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ADA helps develop dental chapter in national fire protection code

March 13, 2018

By Michelle Manchir

A chapter that can help dentists protect patients has for the first time been published in an edition of the National Fire Protection Association's Health Care Facilities Code.

The chapter, which was written with input from the ADA, is called "Dental Gas and Vacuum Systems" and appears in the 2018 edition of NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code.  It is available to review at no cost online at NFPA.org.

Prior to the creation of the chapter, "there was confusion regarding the application of NFPA 99 requirements to dentistry," said Dr. Dave Preble, vice president of the ADA Practice Institute in an article published in the NFPA Journal. "In some cases they were misapplied, and in others they weren't used at all in dental settings. The new chapter, when implemented properly, can help dentists protect patients by preventing gas and vacuum line malfunctions."

The chapter lays out distinctions between medical air and dental air; provides performance and maintenance criteria for dental gas, vacuum and waste anesthetic gas disposal systems; provides rules on nitrous oxide scavenging and indicates the materials acceptable for piping in dental gas and vacuum systems.

Because of the chapter, people who "install, maintain and inspect dental gas and vacuum systems" will "no longer have to wonder where to look to find information on dental facilities," according to Dan Shoemaker, a Piping Systems committee member with the National Fire Protection Association, who was also quoted in the NFPA journal article.

For more information about the ADA's work in standards related to dentistry, visit ADA.org/dentalstandards.