The CPAP mask is the interface between the sleep apnea patient and the CPAP machine. CPAP masks are usually made of silicon and/or rubber and plastic materials. They usually have straps that help to secure the mask to the face.
There are many types of CPAP masks. There are masks that just cover the nose (nasal cpap mask), and masks that cover just the mouth (oral masks), and of course, nasal-oral masks. There are also masks that are attached to oral appliance mouth devices.
Nasal CPAP, Oral CPAP, Nasal-Oral CPAP:
Each of these CPAP masks has different qualities. There is no one-size-fits-all with CPAP masks. The continuous positive airway pressure interface must be personalized to your face and to your comfort level.
There are hundreds of different CPAP masks on the market. Each looks a little different.
Some cover the nose. Others cover the mouth. Some cover the nose and the mouth. Most are made of plastic and silicone.
Types of CPAP Masks
There are several types of CPAP masks:
- Nasal CPAP Mask
- Oral CPAP Mask
- Full-Face Mask (Nasal-Oral)
- Nasal “Pillows” or Prongs
- Total Face CPAP mask
- CPAP-mask with oral appliance, “hybrid CPAP mask”
Each of these masks was created to solve a specific mask interface problem or preference. These preferences and problems include:
Overall Comfort – reducing materials to prevent claustrophobia. Many new masks use the least amount of material and attaching strap possible to deliver air. This allows for a more natural feel during wake and sleep.
Breathing through mouth – Many people breathe with their mouths open during sleep. If you use a nasal CPAP mask and the mouth opens during sleep, air will follow the path of least resistance and exit through the mouth, thus reducing its efficacy.
Nose breathing issues – Nasal resistance and obstruction can pose a problem with CPAP when using a nasal mask. For people with challenging nasal passages, and oral CPAP mask, or full-face mask might be indicated.
Mustaches and beards can interfere with the seal between the mask and the face. Some of the mask categories mentioned were designed not to interface with the hairy part of the face.
What is the best CPAP mask?
The reality with CPAP masks is that the best mask for you is the one that you feel comfortable with and are agreeable to wearing. There is no ‘best CPAP mask’ for all people. There may be a best mask for you.
Masks often come in several sizes for different shaped faces and noses.
CPAP masks should be replaced a few times per year. They are generally not designed to last forever. The rubber/silicone wears out and breaks down. The seal between the mask and face will become compromised over time.
How much do CPAP masks cost?
CPAP masks often cost between $30 – $150. You do not need a physician prescription to buy a new mask, hose, or CPAP filter.
Usually, a CPAP supplies professional will fit your face to several mask and have you try on each one for comfort and fit. It is important that the mask does not leak significant amounts of air while wearing the mask.
The CPAP mask is the interface between the CPAP machine and the body.
It is arguably one of the most important parts of the treatment. Talk to your sleep apnea professional about finding the best CPAP mask for you.