Sedation Dentistry


Your Sugar Land, Richmond, & Rosenberg, TX Pediatric Dentist

Sedation dentistry refers to several different techniques used by our pediatric dentists. These techniques can vary from nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, intravenous sedation, and general anesthesia. Sedation dentistry is used due to the amount of dental treatment being done and the age and behavior of the child. However, sedation dentistry is only used when the child needs help tolerating the procedures.

Patients with dental phobia, low pain tolerance, physical handicaps or strong gag reflexes may also require sedation. Procedures like fillings, crowns, pulpotomies, extractions, and cosmetic procedures often require sedation.

The sedation dentistry we offer is endorsed by the American Dental Association. It has shown to be effective in making children comfortable during their dental visit. It is important to tell Drs. Caldwell and Steinbring if your child is taking any medications or medical treatments before taking any sedative or anesthetic.

Laughing Gas

Laughing gas, more formally known as nitrous oxide, is used in our office. We administer this to patients that need to ease their anxiety during certain treatments. A mixture of gas and oxygen is given while your child is still conscious and can communicate during their visit. After treatment is finished, the gas is turned off and oxygen is administered for three to five minutes. The effects should wear off immediately. Nitrous oxide rarely has side effects but some patients may experience a small amount of nausea and constipation. We refer to our gas machine as the “Funny Nose.”

Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral conscious sedation is a management technique that uses an oral medication to assist the child to cope with their anxieties and cooperate while having dental treatment. The dosage is calculated by the child's weight and is not meant to put them to sleep, but rather to calm your child and make them feel more relaxed. This is a mild sedative and your child will remain conscious and can talk to us during treatment. Oral sedation is administered in our office by our trained staff 1 hour before your child's appointment time. Instructions are given upon making this appointment.

Instructions Before The Appointment

  • You will arrive 1 hour prior to your child's appointment, so that the medication can be administered.
  • Please notify us of any changes in your child's medical history or medications they are taking.
  • Your child should not have solid food for at least 6 hours prior to their appointment, but may have a small amount of clear liquids.
  • Your child may act drowsy and may become slightly excited at first.
  • The child's parent or guardian should remain in the office during the procedure.

After The Sedation Appointment

  • Your child will be drowsy and will need to be monitored closely. Children who are sedated in this manner should remain at home after the procedure.
  • If your child wants to sleep after the procedure, place them on their side in the event they vomit. It is best to give your child sips of clear liquids to prevent nausea. The first meal should be light.
  • It is not unusual for children to become slightly dehydrated in the evening and run a low grade fever. Give fluids throughout the day after the procedure to prevent this. Tylenol, Motrin or Advil for Children may be given as directed.

IV (Intravenous) Sedation

IV sedation is a level of deep sedation, where the child is asleep, but continues to breathe. This procedure is administered by an anesthesiologist in our office. The use of a premedication puts the child in a state of sleep, prior to the IV being inserted. Medication is titrated through the IV to keep the child asleep during the procedure. The use of this type of deep sedation allows the child to be asleep during the procedure, while waking up almost immediately after the procedure. The medications used have an amnesic effect, so that your child will have little or no memory of the procedure.

Instructions Prior To IV (Intravenous) Sedation

These instructions must be strictly adhered to before commencing with anesthesia.

  • Your child should not have any food or whole liquids 6 hours prior to the appointment time. For morning appointments that generally means nothing after midnight from the night before.
  • Unless instructed by Drs. Caldwell and Steinbring, medications should be taken as normal, and may only be taken with a sip of water.
  • Dress your child in loose comfortable clothing with short sleeves. Be sure your child uses the restroom before arriving at the office.
  • Be sure to let us know of any change in health, especially if your child has recently developed a fever or cold.
  • Your child must be accompanied by at least one, preferably two adults to the appointment, as your child will need attention on the ride home.

Contact Us With Questions

If you have any questions about sedation, give us a call here at Caldwell & Steinbring Dentistry For Children. You can be sure your child will be in good hands!