Gagging while receiving dental treatment is not a pleasant experience. Some people have a very strong gag reflex, causing this to become a regular occurrence while in the dental chair. Sometimes the reflex is physiological, while other times it is psychological (a memory of a prior bad experience or a panic that it may become difficult to breathe). Some people’s gag reflex is so strong that it becomes difficult to even brush or floss. While it is impossible to completely eliminate a gag reflex, there are measures you or your dentist can take in order to prevent it from occurring.
1. Consciously remind yourself to breathe through your nose.
2. To make breathing through the nose easier, take a nasal decongestant before your dental appointment.
3. Use of an over-the-counter numbing throat spray an hour before a dental appointment.
4. For a strong gag reflex, ask for nitrous oxide or a sedation appointment.
5. Use of Nucalm natural sedation.
6. Use of an x-ray machine without bite wings if possible (All Smiles Care is equipped with this option! Talk with your hygienist to see if this is a possibility for you.)
7. Most importantly, be open with your dentist and hygienist. Gag reflex is a very common problem in the dental chair, and there are many ways to work around it, such as different placement of instruments, chair adjustments, frequent breaks in treatment, etc.
Have you tried anything to overcome a gag reflex?