Airgas have announced that its medical business Airgas Puritan Medical has launched the Safe Sedate™ dental nasal mask for use with nitrous oxide. The first major dental mask upgrade in a quarter-century, it reduces occupational exposure to nitrous oxide, while providing patients with greater comfort during dental procedures.

A mixture of nitrous oxide (N2O) and oxygen (O2) is an analgesic commonly used in dental procedures to decrease patient anxiety. It is highly effective because it is both rapidly absorbed and eliminated through the respiratory system.

Traditional masks require making a tight seal to the face to prevent seepage, yet this seal can easily be broken, releasing the nitrous oxide gas into the surrounding environment.

The Safe Sedate system reduces leakage by providing more direct delivery of the anesthetic through cannula that are placed directly in the patient's nasal passage and a vacuum line evacuates any residual gas that is not inhaled. As a single-piece unit, the Safe Sedate™ system does not require assembly, and therefore reduces the chance of leakage from parts that become dislodged or fail to fit together.

The system, which works with existing analgesia delivery systems with minimal adjustment, was designed to comply with new standards developed by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). NIOSH has mandated a maximum time-weighted average exposure of 25 ppm of N2O during a dental procedure, representing the amount of acceptable leakage into the surrounding environment.

Commenting on the mask, Senior Vice President for Airgas Puritan Medical Kelly Justice said, \\$quot;By offering this simple and effective solution, we are helping dental practitioners to run their practices more safely and efficiently\\$quot;.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), approximately 15 percent of the population declines dental treatment due to anxiety. Traditional N2O masks also can produce a claustrophobic reaction in some patients that adds to the anxiety. The transparent design of the Safe Sedate with the pillow soft cushion allows the patient visibility and creates minimal pressure on the patient's head while also allowing more freedom of movement. This provides a more comfortable experience with less anxiety, making it easier to sedate patients for needed dental procedures.

Safe Sedate covers a smaller area of the face than traditional masks, making it easier for dental staff to get a clear view of the patient's teeth and surrounding anatomy. Additionally, it is shorter than traditional systems and has less obstructive hoses, providing staff with better access to the work area.

While the masks of most traditional systems can be cleaned, inner delivery tubes cannot, increasing the risk of bacterial or viral contamination. Since Safe Sedate is a single-use mask, it reduces this risk and allows for easier clean up.

Safe Sedate is also free of the strong rubber odors of standard masks and is available in a variety of scents including cherry, strawberry, bubblegum and mint. It also comes unscented.

For further information:
National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health