From x-rays and impressions to having a routine tooth cleaning, a severe gag reflex can present an obstacle when going to the dentist.
Also called the pharyngeal reflex, the gag reflex is part of your body’s natural defense and is triggered when your body wants to protect itself from swallowing something foreign. However, this natural response can be problematic if it is overly sensitive.
For some people, their gag reflex may be easily triggered when visiting the dentist or doctor for a routine checkup or procedure. For others, their gag reflex may be so sensitive that they can’t even swallow a pill. If you are in this situation, don’t worry, there are several methods you can try to prevent your gag reflex from interfering with your oral and physical health.
Why Do Some People Have Severe Gag Reflex?
Gagging is a normal response that nearly half of the patients who visit the dentist say they’ve experienced. For people with a healthy gag reflex, they can control gagging, but for others, they may have little or no control over it.
There doesn’t seem to be a particular cause of severe or hyperactive gag reflex. It may be an aversion to certain textures that induces an unrelenting urge to gag. Anything that brushes up against the soft palate in the mouth results in gagging. Some people feel this when they experience anxiety, have acid reflux or postnasal drip.
For patients with an overly sensitive gag reflex, nearly everything about going to the dentist is difficult. From x-rays and impressions to having a routine tooth cleaning, a severe gag reflex can present an obstacle when going to the dentist.
Controlling a Sensitive Gag Reflex
Regardless of if your gag reflex is the effect of physiological or psychological factors, several techniques can help control a sensitive gag reflex. Some of these include:
- Concentrate on something else
- Breathe through your nose
- Refrain from swallowing your saliva
- Distract yourself
- Employ sedation or sleep dentistry
How to Get Dental Treatment
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.
Call Us Today
The Only Board Certified Dental Anesthesiologists in the State of Missouri, including the St. Louis Metro Area.