If you have a sensitive gag reflex, you’re not alone. Many people have issues with their gag reflex. Sometimes the problems are psychological or physiological, sometimes people have both. Many times people with gag issues avoid the dentist all together. It is important to your oral and dental health to overcome gag problems. Most reputable dental practices offer sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry allows patients with dental phobia or sensitive gag reflexes to comfortably relax and receive a wide range of dental procedures. In an effort to help you actually overcome your gag issues, here are a few simple ways to help temper a sensitive gag reflex, especially while in the dentist’s chair.
Believe it or not, taking a deep breath can help. By focusing on your breathing, you will not only physically help yourself, but thinking about regulating your breathing through your nose can help take your mind off what’s happening in your mouth. Listening to music is a great way to relax and once again redirect your focus. A few gag reflex studies show that gagging is oftentimes worse in the mornings; next time you need dental work or a checkup try scheduling your dental appointments in the afternoon. In some cases, gag problems diminish if a patient sits up a bit straighter rather than lying back in the dental chair. In a study on overcoming gag issues, one recommendation is to fold your left thumb into the palm of your hand, making a fist around your thumb and squeezing.
Don’t let a sensitive gag reflex allow you to avoid the dentist; your oral health is too important. To overcome a problematic gag reflex, try the tips listed above and ask your dentist if they offer sedation dentistry.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Sarah Roberts, Crabapple Dental