I have not been to the dentist in two years. Every time I go, I gag so bad that the dentist tells me to get out of here. There was this time when I got kicked out of the dentist because they thought I was going to beat them up because I was forming a fist during the appointment. Is there a way to somehow suppress or numb my gagging? But yeah, my gagging is SO BAD that my mouth won’t allow a mouth mirror to enter it. I want to cooperate to get out of there ASAP but my gagging gets in the way. Any suggestions?
Thanks, Peter in Illinois
As dental professionals patients gag often, however there are some that have a severe gag reflex so your not alone. Research suggest, that about one out of every five patients gag during a routine dental exam or while dental work is being completed. Many people have a fear of the dentist or get nervous prior to an appointment and this brings on anxiety. We are not sure if you experience anxiety or not but it sounds like you would truly like to get your dental work finished, however having anxiety prior and during treatment makes ones gag reflex a lot worse.
As by now, your dentist knows of your gagging problem and should be willing to work with you. If not, find one who will. If you choose to find another dentist, it is important to let him or her know of your gagging problem. There are several ways to suppress ones gagging reflex. One way to prevent gagging is to have a topical numbing agent, like hurricane spray, dispensed in the mouth. This will numb the tissues and help suppress gagging. Another option is to put table salt in your mouth and swallow it. Just a dash of salt actually prevents gagging well. A rubber dam can used during restorative dental treatment. This device is placed over the tooth that is getting worked on to prevent debris and water from reaching the back of the throat. Some patients even benefit from nitrous oxide, which is laughing gas. This actually helps reduce anxiety and relaxes one, however you are still aware of what is happening around you. This adds a little more expense to your treatment, however well worth it and significantly reduces most gagging in those who suffer from it.
When gagging is severe it may be difficult at times for even a highly experienced dentist to treat a patient. Most of these types of patients though suffer from a dental phobia as well. Valium is a sedation dentistry technique where the dentist issues the prescription drug to help sedate the patient and make them feel relaxed and comfortable. As a last resort, one can be put to sleep by general anesthesia. Most dentist are not qualified to perform this, however those trained in this field have gone into dental offices and worked with the dentist in sedating patients. This usually is not covered under dental insurance and can cost several hundred dollars.We recommend you consult with your dentist regarding your options. Since gagging is a problem for you we also advise you to keep your dental appointments short and schedule them in the mornings. Best of luck.
This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.