Gag Reflex Dentist
Overcoming Your Gag Reflex
There is no doubt that a large percentage of people are a bit anxious before getting into the dentist’s chair. For those patients who have strong gag reflexes, just the thought of being in the dentist’s chair is enough to trigger one.
Of course, the worst possible solution is to avoid going to the dentist at all. Delaying dental treatment because of a strong gag reflex is a common reason that many people face the risk of serious health concerns.
Whether you have a minor or severe gag reflex in St. Louis, we are here to work with you in making your dental visits more comfortable.
How Is The Gag Reflex Triggered?
The best way to reduce the effects of your gag reflex is to have an understanding as to what triggers it. There has been a long debate in the scientific community as to whether physical or psychological factors play a bigger part in producing a gag reflex.
The truth is, it is a combination of both of those things.
The gag reflex, which is otherwise known as the pharyngeal reflex, is one of the body’s many defense mechanisms. In particular, this defense mechanism is made to keep objects from getting in your throat and blocking your airway, which could in turn cause choking.
The severity of the gag reflex can differ from person to person, as there are many people who barely have gag reflexes at all. With that said, it is a fairly common physiological factor for people who have overactive gag reflexes.
As to why people have active gag reflexes in the dentist’s chair, much of it can be tributed to the added stress and anxiety of being in that environment.
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Lessening Your Gag Reflex
Regardless of if your gag reflex is the effect of physiological or psychological factors, there are a few things that you can do to lessen your gag reflex while you are at the dentist.
- Breathe Through Your Nose
When your mouth is propped open, it can seem that mouth breathing becomes the default. However, breathing through your mouth is one of the most common triggers of the gag reflex. We recommend turning your attention towards your nose and breathing with it rather than your mouth.
- Refrain From Swallowing Your Saliva
Let’s face it, the idea of drooling while sitting in the dentist’s chair is an idea that we could do without. However, one of the main reasons why people tend to gag while in the chair is that they attempt to swallow their saliva. Instead, saliva will be suctioned out effortlessly during your procedure.
- Distract Yourself
Sometimes we find that all patients need to keep from gagging is a good distraction. The type of distraction that a person needs is completely up to them. Some enjoy watching a movie or listening to music while others enjoy having a stress ball to squeeze. Others enjoy self-hypnosis techniques to help get them in the right frame of mind.
- Employing Sedation
Our specialty here at The Dental Anesthesia Center is sedation and sleep dentistry. For some patients who have severe gag reflexes, some form of sedation might be necessary so that you can have the best dental experience. There are different levels of sedation that we are able to administer, so make sure to speak with your dentist before your appointment to see if this type of procedure is right for you.
We’re Here To Keep You Comfortable
Here at The Dental Anesthesia Center, we want to make sure that your visit to the dentist is comfortable and painless. This is why we offer sedation dentistry for patients who have severe and sensitive gag reflex in the St. Louis area.
Regular dental visits are necessary to maintain proper oral health and not visiting the dentist because of a severe gag reflex is not the solution.
For patients with gag reflex in St. Louis, Make sure to give us a call at (314) 862-7844 to schedule an appointment! We look forward to seeing you!
They are great with nervous kids AND parents.
Kati Pape Ross
Dr. Thoms was very friendly
My son is 3, autistic non-verbal and has oral sensory issues. They were absolutely amazing with him and I would recommend them for anyone with a child with special needs. Dr. Thoms was very friendly and explained everything to us before during and after his procedure. Couldn’t have asked for a better experience!! Thank you!!
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This office was fantastic!
Everyone is so compassionate
By far the best place to go for children with special needs... my son is 3.5 and he is nonverbal and autistic...everyone is so compassionate and understanding and helpful. I will never take him anywhere else
Dr. Daugherty is fantastic!