Nitrous Oxide Leaks Too Common in Dental Practices

Although most dental professionals use a scavenging system to prevent nitrous oxide gas from escaping during a dental procedure, adherence to other recommended practices – such as checking equipment for leaks – is lacking, according to a new study from NIOSH.

The agency surveyed 284 dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants in private practice who had used nitrous oxide in the previous week. More than 93 percent of respondents said they had employed a nasal scavenging mask or local exhaust ventilation around a patient’s mouth when using nitrous oxide.

However, a little more than half (51 percent) reported that they did not check for leaks when using the gas on adult patients and 47 percent did not check before using it on pediatric patients.

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Another area lacking in dental practices? Control of bloodborne diseases. Read more here.