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02-5631-19017-2: Nitrous Oxide Sedation: A Basic Review

Course Abstract:

Contact Hours (CE): The Academy of Dental Learning and OSHA Training, LLC, designates this activity for 2 continuing education credits (2 CEs).
Cost: $30.00
Questions? Contact Us: Phone: 800-522-1207, Fax: 800-886-3009, or Email:
Published: January 2017
Revised: February 2020
Expires: February 2023
Pages: 34
Health Science Editor: Megan Wright, RDH, MS
No conflicts of interest are reported by the author or by educational planning committee members.

Educational Objectives

  • Understand the history and background for Nitrous Oxide as an anesthetic agent.
  • Identify indications for use in clinical dentistry.
  • Identify contraindications for use in clinical dentistry.
  • Evaluate patients suitable for nitrous oxide sedation.
  • Know the basic equipment and its use in the dental operatory.
  • Understand best clinical practices for nitrous oxide sedation.
  • Implement workplace monitoring and safety guidelines per OSHA guidelines.
  • Identify signs and symptoms of exposure.
  • Understand nitrous monitoring systems, i.e. Laudauer Monitoring Badge.
  • Maintain absolute safety for patients in the clinical setting.

Course Description

Clinical dentistry often needs chemical agents to maintain patient comfort and to allay anxiety (anxiolytic properties). The ideal agent would have a fairly rapid onset of action, good therapeutic effectiveness, a wide safety margin, quick recovery time, no “hangover” effect or excessive sedative effects, and which does not require the presence of an anesthesiologist.

An anesthetic which is ideally suited to clinical dentistry is nitrous oxide or N2O as nitrous oxide is commonly abbreviated. Nitrous oxide produces analgesic and anxiolytic effects when used correctly in a clinical setting. Nitrous oxide (N20 on many forms or chemical symbol N2O) gas has been available to the medical and dental community for over 150 years. The use of nitrous oxide as an anesthetic is common for anesthesiologists and dental practitioners as an adjunct to local anesthetic agents, and fulfills almost all of the criteria listed above.

This course reviews the general use of nitrous oxide for the dental practitioner and dental staff. The course emphasizes best clinical practices to support absolute patient safety and to assure that clinicians minimize exposure to themselves in the workplace. OSHA sets forth specific guidelines for clinical and workplace safety which will be discussed in detail. Also a review of common terms is provided as an appendix, as well as information about workplace safety and monitoring systems for exposure management in the dental clinical setting. Ironically, nitrous oxide exposure issues for the patient are relatively minimal. Of more concern are the long-term health issues for clinicians, particularly child bearing age women, who may be exposed on a daily basis and therefore subject to more cumulative effects based on the frequency of exposure.

About the Author

Ms. Wright is a continuing education editor and writer as well as a Temp PRN with agencies in the Washington State area. Ms. Wright earned her MS at the UNM and Pierce College of Washington State in 1997 and certification in Utilization of the 970 Diode Laser and Safety in Dentistry in February of 2015. Ms. Wright works to implement Dental Education seminars as a Hospital-Dental Liaison building collaborative, mutual efforts to promote patient wellness between medical practitioners and dentists while prioritizing care for untreated, medially compromised patients.

How to Take This Course

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Contact Hours: 2.00
Price: $30.00

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