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Full Face Mask and Chinstraps
I am going to get some supplies this upcoming week and trying to figure out what to get. I sometimes breath through my mouth or it comes open during the night. I'm not sure that I want to get a full face mask, I think it may make me claustrophobic. I am willing to try one if I need to but not so sure about it.

I have a question in regards to full face mask and chinstrap. If you use a ffm is it necessary or a good option to use a chinstrap? When would it be a good option to use a chinstrap? Only with nasal pillows or nasal mask? Thanks!
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I used nasal pillows for five years with a chin strap. Six months ago I got a new machine, a Resmed AS10.
I needed my pressure increased from 7 to 12-16. As a result I couldn't use the pillows because air kept blowing out of my mouth. So I went to a ffm. After several trials with different ffm I have settled on one. Even then I found that I needed to used a chin strap because my mouth would open and I found myself with the lower part of the mask in my mouth.
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Hi Inky1,

I use a nasal pillow (P10) with a chin strap. Before that I briefly used a FFM (Simplus, F10) with a chin strap. Before that I used the FFM without a chin strap, because my sleep study doc said I was a mouth breather and would not be able to use a nasal mask or nasal pillow. Before my SA diagnosis I tried a stop-snoring chin strap I had seen advertised somewhere. So I have some useful experience with chin straps and a few different mask products.

A few thoughts on your questions and concerns...

1. Re: feeling claustrophobic with a FFM? Realize that the FFM only covers your nose and mouth. The kind that covers your entire face is called a total face mask (TFM). If you are extremely sensitive then the FFM might cause you some claustro problems but it's not as bad as it might seem from name of it.

2. Re: should you use a chin strap with a FFM? Probably not unless you try the FFM and have air leaks you can't resolve by proper fitting and sleeping positions. The FFM is a step up from nasal pillows/nasal mask to address mouth breathing. It might be enough all by itself without a chin strap. On the other hand, adding a chin trap without switching to an FFM might be an even better first step.

Here's what happened in my case that led me to advocate nasal pillows with chin strap... As I mentioned above, I started with a FFM. Had problems with major air leaks that I was unable to make go away for almost 2 months.

So I tried adding the chin strap, and immediately the major air leaks went away. Still woke up when I moved around in my sleep to close the cheek-to-mask air gap and go back to sleep. But that was better than major air leaks.

After about a week of success with the FFM & chin strap, I started to wonder if I might be able to use nasal pillows with the chin strap. I figured if the chin strap keeps my mouth shut, then perhaps I didn't need the FFM either.

I ordered a P10 with free return insurance in case it didn't work out. I was delighted to find that using the nasal pillows with the chin strap I had no issues with mouth-breathing air leaks.

When I switched from FFM to P10 my 90% air pressure dropped by 5 points, I slept more comfortably and didn't wake up during the night to adjust the mask as I had with the FFM. This was a major improvement for me and I was rapidly assimilated into the P10 nasal pillow cult.

If you are currently using a nasal pillow or nasal mask, I would just add the chin strap first and see if that works for you before ordering a FFM.

If that doesn't work, then I would try the FFM without the chin strap, and failing that I would add the chin strap to the FFM. Do the least intrusive steps first until you get it under control.

In my experience, the lighter weight mask you can get away with, the more comfortable you will be and the better you will sleep.

As you move from nasal pillows to nasal mask to full face mask each step adds a little heavier mask. I consider the chin strap as a half-step between mask styles, and worth trying before taking on a heavier mask.

The "anti snore jaw strap" I use costs about $15 on amazon. That's a relatively cheap experiment. No prescription required.

One last thought... you mention that you sometimes open your mouth at night. Unclear if you consider this to be robbing you of restful sleep or just a circumstance. If the leaks are occasional and not causing any issues, then one option is to do nothing about it. But if you feel like it's costing you restful sleep, or if you are waking up with dry teeth and tongue, then it's probably a good idea to take the next step along the lines described above.

Saldus Miegas
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Hi SaldusMiegas,

Thank you for the insight on the FFM. When my mouth opens I think it is just a circumstance. Sometimes it feels like it is robbing me of sleep. I usually breathe, snore through my nose and try to keep my lips pursed/shut. I feel though that I may be leaking through my mouth.

I'm currently not doing treatment since I haven't gotten supplies yet. I'm just trying to figure out what I should try first. I guess I don't like the idea of nasal pillows, I don't like for things sitting near my nostrils or in them.

I'm just trying to figure out if I should start out first with nasal mask or a FFM. I may get a chinstrap to use if I determine I need one. Hopefully my DME will help me figure out what to get at first and return it if it doesn't work for me.
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When I have leaks in my regular FFM I switch to my Hybrid FFM. Nasal pillows, with a much smaller mouth area to seal. Also, has a chin flap, so no chin strap is needed. Might want to check it out.
Love your family, treat your friend(s) well, and don't waste your time. Everything else is just so much BS. Sleep-well
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I started using a Ruby adjustable chin strap a few nights ago. I was having problems with dry mouth every night due to breathing through my mouth while using my FFM. Using the chin strap has stopped my mouth breathing and completely resolved the dry mouth issue. I had thought I would never be able to use a chin strap, but I found it to be very comfortable.

I found that if I put the chin strap on first, making sure the top part of the chin portion of the strap is not touching the area my face mask sits on, and then tighten both adjustment straps loosly, I can tighten the top strap until it just starts feeling uncomfortable and then loosen it slightly until it is comfortable. Tighter is not necessarily better. I found the back strap should be just tight enough to hold the chin strap in place. Any tighter and it will pull the chin back, making it uncomfortable. I don't run much pressure so someone who does may have to adjust the strap tighter. After I have the chin strap on and adjusted, I put my mask on. I had to loosen my mask straps slightly due to the chin strap being under the mask headgear. I found that if I am careful I can take the chin strap off when I awaken and then put it back on when I use it again, all without having to disturb the adjustment straps.

The three nights I have used the chin strap have been the most comfortable I have had so far while using my CPAP. It does not interfere with my mask in any way and I have not had an issue with dry mouth since I start using the chin strap.
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hi pupcamper,

Congrats on trying new things to improve your therapy. Thanks for posting the helpful info about how you fit and position your chin strap.

You make an important point that Tighter is not necessarily better.

I learned this from Retired_Guy here on the forum. The role of the chin strap is simply to keep your chin in the proper position, and not to seal your mouth shut. So over tightening a chin strap won't fix anything but instead might actually cause problems like waking up with a headache.

Note that when we mouth breathers are going to sleep without a chin strap, there is no air leak while we are awake and drifting off to sleep. So it's not a matter of something applying extra pressure to keep our mouth sealed shut.

Once we are asleep our jaw muscles relax and that's when the chin drops out of place, allowing the mouth to open. The chin strap doesn't apply pressure to keep the mouth sealed shut, but rather it gently holds the chin in place so when our muscles relax the jaw doesn't drop open. When the chin is properly positioned it's our tongue that blocks the air flow from coming out through our mouth.

Your experiments with fitting the chin strap demonstrate the same story that tighter is not necessarily better. Well done.

I might check out the Ruby chin strap based on your recommendation. Mine is very comfortable and works great; however it leaves lines on my face in the morning that take a while to go away. I wonder if you notice any lines on your face from the Ruby chin strap?

Saldus Miegas

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Since I have to wear a chin strap even with a ffm, has anyone found out if it's better to put the chin strap on before the mask, or after? I am still testing this.
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(02-07-2016, 01:11 PM)SaldusMiegas Wrote: I might check out the Ruby chin strap based on your recommendation. Mine is very comfortable and works great; however it leaves lines on my face in the morning that take a while to go away. I wonder if you notice any lines on your face from the Ruby chin strap?
Hi SaldusMiegas.

Thanks for the kind words.

I chose the Ruby chin strap based on comments and recommendations I read on this forum as well as other sites on the web. It has a very good reputation. I haven't had any red lines from using the Ruby. The inside is made from a soft, smooth, stretchy material that is very comfortable. The outside is made from a soft, stretchy fabric. The few seams that the chin strap has are flat and haven't been an issue. Some people have said they get hot while wearing it. I suspect anything you wrap around your face and head is going to make you feel warmer. Based on my experience with the Ruby, I highly recommend it. Keep in mind it is the only chin strap I have used and I have only been using it for 3 days.


(02-07-2016, 01:49 PM)Deweym Wrote: Since I have to wear a chin strap even with a ffm, has anyone found out if it's better to put the chin strap on before the mask, or after? I am still testing this.
Hi Deweym.

The instructions that came with the Ruby chin strap says to put it on before the mask and headgear so that is the way I started using it. Since I haven't worn it any other way, I really can't answer your question except to say I am very satisfied with the experience I have had with wearing this chin strap under my mask and headgear.


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