The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right CPAP Mask
The process of choosing your CPAP mask can be quite challenging and bothersome, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a mask. To make things easier for you, we’ve decided to show you all types of CPAP masks there are, as well as, how you can find the perfect one for you.
There are three main CPAP mask types, including full face CPAP masks, nasal CPAP Masks, and nasal pillow CPAP masks. But there are also two specialty mask types, such as nasal cradle CPAP masks and oral CPAP masks.
Traditional Types of CPAP Masks
The success of your treatment depends on whether you have the right CPAP mask. What type of mask is right for you depends on the shape and size of your face. So, here is everything you need to know when choosing the right CPAP mask.
Full Face Masks
This is the biggest type of mask you can find on the market. As their name suggests, these masks cover your nose and mouth completely so you can breathe out of both of them. Besides the fact that many people find these masks too big, they provide plenty of benefits.
- Allow you to breathe through your mouth, which is especially important if you’re a mouth breather.
- Suitable if you need a high-pressure setting for the CPAP machine as full face masks have a wider surface area.
- You face issues when breathing through the nose due to frequent colds, nose issues, or surgeries.
- Your preferred sleeping position is sleeping on your back. This type of mask is great for back sleepers as they tend to move less during the night.
However, this type of mask comes with certain drawbacks. Hence, there is a higher chance of leaks due to the greater surface area. Moreover, many people who use full face masks might experience irritated or dry eyes. Note that this type of mask is the largest model you can find available. Consequently, you’ll experience issues if you want to sleep on your stomach, wear glasses, or read while wearing the mask.
One of the most popular types of masks is the nasal mask. They are smaller in size when comparing it to full face masks. What’s more, nasal masks are the most versatile type of masks which work well with higher pressure settings.
Nasal masks are the perfect mask type for you if:
- You move a lot during sleep as these masks aren’t bulky and won’t interrupt your therapy.
- You need a higher pressure setting for the CPAP machine.
- You love having a lot of options to choose from as these masks are available in a larger selection of brands and styles.
- You want to have a natural airflow feel.
However, it’s important to note that if you’re a mouth breather, there is no point in using this mask. This type of mask uses only your nose. Likewise, you might experience pressure on your nose or your forehead if the mask comes with a forehead pad. It’s also not advisable to use nasal masks if you cannot breathe through your nose due to blocked nasal airway or if you have a deviated septum.
Nasal Pillow Masks
The nasal pillow masks are compact, lightweight, and non-intrusive. So, if you want such a mask type, then you should opt for a nasal pillow mask. Some of the benefits they offer include:
- They’re perfect for people who move a lot during sleep as they’re more compact.
- If you breathe through your nose as they create a seal directly with the user’s nostrils.
- It’s great for people who feel claustrophobic of full face masks.
Nevertheless, choose other mask types if you are a mouth breather or if you have plenty of facial hair as it can cause leaks. Additionally, nasal pillow masks aren’t good if you need a higher-pressure setting. As the airflow goes completely through your nose, even a lower pressure setting might cause a nasal discomfort. The direct nasal airflow is a common trigger for nosebleeds, nasal cavities, and irritation. However, if you still choose a nasal pillow mask besides being a mouth breather, make sure you also get a chinstrap, which will keep your mouth closed.
Specialty CPAP Masks
Nevertheless, there are many CPAP users who simply cannot find their perfect CPAP mask in the three traditional types. So, CPAP developers decided to make specialty style masks that will be ideal for users who need a unique mask. Here is everything there is to know about specialty CPAP masks:
Nasal Cradle Masks
This is another lightweight mask which features a non-intrusive mask frame and headgear. Hence, a nasal cradle mask is your ideal option if:
- You want to have a small profile mask as this mask is similar in size to nasal and nasal pillow masks.
- It makes many users feel like there is nothing on their face while wearing it.
- You are a nose breather.
- A natural airflow feel is what you want to experience.
- You move a lot during sleep as the mask is so compact and makes the tossing and turnings hassle-free.
However, note that the nasal cradle mask comes only with multiple cradle cushion sizes, but you cannot find a variety of this mask. So, currently, there is one style of this mask available on the market. This might not be the perfect mask for you if you breathe through your nose unless you use this mask with a chinstrap. Likewise, you shouldn’t choose the nasal cradle mask if you have chronic allergies, nasal obstructions, or any conditions which have an impact on breathing.
The oral CPAP mask is a mask which isn’t too bulky and sits on your mouth. The oral masks are the perfect option for you if:
- You are a mouth breather as the airflow goes through the mouth.
- Chinstrap isn’t something you would like to use.
- You have a high-pressure setting, which is quite easily handled through your mouth.
- A difficulty breathing through your nose is something you encounter, which can either happen from chronic health issues.
You have to consider that if you breathe through your nose you might not benefit from this oral mask. This specialty nasal mask might leave you with a dry mouth or sore throat and that’s why you’ll have to use a humidifier. There also isn’t a lot of variety to choose from as there are only a couple of choices for oral CPAP masks.