental appliances: tongue retaining devices (TRDs) and mandibular advancement devices (MADs). Both appliances look very similar to retainers or mouth guards, but operate differently when used by a patient. Both successfully increase the size of the upper airway, reducing the cause of sleep apnea.

A tongue retaining device is designed to fit around the tongue and hold it in a forward position. This prevents your tongue from blocking your airways while you sleep. Tongue restraining devices are comparatively less comfortable than mandibular advancement devices, and take longer to adjust to.

A mandibular advancement device is the most common dental appliance. Unlike a tongue retaining device, a mandibular advancement device pushes both your tongue and lower jaw forward, preventing your tongue and throat muscles from collapsing into your airways.


Possible side effects of dental appliances include:

  • Sore teeth and gums
  • Teeth shifting
  • Jaw pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Loosening of dental restorations
  • Temporal mandibular joint arthritis

Dental appliance treatments are not recommended for patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea.

How Your Dentist Can Help

While over-the-counter dental appliances are available, it’s in your best interest to review your options with your sleep physician or dentist before making a purchase. Your dentist is likely knowledgeable about dental appliances, and can construct a custom dental application to serve your specific needs. A custom dental application mold is created by taking a precise impression of your teeth and mouth shape. A prescribed dental application will be more comfortable and effective than an over-the-counter purchase. In some cases, patients using over-the-counter applications were at first pleased with the surface-level improvements, only to be affected by detrimental complications in the future.

Meet Our Specialist

Dr. James Lillenberg has over 35 years of dental experience and is highly trained in treating sleep apnea. He works closely with his patients to discuss their best treatment options, and oversees any necessary tests and studies. If you qualify, Dr. Lillenberg can prescribe you with an effective and comfortable dental appliance. He will ensure your comfort by listening to your healthcare concerns and making any necessary application adjustments.

Call the Expert

A good night’s sleep can go a long way. At James Lillenberg DDS, we have over 35 years of experience specializing in dental appliance therapy. Contact us if you are interested in learning more about dental appliances or other obstructive sleep apnea treatments. For your benefit, we accept most insurance plans and Medicare.

Contact James Lillenberg DDS at (314) 227-9141 to schedule your free consultation with our sleep apnea specialist.


  • Qualified Dentist
  • Tufts School of Dental Medicine
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • ADA

Accomplished & Compassionate Dentist

Why Leave Your Sleep Dentistry Needs in Our Care?
  • Experienced Dentist

    For more than 35 years, Dr. Lillenberg has helped patients patients throughout the area.

  • Striving for Your Comfort

    With an emphasis on gentle care, we want to you to feel at home when you come to our office.

  • Flexible Payment Plan

    Dr. Lillenberg accepts most insurance plans and offers flexible financing options.

  • Unique Help for Sleep Apnea

    We are proud to be the only dentistry offering sleep dentistry services in St. Louis.