This is a question we often get asked our CPAP Solution Clinic in Boise ID, so this article will not only go over the three types of CPAP masks, but what symptoms they work best for and what are the advantages of each. We will also discuss our unique approach to finding the best mask for each individual patient.
The owners and employees of Everything CPAP are dedicated to the improvement and extension of our patient’s lives through personalized care, use of state-of-the-art equipment, constant innovation, and clinical research. We use only the highest quality supplies and most high-tech CPAP machines available on the market. All of the CPAP Mask we carry are fully vetted, reviewed and researched to offer the best treatment available. (See our inventory of CPAP Masks)
What are the three types of CPAP Masks?
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks and headgear come in many styles and sizes to comfortably treat your sleep apnea with variations in the various styles and brands that are on the market. The three types of CPAP masks are:
- Full Face masks: A full face mask covers both the nose and the mouth and supplies air pressure.
- Nasal Masks: A nasal mask covers the nose and supplies air pressure.
- Nasal Pillow Masks: Nasal pillows fit at the nares (or nostrils) to supply needed air pressure.
Which CPAP masks work better for whom?
Nasal Pillow Masks might work better for those:
- who feel claustrophobic in a full-face mask or ones that cover more of the face;
- who want a full field of vision for reading, watching TV or view a smartphone/laptop;
- who wear reading or prescription glasses;
- who have facial hair that could become irritated by other masks;
- who need lower pressures;
- who breath through their nose;
Nasal Pillow masks are very comfortable, according to our patients, and are ideal for patients who breathe primarily through their nose or are active sleepers. Unlike a nasal mask, which fits around the nose, a nasal pillow seals around the base of each nostril, forming a comfortable pillow-like seal. Because of their unique design, the nasal pillows are lightweight, less invasive, and easier to put on correctly. They also provide the patient an unobstructed view of their television, books, or other mobile devices.
For example, our AirFit P10 Pillow mask offers the least amount of obstruction, is lightweight with a simple headgear that is easy to slip on.
Nasal Masks might work better for those:
- who has received their doctor’s recommendation or prescription for a high pressure setting;
- who moves around a lot in their sleep;
- who breath through their nose;
Studies show that nasal mask have long-term compliance, meaning that patients with OSA or sleep apnea are more apt to adhere to treatment with CPAP and less likely to abandon treatment therapy. At Everything CPAP, we are much more likely to start our patients on Nasal mask due to the long-term compliance and increased success, as well as increased comfort.
Patients who complain of moving around a lot or ‘tossing and turning’ in their sleep find a nasal mask allows them greater mobility. Tossing and turning is often a symptom of OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea), thus CPAP sleep therapy should help decrease the nighttime movements, unless the patient is also suffering from Restless Leg Syndrome or Periodic Limb Movement Disorder. Both of these conditions can be treated with medication, so you should seek medical advice and diagnosis from your family physician or sleep professional.
Full-face Masks might work better for those:
- who have a nasal obstruction or seasonal congestion that makes breathing through your nose difficult;
- who breathe through their mouth at night despite at least a month attempting to use a nasal mask, nasal pillow mask, a chin strap, or a heated humidity feature;
Patients who have facial hair, dentures, facial irregularities, nasal bridge breakdown, who tend to breathe through their mouth or have tried unsuccessfully to use other masks and accessories, will find a full-face CPAP mask a great option. There are various styles and types that offer various solutions and benefits, and can either connect at the top of the head or traditionally in front of the face.
How does Everything CPAP fit the right mask to each patient?
Our mask fitting process can be done in various ways, depending on the patient’s preferences, their OSA symptoms and diagnosis, their doctor’s prescriptions or recommendations, and the shape, size and structure of their face. During COVID-19, our office has had to adjust our fitting process to ensure that our patients and staff stay safe.
Everything CPAP quickly moved to a virtual environment to continue providing our patients with the quality care, service, and support that they have come to expect. To our knowledge, we are the first DME provider in Idaho that has transitioned to virtual visits, thus far. Utilizing telehealth with our patients has allowed us to help keep our patients and staff safe, as well as allowed us to do our part to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus in our local community.
When it comes to fittings, we offer a variety of approaches including the following:
- 3D Imaging Technology (coming soon): Philips Respironics Mask Selector 3D is an automated, personalized solution powered by a proprietary algorithm. It is built on data from over 10 years of facial-scanning research, representing a wide range of ethnicities and geographies. The 3D captures the most critical facial data points with 150 pictures of the patient’s face that gather 100,000 key data points of facial geometry from each picture. It merges these measurements with answers to our sleep preference questionnaire.
- Traditional in-person measurements: Our trained clinicians take time with the patient to focus on face structure, nose size, facial shape, and facial measurements. After thoroughly reviewing their symptoms, sleep preferences, doctor’s recommendations and finding, we have the patients try various styles and types of CPAP masks on to determine comfort level.
- Virtual Telehealth Fittings & Trainings: Due to the current pandemic, we have pivoted our traditional methods to keep our patients safe and reduce Coronavirus transmission. Ironically, we have found great surprising benefits since we have instituted this method as patients are more apt to become invested in their treatment plan, able to determine and troubleshoot issues, better equipped to fit and refit their masks, and are equipped to provide long-term maintenance of their CPAP devices and machines. Our virtual appointments will go over sizes and styles, how to find the right fit, how to set up their equipment at night and how to clean and maintain.
How does Everything CPAP complete a fitting and training via telehealth (virtual) appointment?
Typically, with standard patients, we will send them a demo nasal mask to start their trial period. Once the patient receives their mask and equipment, we will set up a virtual meeting to go over how to try it on, properly fit it, setup the equipment and make needed adjustments. A typical trial period with their demo mask (regardless of mask type) lasts one week. After the week, we will have a follow-up appointment to review symptoms and satisfaction with their demo mask. Our team is also recording data from their machine during the week to measure leakage and AHI (Apnea Hypopnea Index or number of events per hour).
For example, if the patient is using a nasal mask as their demo and we find a high level of leakage, than it could possibly determine that the patient is breathing through their mouth and thus will need a different mask, such as a full face mask, or use a chin strap to address this issue. *Drymouth is a common symptom of those who breathe through their mouths when they sleep.
A typical appointment lasts anywhere from forty-five minutes to one hour and includes the following steps:
- If in person, the patient will try on several demo masks*, but for virtual they will try on the first demo mask either the doctor selected for them or our clinicians recommended.
- We will go over how to slip on, adjust the straps and fit properly to the nose, head and chin.
- We will educate the patient on how to setup the machine, connect the hoses, and understand how to troubleshoot if something goes wrong. Our support team is there to offer continued support and maintenance and can be contacted by phone, email or through our website. Our staff will reach out promptly to our patients during business hours. If you need technical support after hours, our staff is available to our existing patients twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to prevent or address treatment failures.
- We also go over daily and regular maintenance and cleaning of their CPAP equipment, including frequency, cleaning supplies and sanitization. Recommended cleaning procedures are essential to improving the functionality and lifespan of the equipment as well as prevent disease and infection.
- Once the final mask is chosen, we will provide them with their own mask and retrieve the demo mask. Only the final mask will be billed to the insurance.
- Follow-up appointments will go over readings of the demo masks, any issues or persistent symptoms, changes needed in mask style, pressure levels or equipment. It is our goal to make sure we do everything we can to help you have a great experience from the first time you come in and every time after for years to come.
*Demo masks are provided for the long-term compliance and successful treatment of OSA symptoms on our patients. Each demo mask is available for use to the patient for one week’s time, and if they are not satisfied or comfortable with the first demo mask, we send another for another seven nights, until we find the demo mask that works for our patients. While the demo mask is in use, our staff is recording AHI and leakage to ensure that the mask is not only comfortable but effectively addressing the patient’s symptoms. Our goal is a better night’s sleep!
Once the demo mask is returned to our office, it is completely sanitized, according to the manufacturers’ recommendations and Infection Control Policies. They are fully soaked in a disinfectant solution for a minimum of 12 minutes, rinsed, placed in a hurricane dryer with heat, reassembled and packaged for the next user.
What if the Patient is unsatisfied with the mask they choose?
Our 30-Day Mask Fit Guarantee: Everything CPAP offers an unconditional Mask Fit Guarantee with over 200 mask options, proper fitting by our staff at our initial visit as well as ongoing support for our patients. We don’t always get it right the first time, so that is why we offer a full 30 days (or nights) so patients can try out their mask and swap out until we get it right. Remember the goal is to provide our patient’s a better night’s sleep and improved health.
The First Step to a Better Night’s Sleep:
It is our goal to make sure we do everything we can to help you have a great experience from the first time you come in and every time after for years to come. Take our Sleep Quiz!