For some Hendricks County residents, going to the dentist can be an unpleasant or uncomfortable experience, especially if they suffer from an active gag reflex. However, avoiding regular dental visits is not the solution if you’re afraid you may gag during dental procedures.
Your gag reflex (also known as pharyngeal reflex or laryngeal spasm) is your body’s way of protecting you from choking on foreign objects. When you gag, the muscles in your throat tighten uncontrollably, when an object touches the roof of your mouth, the back of your tongue or throat, or the area around your tonsils, in order to keep an object from entering your airway.
If you suffer from a sensitive gag reflex, it’s important to talk with Dr. Jon Erickson and the staff at Danville Family Dentistry about your concerns. They can help you overcome any fears you may have, and work with you to figure out what procedures have triggered your gag reflex in the past. Together, you can determine if other solutions might work better.
Some things that have helped other Hendricks County patients, who have a strong gag reflex, include:

  • Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breaths through your nose, listening to music, meditation or even hypnosis.
  • Humming. If the bitewings placed in your mouth during x-rays cause you to gag, try humming. You can’t hum and gag at the same time.
  • Scheduling dental appointments in the afternoon. Some people find their gag reflex is worse in the morning.
  • Sitting up straighter. Salvia, cleaning pastes and impression materials won’t gather in the back of your throat as badly.
  • Making a fist and squeezing it tightly.
  • Using a nasal decongestant or snore relief spray before appointments to keep your nasal passageways open, so you can breathe better through your nose.
  • Applying a dab of salt onto the tip of your tongue.
  • Numbing your soft palate (located far back in the roof of your mouth).
  • Administering nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or IV sedation.

Remember, at Danville Family Dentistry, your comfort is our top priority. So, let us know when you visit our Hendricks County office if you suffer from a sensitive gag reflex. We’ll do everything we can to help your visit go smoothly. After all, we don’t want your gag reflex to keep you from having a healthy smile.