It’s important to make sure that you choose a treatment that will be effective for you. If you’re unlikely to comply with CPAP, then it’s a good idea to choose oral appliance therapy. On the other hand, if your sleep apnea isn’t likely to respond to oral appliance therapy, then you might have to choose CPAP.
But for many people, both treatments are valid options, so you have to make a decision. While cost shouldn’t be your only factor in making your decision, it is an important one to consider. In addition to the other benefits of oral appliance therapy, it might be cheaper than CPAP over the long term.
Initial Costs Are Comparable
When you start sleep apnea treatment, you can expect to pay about the same amount for an oral appliance or for a CPAP machine. Of course, costs vary widely depending on the model of machine or appliance. But, roughly speaking, if you are selecting quality equipment, the two are going to cost about the same.
This is especially true if you go through your insurance company. Both CPAP machines and oral appliances are considered durable medical equipment (DME), and for most insurance policies, reimbursement rates are comparable. As are deductibles.
There might be a cost difference if you decide not to work with your insurance company. If you work directly with CPAP equipment manufacturers and suppliers, they might be prepared to offer you a lower price. However, this is not necessarily a deal, as we’ll explain in a little bit.
Longevity Is Comparable
You can also expect to replace your CPAP machine and oral appliance on about the same timetable. Both usually last about 3-5 years, although they can sometimes last up to 10 years.
In fact, your insurance company might demand that you make them last three or five years, with no compensation for replacement earlier, unless you can prove it was damaged or lost in an Act of God or have a police report that it was stolen (yeah, it happens).
Accessories Make the Difference
So why can CPAP be more expensive than oral appliances? It’s the accessories. An oral appliance is complete in itself (okay, you might have a carrying case . . .), but CPAP machines depend on numerous small accessories, such as masks, hoses, straps, pads, filters, and more. These accessories have to be replaced every 3-6 months. This is highly recommended. Even with fastidious cleaning, biofilms can begin to develop on the accessories, and since the CPAP blows air directly into your lungs, you can start to force harmful bacteria into your lungs.
This is where the real cost difference comes in. If you have insurance, it can defray the cost of replacement accessories. Often, compensation rates for CPAP accessories is about the same as for the initial device. They might apply toward your deductible or you’ll just have a copay if you already met your deductible.
Replacement accessories can be more expensive if you didn’t work with your insurance company. That’s part of the reason why the company offers the machine cheaply at first. It’s similar to getting a free cell phone when you sign up for an expensive monthly plan–they make more money by hooking you early. Then you pay more for the supplies. Over the longterm, you will likely pay much more for your CPAP than for your oral appliance.
Comfortable, Convenient, Affordable Oral Appliances in Denver
If you are trying to decide what is the best sleep apnea treatment for you, make sure you weigh all the factors involved. Oral appliances and CPAP might initially seem like they have the same cost, but over time, the cost of CPAP increases significantly.
Cost shouldn’t be your only factor in deciding which sleep apnea treatment, but it likely is one that matters to you. If you want to learn more about the benefits of oral appliance therapy in Denver, please call (303) 691-0267 today for an appointment with a sleep dentist at the Colorado TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center.