How Sedation Dentistry Can Help A Sensitive Gag Reflex

by | Aug 25, 2017 | blog

For some people, even the most basic Thornhill general dental services pose a problem due to a sensitive gag reflex. This can mean long, frustrating periods in the dental chair just to receive checkups and X-rays. One solution for patients in this position is sedation dentistry.

What Causes the Gag Reflex?

The gag reflex can be triggered by a physical sensation, but it is often also caused by psychological reasons. In either case, it leads to difficulty breathing and swallowing. This may be uncomfortable and embarrassing, but it can even cause panic attacks to some people.

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry keeps patients awake but puts them in a relaxed state. Mild sedation is administered as nitrous oxide gas through a mask and wears off immediately. For a stronger effect, a sedative in pill or IV form is possible. With both gas and IV, your dentist is able to control the level of sedation throughout the procedure.

With sedation, patients feel calm and the gag reflex diminishes. If you receive moderate or deep sedation, it is common to remember little, if any, of your time in the dental chair. However, as you are awake throughout, you will be able to respond to your dentist’s instructions.

Other Ways to Control the Gag Reflex

You can also train yourself to control your gag reflex to reduce your need for sedation dentistry over time. Practice breathing through your nose while you touch your palate with your toothbrush. If you feel the need to gag, just focus on your breathing. Repeat this process often, each time trying to hold the toothbrush in place for a few more seconds.

You should also talk to the staff at your dental clinic. They will likely have more suggestions about how to cope with a sensitive gag reflex.

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