March 25, 2021

No Mask CPAP: Is It Right for You?

CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure therapy is an effective way to get your sleep apnea symptoms under control and return to nights of restful sleep, but what happens when you absolutely CANNOT stand wearing the CPAP mask? A lot of sleep apnea patients go through many different mask styles and mask types like ResMed's AirFit masks or Philips Respironics Dreamwear line of masks but they just cannot find anything that will help them get better sleep. Many sleep apnea patients state that the CPAP mask, especially a full-face mask, gives them feelings of claustrophobia. This is where no-mask CPAP options come in. These are alternative options to treat your obstructive sleep apnea without having to wear an annoying mask. I will be discussing two no mask CPAP options: CPAP Pro and Inspire Therapy. We will tell you what they are and how they work so you can figure out if these options may be beneficial for you.

CPAP Pro: What is it?

CPAP Pro

The first no-mask CPAP option is called CPAP Pro. It was invented by a CPAP user named Joe Goldstein. He absolutely hated the CPAP mask and could not stand having it on his face, so he invented CPAP Pro. CPAP Pro is a CPAP or BiPAP delivery system with no “mask” or headgear. One of their claims is "no more leaks" so if you are having an issue with your mask leaking you may want to look into this option to treat your sleep disorder. The product consists of nasal puffs or nasal pillows, 1 pair of corrugated tubes, 1 connector piece to connect the pair of corrugated tubes, 1 boil n bite mouthpiece, and 1 pack of exhalation diffusers, as well as screws, and nuts to hold everything together and a “Y” coupling where your tubing is attached.

With such a strange-looking design, you may be wondering how does this contraption work? Let us break it down for you. The first thing you want to do is unscrew the dental mouthpiece bracket which is held by 2 nylon screws. Place the mouthpiece in a small pot and add approximately 2 inches of water. Proceed to heat the water and mouthpiece until the water is boiling. Make sure to remove the pot from the heat and place the tip of the thermometer to determine the temperature. The thermometer will indicate when the water has cooled down (140-150 degrees Fahrenheit or 60-65 degrees Celsius) enough for you to remove the mouthpiece. DO NOT REMOVE WITH YOUR BARE HANDS! Please use a spoon or tongs to avoid injury. Once you have shaken off the excess water, stand in front of a mirror and center the mouthpiece directly under your nose and place it up against your upper teeth. Exert as much upwards pressure as you can with your fingers and thumbs so your teeth can make a firm impression. Once your teeth have been imprinted into the mouthpiece, re-screw the mouthpiece back onto the connector piece and insert the nasal puffs or pillows into your nostrils. Connect your CPAP tubing to the “Y” coupling and start your CPAP device. CPAP Pro can be used with the humidifier option on your CPAP machine. One common problem reported by people using CPAP pro is that it may not be able to withstand the high air pressure settings of their CPAP therapy. People with serious dental issues or those who wear dentures should speak with their dentist before using CPAP pro. 

Inspire Therapy: What is it?

How Inspire Therapy works

Inspire therapy is an upper airway device that has been FDA approved to prevent an obstruction in sleep apnea patients. It functions similarly to a pacemaker to stabilize the patients tongue while they sleep. Inspire therapy works with a pulse generator that send a signal to the nerve controlling the hypoglossal nerve (tongue movement). The signal is not sent throughout the night, it is only sent when the individual inhales. This option may be a little scary for some individuals since you must go through minor surgery meaning you are put under general anesthesia. Please consult your doctor beforehand to make sure the option is right for you. The inspire device is implanted below the collar bone, more to the side of your chest below your ribs. The neuro-stimulator device senses when there is an obstruction and delivers mild stimulation to the tongue nerve. It can be activated before bed using a handheld remote. Some side effects can occur like damage to blood vessels in the vicinity of the implant, excessive bleeding, nerve trauma and/or damage, allergic reaction, or rejection of implant. Inspire therapy will not work if the obstruction you are experiencing is because of sinus allergies or have a deviated septum. Inspire therapy may be a good treatment option for people who are mouth breathers and do not want to use oral appliances as their sleep apnea treatment anymore.

Final Thoughts

We hope we were able to provide some insight on these 2 no-mask CPAP/Bilevel options. If you have been having difficulty trying to find the best CPAP mask for you, you may want to research these options. Please remember to speak with your healthcare provider before making any decisions. 

Written by Karina Lima

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