Dealing With The Gag Reflex At The Dentist

Dentist Blog

Gagging is an involuntary reflex when foreign objects touch the tissue on the soft palate, uvula, tongue, or other surrounding tissues. You may have developed a dental phobia if you have a sensitive gag reflex. Since preventative dental care is vital, here are some ways you can ease this issue and have a more comfortable appointment.

Ask For a Numbing Solution

You don't necessarily need a shot to have a sense of numbness in your mouth. A dental assistant can spray a numbing solution or smooth a gel on your gum tissues. Numbing gels, like benzocaine, not only make procedures less painful, they make your gag reflex less sensitive.

Bring a Distraction

If you are unsure if your dentist has music at the office, be sure to bring along a music player and headphones. Sometimes just having a distraction can lessen the severity of your gag reflex. Some dental offices now have their own headphones for music or even for movies, which can be watched on the ceiling as your dental chair is tilted backward. These little luxuries can make all the difference.

Remember to Breathe Through the Nose

Some people tend to breathe through their mouths when they have to open them widely at the dentist. This can increase the severity of your gag reflex since you may feel like people are suffocating you with metal instruments, gauze, etc. Really focus on breathing through your nose, and your oral tissues will relax.

Let the Dentist Know About Your Issue

Your dentist can schedule more time if he or she knows that you have this issue. You may be able to take more breaks during the appointment if you start to feel sick. If the dental assistants and hygienists know about this problem, they can also help to distract you. For instance, the hygienist may have you raise a leg or an arm, so you can concentrate on that action instead of what's happening in your mouth.

Consider Sedation Dentistry

There are many levels of sedation. You could stay awake and just have laughing gas to help relax you. If you don't have complications with medication and have a bad gag reflex, then you may want to consider going completely under. Just keep in mind that you'll need someone to drive you home after your appointment.

Go in with a Positive Attitude

This is easier said than done, but it's important since a good attitude can help you relax. It may help to keep in mind the benefits of all of the instruments the dentist is using. For instance, a high-volume evacuator (HVE) instrument is important so that the dentist's mirrors don't fog up, so diseases aren't spread through saliva, and so that moisture doesn't get trapped under restorations.

Although dealing with a gag reflex can be hard, there are many ways to overcome it. 


24 July 2018

Fluoride: Why I Drink Tap Water

When the bottled water craze began, I jumped on the bandwagon with everyone else who was drinking water from bottles instead of from the tap. I wasn't sure why bottled water was healthier, but I liked the taste. When I went for my next dental check-up, I had my first cavity in a while, so I had it filled and didn't think much of it. Well, I had two more during my next check-up after that, and I began trying to think of why my teeth were suddenly going bad. The only change in my habits was the switch to bottled water, so I made the switch back to tap water and my teeth began to improve. I created this blog to encourage others who have begun getting cavities suddenly to look into their changes in habits. They may find they made a change similar to mine.