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How does a CPAP Machine Work?

Sleep apnea is a condition where your throat blocks your air passageway when you lay down and fall asleep. You won’t be able to get a good night’s sleep, and it has put you on course to develop serious health issues. If you have a sleep apnea diagnosis, then you should get a continuous positive airway pressure machine. Let’s look to see how CPAP machines work.

What is a CPAP Machine?

A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is generally the treatment of choice when it comes to treating sleep apnea. This machine delivers pressurized air into a face mask that you wear overnight. Pressurized air keeps your upper airway passages open. The amount of pressure needed would be determined in a sleep lab or from an in-home testing kit. You can’t have a CPAP machine deliver just any amount of pressure. Some continuous positive airway pressure machines actually auto-adjust (auto titrate) the amount of pressure it sends. Auto titrating CPAP machines maintain the integrity of the airway, as other CPAP machines do, but they do it with the least amount of pressure possible on a breath-by-breath basis.

How does a CPAP Machine Benefits the Patient?

A CPAP machine significantly improves sleep, and good sleep increases alertness, concentration, and energy. Increasing alertness, concentration, and energy prevents some auto accidents and improves emotional health. Getting good sleep prevents diabetes, strokes, and heart disease from developing where chronic sleep deprivation would have been to blame. CPAP machines are non-evasive, although wearing a mask may not work for some people. The machine can only work if the patient uses it.

Components of a CPAP Machine

A CPAP machine basically consists of an air pump, a face mask, and a hose. Some CPAP models also have a humidifier. Technically, continuous positive airway pressure machines also come with a headgear frame, elbow-shaped joints, and adjustable straps. Sleep medicine physician Dr. Sam A. Kashani of the University of California Los Angeles says that successful CPAP therapy partly depends on getting a properly fitting face mask. The three basic mask types that exist today are the following:

  • Full face masks – You would place this mask over both your nose and your mouth.
  • Nasal masks – You would put this mask over just your nose.
  • Nasal pillows – You would insert prongs under your nose.

Alternatives to Using a CPAP Machine

You may not want to wear a CPAP mask to bed, put up with machine noise, constantly clean a continuous positive airway pressure machine or pay a bundle of money for one. You can choose an alternative to a CPAP machine. Dental practices that treat sleep apnea can give you nighttime mouth guards, straighten your teeth with Invisalign or tighten your throat muscles with the Nightlase system. The dentist or his assistant would take a digital scan of your teeth at the time of your consultation. A doctor would then look at the scans and suggest a treatment. Depending on your particular situation, you may be asked to undergo a sleep test at a sleep lab. Once a physician gives you an official diagnosis of sleep apnea, a dentist can treat the condition.

While you could pick up a one-size-fits-all mouthguard elsewhere, you may regret using it because it could hurt your jaw or move your teeth. In contrast, a 3D printed mouthguard you get from a dentist would be custom-fit to your mouth. Straightening your teeth with Invisalign clear braces would make room for your tongue to open your air passageway. Ultra-modern Nightlase’s non-surgical laser would tighten your throat muscles within just three or four treatments. Surgery might be the answer for patients whose bone structures interfere with their sleep because none of the aforementioned solutions would treat sleep apnea.


Sleep apnea prevents people from getting regular good sleep, and it makes some people snore. Long-term sleep deprivation eventually brings on serious health issues. CPAP machines are the go-to treatment for sleep apnea because their pressurized air opens air passageways. These machines aren’t for everyone, though. Seek out a proper alternative from a dentist who treats sleep apnea.

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