There are many differences between general anesthesia and IV sedation that have a big impact on how the procedures are practiced in sedation dentistry. Many dental offices use the term “sleep dentistry” or “twilight sleep” when actually talking about IV sedation. This can be confusing because “sleep dentistry” is more similar to and descriptive of general anesthesia.

IV Sedation

When using IV sedation, you are breathing completely on your own. Patients experience different levels of sedation before becoming fully conscious again and also happens more rapidly than general anesthesia. IV sedation has the capability of being localized to specific areas of the body, specifically the mouth during dental treatment procedures.

Some of the main components of IV sedation include:

  • You remain conscious (awake but sleepy)
  • You will be able to understand and talk
  • You will be in a state of deep relaxation
  • You may have some memory loss

General Anesthesia

When under general anesthesia, the certified anesthesiologist manages your breathing through a tube. General anesthesia affects the entire body rather than a localized, specific area. When recovering, patients slowly come out of a sedated state.

A few of the main components of general anesthesia include:

  • You are totally unconscious (asleep)
  • You will not feel pain
  • You will have little to no memory of the procedure

There are several other forms of dental sedation in addition to IV sedation and general anesthesia including oral sedation or the use of laughing gas (nitrous oxide). The dental staff and certified anesthesiologists of Sleep Dentistry will help you determine which procedure best fits your needs and desires.

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