What Are the 3 Types of CPAP Masks?
by Dr. Scott Bolding
CPAP therapy is one of the most common treatments for obstructive sleep apnea. People who use CPAP therapy find that they are able to sleep better because they breathe better. They have more energy during the day. And they are able to enjoy their lives more.
However, the biggest issue with CPAP therapy is compliance. Compliance simply means that a patient continues to use their CPAP long-term. Unfortunately, when it comes to CPAP therapy many patients stop using their machine after a year. Patients tend to stop using their machines because they can be uncomfortable and cumbersome. Others find it isn’t working the way they want it to.
Using your CPAP machine long-term is crucial if you want to find relief from OSA. That’s why it’s important to find the right type of CPAP mask. Studies have shown that people who have the right mask are more likely to use their CPAP machine long-term.
Understanding the different types of CPAP masks can be the key to getting the sleep you need. Let’s take a look at the different CPAP masks that are available. Of course, you need to discuss everything with a sleep apnea specialist. But this information will help you get started.
How Does a CPAP Mask Work?Before we look at the types of CPAP masks let’s take some time to understand how the mask works. Knowing how the mask functions can help you understand what to look for when choosing your CPAP mask.
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What Types of CPAP Masks Are Available?There are three main types of CPAP masks. These masks perform the same function but are very different in terms of how they fit on your face. They all come in a range of sizes. None of these masks is better than the others. It all depends on your unique needs and sleep habits.
Full Face MaskThe first type of CPAP mask is the full face mask. Full face masks cover both your nose and mouth. The biggest benefit of this type of CPAP mask is that it’s the most effective when it comes to delivering pressurized air into your airway. The downside to the full face mask is that it’s the bulkiest. Many people find it hard to sleep comfortably with a full face mask. It can make people feel claustrophobic because of how big it is. You will benefit from a full face mask if you:
- Sleep on your back
- Sleep with your mouth open
- Have frequent nasal congestion
Nasal MaskThe second type of CPAP mask is the nasal mask. Nasal masks simply rest on the bridge of your nose. It covers your entire nose and seals underneath your nostrils. It’s held in place by four-point headgear. Nasal masks are a popular type of CPAP mask because they are less bulky than a full face mask. That makes them easier to sleep with. However, nasal masks are not a good option for people who sleep with their mouths open or who have a lot of nasal congestion. Breathing with your mouth open while you use your CPAP can cause dry mouth. So, if you are a mouth breather you should avoid this type of CPAP mask. You will benefit from a nasal mask if you:
- Sleep on your side
- Struggle with claustrophobia
- Breathe through your nose only
Nasal Pillow MaskNasal pillows are another popular type of CPAP mask. Instead of covering your entire nose, nasal pillow masks rest over your nostrils. They have two silicone pillows that go into your nostrils. This way the air goes directly into your nose. A seal is created at the base of your nostrils. This mask is very popular because it is the least bulky. It also has a smaller chance of leaking air because it seals right at the nose. Like the nasal mask, we don’t recommend this type of mask if you have a lot of nasal congestion or breathe through your mouth. This type of CPAP mask is best if you:
- Are a side sleeper
- Toss and turn a lot at night
- Have facial hair
How to Know Which Type of CPAP Mask is Right for You?Now that you know what types of CPAP masks are available you’re probably wondering how to choose one. Since getting the right type of CPAP mask is so important for successful treatment you shouldn’t do it alone. You need one of our sleep apnea specialists. We can help you figure out what works best for you. When you meet with us we’ll talk with you about your sleeping habits. Let us know if you tend to sleep more on your side or your back. Do you breathe through your mouth? Knowing this can help us guide you in the right direction. Fit is one of the most important parts of an effective CPAP mask. If your mask doesn’t fit it won’t seal well. If there’s no seal it will affect the pressure levels, making the CPAP therapy less efficient. Luckily each type of CPAP mask comes in a variety of sizes. We will help you try on a variety of masks to make sure we get the right style and fit for you. Of course, you may get home with your mask and find that it isn’t what you thought. You may find it more uncomfortable or that it doesn’t seal well enough. In this case, make sure you let us know so we can try another style or size. Our goal is to make sure you get the sleep you need. And so we want to work hard to find the right type of CPAP mask for you.
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Summer, J. (2022b, September 20). How to Choose a CPAP Mask Based On Your Sleep Position. Sleep Foundation. Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/cpap/choosing-cpap-mask-for-your-sleep-position
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