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5/31/2018 » 6/3/2018
2018 OSAP Annual Conference

FAQ - Instruments & Equipment - 2014
 FAQ -  Instruments & Equipment -  2014



Is it required to use a disposable nitrous mask or using a sterilizable mask is fine. I thought I read somewhere that there was bacteria in the masks and tubing of nitrous oxide equipment. Pedo office uses nitrous often. What is the best way to clean and maintain Nitrous equipment. Thank you

Ideally, nitrous oxide masks should be autoclavable or disposable. Some, but not all, nitrous oxide masks are intended to withstand heat sterilization processes and may be sterilized. An alternative for the dental practice would be the use of single-use disposable nitrous oxide masks. Single-use disposable nitrous oxide masks should be discarded after each patient use. Some dentists give these masks to their patients to take home so they will know that no one else has ever used their masks. If items are labeled by the manufacturer as a single-use disposable item, it must be disposed of and not reprocessed after use. In other words, if a facility used disposable masks, they would have to be discarded after use and not reprocessed.

Regarding single-use items, the 2003 CDC guidelines for infection control in dentistry states:

Single-Use or Disposable Devices   A single-use device, also called a disposable device, is designed to be used on one patient and then discarded, not reprocessed for use on another patient (e.g., cleaned, disinfected, or sterilized) (383). Single-use devices in dentistry are usually not heat-tolerant and cannot be reliably cleaned. Examples include syringe needles, prophylaxis cups and brushes, and plastic orthodontic brackets. Certain items (e.g., prophylaxis angles, saliva ejectors, high-volume evacuator tips, and air/water syringe tips) are commonly available in a disposable form and should be disposed of appropriately after each use. Single-use devices and items (e.g., cotton rolls, gauze, and irrigating syringes) for use during oral surgical procedures should be sterile at the time of use. 1

The nitrous oxide mask should be used according to approved written manufacturer’s instructions for use (IFU). If items are labeled by the manufacturer as a single-use disposable item, it must be disposed of and not reprocessed for reuse. It is recommended that if you have further questions that you contact the manufacturer of the mask. The manufacturer of the nitrous oxide unit can advise you regarding the proper use and maintenance specific to their equipment.

Additionally, the American Dental Association (ADA) offers information regarding the use of nitrous oxide which you may find to be helpful. It can be accessed at this link:  2


1)     Kohn WG, Collins AS, Cleveland JL, Harte JA, Eklund KJ, Malvitz DM, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Guidelines for infection control in dental health-care settings—2003. MMWR Recomm Rep 2003;52(RR-17):1-61.    Accessed on May 15, 2014.

2)     American Dental Association. Oral Health Topics-Nitrous Oxide. . Accessed on May 15, 2014.




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