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Anyone using an "oral" mask?
#1
I spoke to my machine provider today about mask problems, and they suggested I consider an oral mask -- the name Oracle was mentioned. I've browsed for it and can see it seems to fit in the mouth in the way a diver's snorkel does, with a flange that sits between the cheeks and the gums.

Has anyone used that kind of thing to good effect?

I have two concerns:

1. Whenever I find myself mouth-breathing using my full face mask, I always end up completely dried out in my mouth and throat, even though I'm using a humidifier. But the lady at the machine provider said that that's a sign of mask leakage -- so I'm breathing part room air which has not been humidified. She says the oral mask will fix that problem and I won't get the dryness problem. I'm skeptical though -- what do you think?

2. That between-cheek-and-gum flange sounds like a recipe for soreness and mouth ulcers. Any experience?

thx!
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#2
(06-27-2013, 07:11 PM)onsonby Wrote: But the lady at the machine provider said that that's a sign of mask leakage -- so I'm breathing part room air which has not been humidified.

Umm, no. Not unless you essentially have removed your mask.

Because the pressure inside the mask is higher than the room air pressure, there is no opportunity for room air to get into the mask except though the machine. It's the same principle (except in reverse) for asbestos removal: create a pressure difference, in this case a pressure reduction in the area with the asbestos, to make sure that there is no opportunity for the asbestos particles to get outside the area.

Possibly stupid question: have you tried increasing the humidity and/or temperature settings to combat your dry mouth/throat?
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#3
(06-27-2013, 07:11 PM)onsonby Wrote: the lady at the machine provider said that that's a sign of mask leakage -- so I'm breathing part room air which has not been humidified.

Sure sounds fishy to me. The humidified air is leaking OUT of the mask, not INTO it. Dry mouth is a sign of leakage from therapy escaping the mouth when using nasal mask or nasal pillows, not full face mask. Dry mouth can happen with a full face mask - it's a sign of mouth breathing (which is ok with ffm), but not leakage.

I've only heard about the Oracle mask. It might solve leak problems, but I seriously doubt it would do anything but make dry mouth worse.
Dont-know
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#4
Interesting that both our BS detectors triggered on the same thing. Thinking-about
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#5
(06-27-2013, 07:52 PM)RonWessels Wrote: Interesting that both our BS detectors triggered on the same thing. Thinking-about

Great minds quack like a duck......I think I might have gotten that saying wrong.

Annnyway...on the mouth breathing - cranking up the humidity should help, but it's pretty hard to completely get rid of dry mouth when mouth breathing. Some people say OTC dry mouth products help.
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#6
(06-27-2013, 07:45 PM)RonWessels Wrote: Because the pressure inside the mask is higher than the room air pressure, there is no opportunity for room air to get into the mask except though the machine.

You're right. Of course you are -- I should have called her on that. She is correct that my mask often does leak, but as you say that isn't going to cause dry room air to get in.

Quote:Possibly stupid question: have you tried increasing the humidity and/or temperature settings to combat your dry mouth/throat?
Not a stupid question, but the answer is that my humidifier is up to the max. I fill the water chamber every night, and by morning it's empty, so there's not much room for improving that side of things.

My ideal night so far has come down to using my mask straps to "skew" it on my face, forcing it to the left in an attempt to open up my left nasal passage. My septum's deviation is to the left, so by skewing it like that I can sometimes nose breathe. Occasional antihistamine nose spray, plus some of those adhesive nose "band-aids" help a little too.

Sigh. Machine, masks, straps, band-aids, nose sprays. Sometimes I think evolution is trying to get rid of me :-)


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#7
(06-27-2013, 07:11 PM)onsonby Wrote: I have two concerns:

1. Whenever I find myself mouth-breathing using my full face mask, I always end up completely dried out in my mouth and throat, even though I'm using a humidifier. But the lady at the machine provider said that that's a sign of mask leakage -- so I'm breathing part room air which has not been humidified. She says the oral mask will fix that problem and I won't get the dryness problem. I'm skeptical though -- what do you think?

I'm new to the world of apnea (just under a month now), am a mouth breather, and had much the same problem. I also have high pressures (16 EPAP with a PS of 5 as a minimum (16/21) with a possible automatic increase to 20/25) It has mostly abated. This may help.

I bought some xylimelts from the CVS. Put one in each cheek. Turn the humidifier up on high, and it seems to mostly fix the problem. It has also abated as I've dealt with leaks by using commercially available disposable cloth pads between the mask and my face.

In my very little time as a Bipap user, I've found that buying a mask is like pulling the lever on a slot machine in Las Vegas. You've put the money in, and you're hoping for a jackpot. Often you get a goose-egg. I'm at my 2nd mask (M and L Resmed Mirage Quattro) at $170 a pop.

It may be worth exhausting other possibilities before "pulling that lever".
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#8
I had terrible dry mouth with the Quattro FX with my former CPAP machine, an F&P ICON. Since I have been changed to Resmed's VPAP S9, with a 14/9 pressure setting that has all ended. Oh yes, and they switched me from Quattro FX Men's Small to a Quattro FX Ladies Small.

I not sure if switching mask sizes had anything to do with alleviating the problem, but I feel mask fit does make somewhat of a difference in eliminating leaks. I also use a Quietus mask liner. I can make one last for quite a while. I am entering my third week with the one I placed new on June 14th.
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#9
I have only rare dry mouth occurances. When I do I often wake up with coughing fits. Bleah!
I have the humidifier turned up high enough to get rid of that.
On the down side: The air is near 100% humidity.
It's like a cool steam bath.
I get a lot of condensate in the hose and the mask too so I have it positioned
to drain as much moisture back into the tank.
The rest gets soaked up in a paper towel that I keep tucked under my chin inside the mask.
That keeps water from getting dumped all over my sheets and matress.

Sleep-well

Smile
"With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable." - Thomas Foxwell Buxton

Cool
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#10
Mouth breathing will dry you out. No matter whether you have an oral mask or a full face mask.

Why are you using a FFM to begin with? Can you not breathe through your nose, or did you try a nasal mask and couldn't control mouth leaks? FFMs should only be used on someone who has problems with nasal masks.

If you're using a nasal mask, air leaking out of your mouth will really dry you out.

If you're using a full face mask (FFM), leaks around the mask will dry you out because the humidifier has a harder time humidifying the larger amount of air that's flowing through it.

SleepyHead will tell you if you're leaking a lot of air with your mask of any type. Figure that out first. Sometimes it takes some tinkering to make the Quattro FX not leak. In particular, do not over tighten the headgear. The mask needs to sort of float on your face like a hovercraft with the "skirt" inflating to seal the air in. You don't use the headstraps to squeeze it into your face.

The Oracle mask is very difficult to get used to. You have to stop the air from leaking out your nose. You either have to learn to keep your nose "closed" on its own or use the nose plugs or a nose clip. The Oracle is also very drying to your mouth and throat and needs a lot of humidification. Even then, it may be rough on your mouth and throat. Because no air flows through your nose, it feels uncomfortable, sort of like having a clogged up nose and breathing through your mouth all the time. Airflow through the nose is part of the feedback system for your breathing, so mouth breathing may have some side effects on your breathing.

The Oracle mask does have some advantages when you have certain problems like unfixable leaks or ear or eye problems.

I would NEVER recommend the Oracle mask to someone who had not tried several different FFMs.
Get the free SleepyHead software here.
Useful links.
Click here for information on the main alternative to CPAP.
If it's midnight and a DME tells you it's dark outside, go and check it yourself.
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