Not sure you can afford sleep apnea treatment in Raleigh? You might be surprised! At Raleigh Dental Arts we offer FDA-approved oral sleep appliance therapy for the treatment and management of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
The cost of testing, treatments, sleep studies, and equipment for sleep apnea are things you’ll want to consider. Especially if you’re in the earliest stages of getting screened or figuring out how you’re going to pay for everything. We’ll break down some of the points you’ll want to consider when it comes to the cost of sleep apnea management so that you can make an educated choice about your medical care:
Cost of a Sleep Study
The first step in treatment for sleep apnea is to schedule a formal exam. During your appointment, it will be determined if you need a sleep study and which type of study is most appropriate. Sleep studies are required to properly diagnose you with a sleeping disorder and identify which type of condition you’re living with (there are multiple types of sleeping irregularities.)
There are typically two types of sleep apnea studies that experts use: overnight clinical sleep studies which are performed in a medical lab and take-home sleep studies which you administer on your own (in your own bedroom.)
Overnight clinical sleep studies cost more than at-home sleep studies. Especially if you don’t have insurance coverage. The price difference can be hundreds—but more likely thousands—of dollars. Take-home sleep studies are relatively inexpensive compared to the conventional tests you hear about at a sleep lab.
But do take-home sleep study tests work? Absolutely. When used as directed, they’re effective at detecting and screening for chronic snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, and similar sleeping disorders. The bedside machine records your breathing, pulse, oxygen levels, and sleep patterns. A small device sticks to your chest and is worn on your hand. All you have to do is lay back and sleep! Fort people who worry about not being able to sleep anywhere except their own bed, or having someone be able to see them sleeping, home sleep studies are an excellent—not to mention a more affordable—alternative.
The Type of Sleep Apnea Practitioner You Use
Traditionally, if you think you have a sleeping disorder, your medical doctor will refer you to a sleep clinic or pulmonologist. In a conventional setting, those specialists will conduct your testing and then administer the appropriate type of sleep machine, such as a CPAP.
With the advancement of holistic sleep apnea therapy, sleep dentistry providers like the ones at Raleigh Dental Arts are able to play an active role in your care. Sleep dentistry encompasses management of your upper airway, near the back of your throat, where chronic conditions like obstructive sleep apnea originate.
Surprisingly, a sleep physician cannot legally fit or administer an oral sleep appliance. Why? Because it falls under the category of a dental device. And only sleep dentists can fit, adjust, and deliver a professional oral appliance.
When you choose to work with our Raleigh sleep dentistry team, we can arrange your home sleep testing as well as delivery of an oral appliance for sleep apnea. These devices are a piece of medical-grade equipment and are approved by the FDA, the same as a CPAP machine. The only difference is that you have to get it straight from a dentist who practices sleep dentistry. You cannot get them at a pharmacy or from a physician.
Choosing which route to go for your treatment will also impact the cost of your sleep apnea management. In many cases, it’s more affordable to get a screening and home sleep test through your dentist’s office than it is to see a specialist or stay in an overnight sleep clinic. But not all dentists practice sleep dentistry, so be sure to do your research!
If You Have Medical or Dental Insurance
In a typical situation, medical insurance pays for general health expenses, while dental insurance only pays for things related to your teeth and gums. Sleep dentistry and oral appliance therapy is a grey area that spans both medical and dental. As such, you can often tap into one or both insurance plans to help cover the cost of your sleep device.
The key to getting your medical coverage to pay for an oral sleep appliance is to first locate a trained sleep dentist (in Raleigh) and then to make sure they process medical insurance benefits. Not all dentists do, as it’s quite a complicated process to switch between dental and medical claim systems. But if you have a sleep dentist who accepts medical insurance, you’re in for a treat! Their care coordinators can get a breakdown of benefits between both your medical and dental plans, to help you minimize your total out-of-pocket costs related to treating sleep apnea.
But let’s consider one more thing: maybe you don’t have medical or dental insurance. What then? The most cost-effective solution is to pay for an at-home sleep study (since it’s cheaper than an overnight test in a lab) and consider an oral appliance instead of the cost of a CPAP machine. You could be saving thousands and thousands of dollars, not to mention your health.
The Sleep Apnea Treatment You Choose
Depending on what all of your tests showed and which type of clinical sleep disorder you were diagnosed with, you’ll qualify for certain types of apnea treatment. Each one works differently for various types of sleeping disorders. Be sure to select one that’s FDA-approved as a medical-grade device for the best results. Trying a “DIY sleep apnea treatment” at home isn’t worth the risk when you consider the long-term results.
Since obstructive sleep apnea originates at the mouth and upper airway, it’s one of the select types of sleeping disorders that can be managed by a sleep dentist. However, if you are not aware of this ahead of time, your pulmonologist or sleep clinic may still prescribe a CPAP machine.
CPAP alternatives for OSA include oral appliance therapy or a mandibular advancement device. Oral sleep appliances are medical-grade devices that must be fitted and administered by a licensed sleep dentist. While they can be prescribed by a sleep physician, only a dentist can deliver them (because of how they affect your jaws, teeth, and tongue.)
Oral sleep appliances are considerably less expensive than getting a CPAP machine. But that’s just one “perk” of the treatment. They’re also more discreet, easier to travel with, and don’t bother your sleep partner the way a bulky medical machine does. While cost is an important factor, oral sleep appliances are priceless when it comes to everything they save you besides just money. And when you consider that oral appliances are usually covered by medical insurance too, it means even less money out of your own pocket. It’s a win-win for people struggling with a sleeping disorder.
Secondary Medical Expenses Related to Sleep Apnea
Undiagnosed—and untreated—sleep apnea significantly predisposes you to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, and stroke.
If you already know that heart attacks or strokes tend to “run in your family”, you’re at an increased risk of a life-threatening medical incident. When you add sleep apnea into the equation, it’s a recipe for a medical emergency. Fortunately, we know that’s the case, which is why our Raleigh sleep dentistry team screens for sleeping disorders during every dental exam.
Perhaps you’re already taking medication for high blood pressure or constantly seeing a cardiologist because you’re unable to get your heart disease under control. Have you considered how your sleep health is affecting it? For people with obstructive sleep apnea, the strain on their cardiovascular system is immense. Making the modest investment in healthier sleep—and improved oxygen flow—can directly improve your heart health, blood pressure, and lower your chances of a medical emergency.
Ambulance bills. Hospitalization. Medications. Rehab. The time, money, but especially your health, could all potentially be saved if you treat one of the major medical strains at its source: oxygen deprivation during your sleep every night.
A Modest Investment Could Save Your Life
When you consider how treating sleep apnea improves your overall level of wellness, the decision is a simple one. Even financing a small, modest investment in early sleep screening and treatment could save your life. When you look at it that way, it’s an easy choice to make.
At Raleigh Dental Arts, we work closely with your medical and dental insurance carriers to help you maximize the coverage you’re entitled to so that you can reduce your out-of-pocket portions. But even if you have no coverage at all, oral appliance therapy and at-home sleep apnea screenings are much more affordable than overnight tests conducted in a sleep lab. To ease the process even more, we’ve partnered with flexible financing programs that provide you with low-interest and even 0% financing plans. Easily fit low monthly payments into your budget, without having to sacrifice your health.
Stop asking “what if…” and call Raleigh Dental Arts today to learn more about sleep apnea screenings and oral appliance therapy.