Don't Let a Missing Tooth Hold You Back in Life

Options For Dealing With An Overactive Gag Reflex When You Go To The Dentist

by Wyatt Morgan

If you have an overactive gag reflex, also known as hypersensitive gag reflex, going to the dentist can be unbearable. Every time the dentist attempts to stick a mirror or other dental tool in your mouth, you may begin to gag, feel like you are going to vomit or even throw up. Many people who have this reflex avoid going to the dentist because it can be embarrassing to deal with. However, there are things that can be done that can help to control your overactive gag reflex when you visit the dentist. Here are a few options you may want to look into.

Place Salt on the Tongue

The gagging reflex in the brain is thought to be controlled by the hypothalamus. Taste sensors are also controlled by this part of the brain. Dipping a q-tip in salt and rubbing it into the tongue has been shown to lessen or stop the gagging reflex. It is believed that this occurs because the hypothalamus is already engage thanks to your taste sensors being activated. If you have an overactive gag reflex, try having your dentist rub some salt on your tongue throughout your treatment to control this reflex.

Take Advantage of Sedation Dentistry

You may want to consider finding a dentist who offers sedation dentistry. You may be under the impression that sedation will put you to sleep. But this isn't always the case. There are many different types of sedatives that may be used including laughing gas, pills and IV sedatives. You will be awake with some sedatives and asleep with others. A dentist will work with you to find the type of sedative that best works to control your hypersensitive gag reflex so your dental needs are met.

Desensitize Your Gag Reflex

The last option for treating your overactive gag reflex is the one that will take the longest. Some people are able to desensitize their gag reflex by engaging in activities everyday that trigger this reflex. You may try brushing your tongue for a prolonged period of time or buying a dentist tool kit and sticking one of the tools in your mouth. Doing this activity every day may help your body get used to these activities and desensitize the reflex. However, this will take time and patience, so you may wish to use salt or sedation dentistry if you need to be seen by a dentist now while you continue to work on desensitizing yourself.

If you have an overactive gag reflex, you may avoid going to the dentist. However, there are ways you can treat this condition to make your appointment less embarrassing and more bearable. Learning about these options will help you find the treatment option that is right for you.