Stopping Gagging at the Dentist
Q: I finally saved up for a new smile with porcelain veneers, but I have a terrible gag reflex. What can be done with patients like me?
A: I had to rewrite the question for this reader. She originally wrote: “I keep gagging at my dentist.” I believe she meant: “I keep gagging at the dental office.” I can’t imagine just the sight of the dentist would make one blow a cookie. Many of our patients who have tons of veneers, implants and crown and bridge work have hyperactive gag reflexes leading to a Technicolor burp or two. There is help.
This is what should NOT be done for gaggers:
- liquid lidocaine to numb up the palate. Forget it! Patients hate the feeling of a numb throat, plus they can accidentally swallow small dental tools.
- Injecting Novocain into the tongue and palate: Painful and can cause more side effects than the actual dental work.
- Taking panoramic and CT Scans vs. regular dental X-rays which do not place any sensors or film in the mouth. : Not smart; these give more radiation and will not pick up cavities, most abscesses and other small but significant pathologies in the mouth.
- Nitrous Oxide: Laughing gas can interfere with patient’s meds and cause vomiting.
What we do to stop gagging:
- use of digital impressions; no-gagging goop. Visit “iTero Element” on line for more info on this highly accurate, fast and gag-less method of taking impressions.
- Acupressure: squeeze the groove between your pinky and ring finger knuckle with the thumb and index finger of the opposite hand during the dental procedure.
- Bring your ear buds and listen to music on your phone.
- Eat a light meal before the treatment; don’t come in on an empty stomach, but don’t eat a Ruben either.
- If the dental operatory has windows with a nice outside view, focus on one object such as a swaying palm tree during the treatment, or your favorite TV show on a screen in the room.
- Comfort resting block to keep open and allow you to relax.
- Halcion one hour before visit. (Short acting medication; better than Valium to remove anxiety.)
- Shorter procedure times: Hi Tech equipment, procedures and materials that can make a crown visit less than 30min. in the chair. (Electric drills, electronic anesthesia, super-fast setting temporary crown materials and digital no-goop impressions .)
Editor’s Note: Don’t miss our next FREE public seminar: “Teeth for Life XXIII” at the Double Tree Hotel on PGA Blvd. in Palm Beach Gardens Florida on Friday July 29th 2022 at 11:30 AM. All attendees will receive a copy of Dr. Josephs’ latest Book: “MORE Tooth Talk! What Educated Patients Need to Know About 21st Century Dental Treatment” ONLY 37 SEATS REMAIN register today at 561-832-2917 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A $25 donation will be made by Dr. Josephs on behalf of each attendee to the St. Marys’ Pediatric Oncology Department in West Palm Beach. Last the donation amount reached $2000. We look forward to seeing you and your friends to support this great cause on the 29th!