White Oak PPE (Mask) Types

Help Slow The Spread by Wearing Masks and Face Coverings:

Most states are now requiring that anyone who goes out for essentials needs to wear a face covering, especially while waiting in line or inside any essential business, using public transit, riding in a taxi or seeking healthcare and anytime you come within 6 feet of someone. 

As well, states are requiring that essential businesses require their employees to wear a face covering at work. They are asking all customers to wear a face covering to enter and if they do not, are not welcome due to everyone's safety. 

The primary role of wearing a covering is to reduce the release of infectious particles into the air when someone speaks, coughs, or sneezes, including someone who has COVID-19 but feels well. Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing and washing hands and staying home when ill.

Wearing a face covering during the coronavirus pandemic helps prevent the spread of germs, in addition to social distancing, hand washing, and staying home when sick. 

What Types of Masks are Available and How Effective Are They?



An N95 mask offers more protection than a surgical mask does because it can filter out both large and small particles when the wearer inhales. As the name indicates, the mask is designed to block 95% of very small particles. Some N95 masks have valves that make them easier to breathe through. With this type of mask, unfiltered air is released when the wearer exhales, which may be unsafe to use.

Health care providers must be trained and pass a fit test to confirm a proper seal before using an N95 respirator in the workplace. Like surgical masks, N95 masks are intended to be disposable. However, researchers are testing ways to disinfect N95 masks so they can be reused.

Some N95 masks, and even some cloth masks, have one-way valves that make them easier to breathe through. But because the valve releases unfiltered air when the wearer breathes out, this type of mask doesn't prevent the wearer from spreading the virus. For this reason, some places have banned them.


In short, KN95 masks are the Chinese standards for masks; N95 masks are the US standards for respirator masks. These are the requirements that the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health requires manufacturers to meet in order to label their masks as N95s. Despite the long list of differences, the two masks are equivalent or nearly equivalent on the features that most people care about. Both N95 and KN95 masks are rated to capture 95% of 0.3 micron particles.

With worldwide supply shortages of N95s in America, more KN95 masks are starting to appear in this country.


Also called a medical mask, a surgical mask is a loose-fitting disposable mask that protects the wearer's nose and mouth from contact with droplets, splashes and sprays that may contain germs. A surgical mask also filters out large particles in the air. Surgical masks may protect others by reducing exposure to the saliva and respiratory secretions of the mask wearer.

At this time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any type of surgical mask specifically for protection against the coronavirus, but these masks may provide some protection when N95 masks are not available.


A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth that people have been making. It can be secured to the head with ties or straps or simply wrapped around the lower face. Also made from a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, or linen.

NOTE: White Oak Orthodontics does not promote, offer or sell Cloth Face Coverings. We are just explaining the types of masks on the market.

 For your safety, White Oak recommends you use N95, KN95 or Surgical Masks. 


  • Please always wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before and after touching your face, face coverings and masks.
  • Follow any instructions provided with commercially manufactured face masks.
  • Remember to continue 6-ft social distancing.

For additional information on best practices for when and how to use masks, please refer to the World Health Organization's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public.