Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 18. Professional and Occupational Licensing
Agency 60. Board of Dentistry
Chapter 21. Regulations Governing the Practice of Dentistry
1/27/2020

18VAC60-21-279. Administration of Only Inhalation Analgesia (Nitrous Oxide).

A. Education and training requirements. A dentist who utilizes nitrous oxide shall have training in and knowledge of:

1. The appropriate use and physiological effects of nitrous oxide, the potential complications of administration, the indicators for complications, and the interventions to address the complications.

2. The use and maintenance of the equipment required in subsection D of this section.

B. No sedating medication shall be prescribed for or administered to a patient 12 years of age or younger prior to his arrival at the dental office or treatment facility.

C. Delegation of administration.

1. A qualified dentist may administer or use the services of the following personnel to administer nitrous oxide:

a. A dentist;

b. An anesthesiologist;

c. A certified registered nurse anesthetist under his medical direction and indirect supervision;

d. A dental hygienist with the training required by 18VAC60-25-100 B and under indirect supervision; or

e. A registered nurse upon his direct instruction and under immediate supervision.

2. Preceding the administration of nitrous oxide, a dentist may use the services of the following personnel working under indirect supervision to administer local anesthesia to numb an injection or treatment site:

a. A dental hygienist with the training required by 18VAC60-25-100 C to parenterally administer Schedule VI local anesthesia to persons 18 years of age or older; or

b. A dental hygienist, dental assistant, registered nurse, or licensed practical nurse to administer Schedule VI topical oral anesthetics.

D. Equipment requirements. A dentist who utilizes nitrous oxide only or who directs the administration by another licensed health professional as permitted in subsection C of this section shall maintain the following equipment in working order and immediately available to the areas where patients will be sedated and treated and will recover:

1. Blood pressure monitoring equipment;

2. Source of delivery of oxygen under controlled positive pressure;

3. Mechanical (hand) respiratory bag; and

4. Suction apparatus.

E. Required staffing. When only nitrous oxide/oxygen is administered, a second person in the operatory is not required. Either the dentist or qualified dental hygienist under the indirect supervision of a dentist may administer the nitrous oxide/oxygen and treat and monitor the patient.

F. Monitoring requirements.

1. Baseline vital signs, to include blood pressure and heart rate, shall be taken and recorded prior to administration of nitrous oxide analgesia and prior to discharge, unless extenuating circumstances exist and are documented in the patient's record.

2. Continual clinical observation of the patient's responsiveness, color, respiratory rate, and depth of ventilation shall be performed.

3. Once the administration of nitrous oxide has begun, the dentist shall ensure that a licensed health care professional or a person qualified in accordance with 18VAC60-21-260 I monitors the patient at all times until discharged as required in subsection G of this section.

4. Monitoring shall include making the proper adjustments of nitrous oxide/oxygen machines at the request of or by the dentist or by another qualified licensed health professional identified in subsection C of this section. Only the dentist or another qualified licensed health professional identified in subsection C of this section may turn the nitrous oxide/oxygen machines on or off.

5. Upon completion of nitrous oxide administration, the patient shall be administered 100% oxygen for a minimum of five minutes to minimize the risk of diffusion hypoxia.

G. Discharge requirements.

1. The dentist shall not discharge a patient until he exhibits baseline responses in a post-operative evaluation of the level of consciousness. Vital signs, to include blood pressure and heart rate, shall be taken and recorded prior to discharge.

2. Post-operative instructions shall be given verbally and in writing. The written instructions shall include a 24-hour emergency telephone number.

3. Pediatric patients shall be discharged with a responsible individual who has been instructed with regard to the patient's care.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 33, Issue 09, eff. February 10, 2017.

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