Just like a nasal mask and a nasal pillow, a CPAP full face mask is used with both CPAP and BiPAP machines to provide effective CPAP therapy to sleep apnea patients.
After you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea, a sleep specialist should help you choose the right mask for your face type.
Sleep therapy equipment suppliers such as the No Insurance Medical Supplies also have sleep lab technicians that can help you find a well-fitting and comfortable CPAP mask for your needs. They’ll also show you how to fit, clean, and maintain your CPAP mask.
If your sleep therapist recently recommended that you get a CPAP or BiPAP full face mask for your sleep apnea therapy, you may be wondering how this mask works.
Read on to understand how this type of mask works and why it may be the right CPAP mask for you.
What Is a CPAP Full Face Mask and How Does It Work
This mask covers the patient’s mouth and nose. It seals over the two airways, which allows effective air flow into the mouth and nasal passages. The full face mask also has side straps that help to keep it in place. Other components of this mask include a plastic frame and a forehead brace.
Some CPAP full face masks also have supportive pieces that extend to the patient’s cheeks. The forehead and cheek supportive pieces help to maintain a comfortable seal, as the multiple contact points of this mask increase the likelihood of air leaks.
Some modern full-face masks do not cover the nose but have nasal inserts that are similar to those found on CPAP nasal pillows. These nasal prongs direct the air into the nasal passages.
Who Should Use a CPAP Full Face Mask?
CPAP Full face masks are ideal for:
Patients who sleep with their mouths open – If you sleep with your mouth open, then you should use a full face mask. Also, if you notice that air escapes when you use a nasal mask or a nasal pillow, then you should switch to a full-face CPAP mask.
Patients that experience dry mouth – If you usually wake up with a dry mouth, it means you are a mouth breather. Mouth breathers shouldn’t use nasal masks or nasal pillows, as air will escape through their mouths during the continuous positive airway pressure therapy. This decreases the amount of air they breathe, which makes the CPAP therapy less effective.
If you suffer from nasal congestion – If you have nasal congestion or blockage due to allergies, a cold, or other nasal-related illnesses, then you’ll have difficulties using a nasal mask or a nasal pillow. Instead, you should use a full-face CPAP mask as this mask allows pressurized air to enter your airways through your mouth
If you use higher CPAP pressuresettings – if you have severe sleep apnea or your sleep specialist has prescribed that you use a higher air pressure setting, then you may need to use full-face CPAP masks. Using a nasal mask or a nasal pillow may prove ineffective when using air pressures above 15H2O, as you may experience discomfort or even nose bleeds. However, a full-face CPAP mask is designed to feed higher air pressure to your mouth and nasal airways. Since a full face mask also covers most of your face, the wider surface area makes it more comfortable and tolerable for you to breathe in high-pressure air
Claustrophobic patients – As odd as it may sound, most claustrophobic patients prefer to use full face masks. This is because these masks have minimal contact with their faces, as they only touch the outer sides of their faces.
Back sleepers – A full-face CPAP mask is ideal for back sleepers as this sleeping position allows the mask to maintain its secure and comfortable seal
Restless sleepers – If you’re an active sleeper, the full-face mask will suit you. Since this mask has multiple straps and extra support, you can rest easy knowing that it will stay in place even when you toss and turn in bed
Pros of Using a Full Face CPAP Mask
- Provides effective airflow to patients with congested or blocked noses
- deal for mouth breathers
- The large surface allows for indirect airflow to the airways, making high-pressure airflow more tolerable
- Recommended for back sleepers and claustrophobic patients
Cons of Using a Full Face CPAP Mask
- The mask's large surface area increases the likelihood of air leaks
- The mask obstructs the patient’s vision making it impossible to use it while wearing glasses, reading or watching TV
- The full-face CPAP mask is very bulky, which can make it hard for patients who can’t tolerate the extra material to find sleep
- Not ideal for stomach or side sleepers