Do you have a sensitive gag reflex? Dental visits can be difficult for those prone to gagging when instruments brush the back of their mouth or tongue. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can make your dental treatments take longer and increase the risk of complications during treatment. There are ways you can control this reaction to improve your experience during your dental visits.
What Causes Gag Reflex?
The gag reflex or response is a natural reaction when certain areas of the mouth, tongue or throat are touched. It is designed to prevent choking, tightening the muscles at the top of the throat to keep out larger items. However, it can make brushing your teeth, dental visits and other activities difficult if the response is too severe.
Desensitizing Gag Response
One of the ways to reduce severe gag reflex is to desensitize the response areas. The idea is to train your muscles not to tighten whenever something brushes the back of the mouth. One way to do this is by using your toothbrush. Once a day, use the back of the toothbrush head and gently move it back on your tongue until you hit a sensitive area. Try moving the toothbrush back and forth lightly on this area for about 15 seconds once a day – eventually, you should find it less sensitive as you get used to the sensation.
Many people can learn how to relax and use their breathing to control severe gag responses. Concentrating on your breathing when brushing your teeth or having a dental exam can help direct your focus and reduce your hypersensitivity.
One technique that has helped many people with a sensitive gag reflex is temporal tapping. To perform this, use your finger to tap in front of the ear near the temple. Continue tapping down the front of the ear and around to the back. This is simple to do, and many people get relief using this method.
If other techniques fail, you can choose to have nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, during dental visits. Your oral health is important and dental cleanings, checkups and treatments are needed to protect your teeth and gums. Ask Dr. Gutierrez about using laughing gas to help you relax during your dental treatments.
Do not let a severe gag response stop you from getting the dental care you need. Talk to our dental team at Majestic Smile Studio in Yorba Linda, CA, about using sedation dentistry or other techniques to reduce your gag reflex.
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17300 Yorba Linda Blvd Suite B
Yorba Linda, CA 92886
Phone: (714) 996-2255
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