Right up front, I know that the biggest, easiest way to solve the issue is to get a full face mask. I'm very hesitant. I tried on a nasal mask when I first got the PAP and hated it. The air blowing around my nose was terrible distracting. I went with a P10 nasal pillows, and then to a dreamwear which I like quite a lot. I really want to make it work.
Looking at my data, I first started therapy in December and had some small leaks - likely mouth leaks. I tried a chin strap with limited success. Then a mouthguard - which I HATEd - then back to a chinstrap. After about 5 chinstraps I found one that was decent and seemed to do a good job without being terrible uncomfortable.
After a couple of weeks, I found myself fighting it. I would put it on, and subconsciously I would push my jaw down against it, opening my mouth. At night, I would wake up with a dry mouth proving it wasn't real effective and i was opening my mouth anyways. Sometimes I would wake up with dry mouth/teeth, showing that my jaw was closed, but I was leaking out of my lips around my teeth anyway. VERY uncomfortable. I had it pretty tight - it would leave a mark under my chin - and if I went any tighter I would give myself a headache.
My latest thought was: Am I handicapping myself, and the chinstrap is just a crutch? In other words, am I becoming dependent on the chinstrap instead of "training" myself to keep my mouth closed in my sleep? Is training myself even possible? Other people can sleep with their mouths closed, can't they?
So a couple nights ago, I stopped using the chin strap. They've been really bad nights as far as leaks go. Not surprising. I've had a cold also, which of course complicates things. My AHI has remained consistently under 2 for a couple weeks, so therapy is technically going good. The last two nights the leaks have been bigger than they almost ever have been - to me this reinforces that i was becoming dependent on the chinstrap. Now that I don't have it, everything falls apart leak-wise.
What I'm going to try is continuing without the chinstrap, and trying to "catch" and train myself as I sleep to keep my mouth closed.
Is this even possible?
Does anyone have experience or advice?
Am I foolish to even try?