How To Survive A Dental Appointment If You Have A Gag Reflex

 In Sedation Dentistry

Even the most routine dental visit, can still stir up feelings of unease. While most appointments end up being less painful and stressful than a patient thinks, the apprehension remains. Some patients are uncomfortable having someone stick dental instruments into their mouth and throat and while they have different techniques to soothe their anxiety, people with sensitive gag reflexes can find it difficult to cope.

A gag reflex is either physical, psychological, or both. Physically speaking, if you stimulate the muscles in the back of the mouth or throat in a particular way, you can invoke a gag reflex. For those with sensitive gag reflexes, the amount of stimulation necessary is minimal. Psychologically speaking, gag reflexes can be triggered by fear. If your brain senses an impending danger of suffocation it may send a gag signal to your stomach and throat. For dental patients, a gag reflex can be activated by either physical or psychological factors.

So what is a person with a sensitive gag reflex to do at the dentist’s office? Well, here are a few suggestions.

1) Make sure your nasal passages are clear
Blow your nose or take a nasal decongestant pill to make sure that your nasal passageways are clear. You’ll want them available to breathe in and out of.

2) Preparation
Consider talking to your dentist before your appointment. Perhaps he/she will allow you to borrow a set of tools that you can desensitize your mouth and throat with.

3) Numb the area

This is likely to work in a number of cases where nothing else will. Using numbing sprays will desensitize the area so the dentist can do his/her work without causing you any discomfort. Wurzbach Parkway Family Dental also offers sedation dentistry for patients who experience anxiety when going to the dentist.

Regardless of what works for you, just remember to breathe and relax as best you can. Familiarizing yourself with the dentist will help to make you feel more comfortable with what he/she is doing. Remember, you will be fine.

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