How to Fight Your Gag Reflex at the Dentist

For some people, going to the dentist means one thing: fighting with their gag reflex. Although some people don’t give the idea of gagging at the dentist a second thought, for others, a sensitive gag reflex can make it difficult to get dental care and may cause anxiety during dental appointments. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a victim to your gag reflex. There are things you can do to make getting dental care more comfortable and to avoid gagging during treatment. Start by talking to your dentist. These tips will also help.

 

Bring a Distraction

Your gag reflex is part physiological response and part psychological trigger. If you’ve experienced problems with gagging in the past, your anxiety about it happening again makes you more likely to gag. Using a distraction can prevent you from concentrating on gagging so you’re less likely to experience it. Holding a stress ball to squeeze during your appointment can help, as can bringing headphones and listening to music. Before your appointment, you can even practice self-hypnosis techniques so you can calm yourself down and avoid gagging.

 

Don’t Swallow Saliva

It’s normal to worry about saliva building up in your mouth or spilling out when you’re getting dental care. Many patients try to swallow their saliva during dental appointments to avoid embarrassment, but doing so is likely to make you gag. Your dentist can use a suction wand to clear out saliva from your mouth periodically when it gets in the way, so you don’t have to worry about it when you’re getting care.

 

Resist Mouth Breathing

When your mouth is open, it’s natural to default to breathing through it, but doing so will only make you more likely to gag. Breathe through your nose instead to reduce your gag reflex. Concentrating on breathing through your nose may also help to distract you from gagging.

 

The team at University Associates in Dentistry is committed to making every patient comfortable during treatment, whether he or she comes in for a general dentistry check-up or extensive cosmetic dentistry care in Chicago. Schedule your dental consultation today by calling (312) 704-5511.

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