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Is Twilight Sleep The Same As General Anesthesia?

Twilight sleep dentistry might sound interesting, but it's not very clear simply from the name what exactly it means. Many people mistake twilight sleep dentistry for general anesthesia when in actuality, the two are different. If you're curious about this form of dentistry and whether it can be useful to you, keep reading.

What Twilight Sleep Dentistry Is 

Twilight sleep dentistry, which is also known as sedation dentistry, is a subset of skills that specially-trained dentists have. Twilight sleep is a form of anesthesia that puts the patient into a different state of mind. It's described as twilight sleep because most people remain conscious, but they also sort of drift on the edge of falling asleep, much like how you feel when you're first dozing off or waking up for the day.

During twilight sleep dentistry, you should expect to be able to remain aware of your surroundings and to retain the ability to communicate with your dentist. This way, if you have any questions or concerns during your procedure, you can still talk readily.

What it Isn't

Twilight sleep dentistry isn't the same thing as general anesthesia. General anesthesia is typically used for people who need in-depth dental work, like dental surgery or a tooth extraction.

With general anesthesia, you are put completely into a state of unconsciousness. You won't feel anything, nor remember anything from when you were being worked on. This is a total difference from twilight sleep dentistry, which is primarily there to put you in a state of relaxation but not to put you to sleep.

What Sedation Dentistry Is Good For

Sedation dentistry is great for anyone who harbors anxiety about seeing a dentist. It's typically recommended for people who have dental anxiety or those who normally take anti-anxiety medications but can't on the day of their dental appointment due to their need to drive home.

Sedation dentistry is great if you want the stress relief but need to be able to return to your regular activities at the end of the day. Twilight sleep typically wears off completely by the time you're ready to leave, although your dentist will let you know if you should stay off the road for the time being.

If the idea of seeing a dentist for even a simple cleaning leaves you fraught with anxiety, it's a good idea to look for a specialist that offers sedation or twilight sleep dentistry. Make an appointment to discuss your anxiety and fears before you have your actual dental procedure to get more information on this form of sedation and what you can expect from it personally.