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Conquer Your Gag Reflex

Do you have a sensitive gag reflex? Do you find it difficult to undergo dental treatment, much less enjoy it?

Salt shaker

A sprinkle of salt on the tip of the tongue can make things like X-rays more bearable.

Some people have such a severe gag reflex that even having a dentist touch part of their lips or front teeth can trigger the gagging. Although there are very good reasons why some people are more sensitive than others, there are a few things that may help you get through your next dental visit.

1. Bring a Small Packet of Salt

One of the latest crazes to hit dental offices is the use of salt for patients that gag. Just a sprinkle of salt on the tip of the tongue can make things like X-rays more bearable. Keep a few pouches in your pocket just in case.

2. Say “Cheese”

Smiling uses muscles around the mouth and throat that suppress gagging and nausea. Even though you may not feel like it, the bigger you smile, the more effective it is. Don’t feel silly – it might just work!

3. Give Us a Leg Up

Sometimes a good distraction is all that you need. If you lay back in the chair during an exam, or when we’re trying to reach that back molar, hold your foot up slightly in the air. After several seconds, switch legs. This method doesn’t work as long, but it’s ideal for very short moments when you feel a gag coming on.

4. Numbing Rinses

Some types of numbing agents are available in rinse form. Before your procedure you can rinse and gargle with these for several seconds, partially numbing the soft tissues inside of your mouth.

5. Tune It Out

Another distraction that works well is listening to music. Bring your phone loaded with a favorite playlist along with a set of headphones. Listening to the beats can help you forget about everything else going on during your appointment.

We’re committed to helping you get the care you need, regardless of what steps it takes. Rather than putting your care off, please bring your concerns to our attention so that we know how to help you better.

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