BiPAP masks can make or break your sleep apnea treatment – quite literally. The mask serves as the portal through which the compressed air enters your mouth or nostrils. Since you’ve to wear the mask during sleep, its style and fit greatly affect your comfort levels.
It is why you should pay close attention to the type of mask when purchasing the BiPAP machine. There are three fundamental types of BiPAP masks; full-face, nasal, and nasal pillow. However, there are also some specialty ones.
In this article, we’ll discuss each one in detail to help you select the best one easily. Let’s read more!
A full-face mask covers most of your face, including the mouth and nose. It is secured to the head using two or three flexible straps, depending on the model. So, even when you turn a lot in your sleep, the mask remains firmly attached to the face.
The mask has a wide surface area that spreads the pressure and increases the comfort level. It delivers high-pressure air, which makes it great for people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. People who experience nasal congestion and allergies may find a full-face mask a better option, too.
Since both your mouth and nose get covered, a full-face mask also prevents dry mouth after you wake up. A dry mouth is a condition that occurs when you leave the mouth open, and some of the compressed air escapes through it, drying up your saliva. It leads to a burning sensation and hoarseness.
However, the full-face mask can be a little heavy and bulky. It will be particularly troublesome for claustrophobic people and side-sleepers.
As the name explains, the nasal mask covers only the nose. It begins at the bridge of the nose and travels down until it reaches above the lips. The mask lies closer to the nose than to the lips, though none of the structural parts enters the nostril.
Some new versions feature a slim-profile cradle that lies underneath the nose. In any case, the compressed air has an indirect passage to the airways. So, it makes the perfect option for patients who require higher pressure settings.
It is also great for those who cannot tolerate the bulky and claustrophobic design of full-face masks. That said, mouth breathers may experience dry mouth. The best strategy to overcome this hurdle is to use a chin strap to keep the mouth closed.
The nasal pillow mask features a small and compact design with two soft pads that enter the nostrils. These silicone pillows inflate slightly when inside the nostrils and deliver the compressed air directly to the airways. There is no coverage over the mouth.
As a result, the mask creates an effective seal and reduces the risk of air leakage. The minimal contact with the face also ensures you stay comfortable. You can sleep in whatever style you want without worries.
There will be no obstruction in vision or speech. It’s also possible to easily wear the mask during the daytime. However, you need to be gentle while using it.
Other than these, you may find specialty masks that are suitable for specific users only. For example, a total face mask is excellent for people who have face irregularities and cannot tolerate wearing other types. Similarly, an oral mask covers the mouth region only and is best for patients who have injured septum.
These specialty masks can come at a higher price than the standard ones. However, their comfort level will be unmatchable for the intended users.