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How to Control Your Gag Reflex at the Dentist
Jul 5, 2023

dentist examining girl's teeth Dental Care Center

People dread a visit to the dentist for a variety of reasons. Some dread the pain and discomfort while others might worry about the possibility of needing an expensive procedure. Others are faced with an inevitable situation that can combine discomfort and embarrassment — their gag reflex.

A person’s gag reflex is usually triggered by a large object in the back of the throat, but some people are more sensitive than others, and in some cases, the psychological impact of a dental visit can trigger your reflex. If you’re worried about your gag reflex affecting your next visit to the dentist, here are a few ways to manage it.

Just Breathe

Breathing through your nose during your appointment can make a significant difference. Focusing on this breathing technique can also be a viable distraction.

Try Medication

Topical oral medications with numbing action can reduce the sensations that cause you to gag. These medicines work by numbing the soft palate so that you can’t tell if your hygienist is working near the back of your throat.

Try Remedies

There is a trick of the trade involving table salt. Many hygienists have had their patients dab salt onto the tip of their tongue or on the back and have found it to prevent gag reflexes.

Distract Yourself

Some dentists’ offices now have televisions above the chairs for patients to watch during their procedures. If this is not an option at your dentist, try listening to music of your own. You could even try lifting a leg up to concentrate on that rather than your gag reflex.

Don’t Worry!

Rest assured, you are not the only patient your dentist has ever encountered with a sensitive gag reflex. Your dental hygienist likely knows ways to lessen the potential of this, so voice your concerns at the beginning of your appointment so they can be aware.

If you have a sensitive gag reflex, don’t let that stop you from receiving necessary dental care. At The Dental Care Center, we strive to make you feel comfortable during your visit. Make your appointment today.