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Does The Dentist Make You Gag? Elk Grove, CA
Dental Exams Elk Grove, CA

Does The Dentist Make You Gag?

Does your sensitive gag reflex keep you from going to the dentist? You are not alone. Nearly 15% of dental patients suffer from hypersensitive gag reflex, or HGR. This uncontrollable reaction in the back of your throat can make certain procedures at the dentist very uncomfortable. To make matters worse, your anxiety over your gag reflex can actually cause you to be even more sensitive and reactive. Should you avoid the dentist altogether? Absolutely not. You’ll be pleased to know that there are several ways that you can combat a hypersensitive gag reflex and receive the quality dental care you need and deserve.

Everyone Has a Gag Reflex

The gag reflex, or laryngeal spasm, is an uncontrolled contraction of the back of the throat that occurs when an object touches the roof of your mouth, the back of your tongue, the area around your tonsils or the back of your throat. It’s our body’s built-in safety system to prevent choking. In fact, infants have a highly sensitive gag reflex because their digestive system can’t process solid foods. As they grow older, the gag reflex adjusts to their body’s ability to handle bigger chunks of food. Unfortunately, some adults have a gag reflex that is more sensitive or reactive than others. This doesn’t mean they can’t swallow solid foods, but it can mean that an impression or cleaning at the dental office is difficult to endure without gagging.

How to Suppress Your Gag Reflex at the Dentist

When it comes to dental care and your hypersensitive gag reflex, communication is important. Always disclose your concern about gagging to your dentist. There are a number of things we can do to help you stay comfortable in the dental chair, including the following:

  • Sedation dentistry (laughing gas)
  • Numbing products
  • Distraction/diversion techniques
  • Soothing amenities to help your body relax

Believe it or not, there are also things you can do on your own to override your brain’s gagging reflex when you’re sitting in the chair. While it may sound silly and not work for everyone, many patients can suppress their gag reflex by simply making a fist with their left hand and squeezing their thumb to apply pressure to the palm. Other patients find relief by practicing deep breathing during dental treatments.

At Laguna West Dental, we specialize in treating patients who have a hypersensitive gag reflex. We do not want this condition to keep you away from our dental office. Please let us know if you are prone to gagging, and we can implement methods to help.

Posted on behalf of Laguna West Dental Care in Elk Grove

9098 Laguna Main St Ste 8
Elk Grove, CA 95758

Phone: (916) 683-7300

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Our Patient Reviews

Laguna West Dental Care


Based on 19 reviews

Suzanne B.

As I was walking to my car after my appointment I thought, I sure am happy I come here. I get warm friendly service and gentle, thorough care throughout my visit. Dr. Chan and his staff are the best.

Jennifer B.

We've been so very happy with Dr. You and his staff since we moved to Sacramento in 1985! We've followed him to the current location in Laguna...he and his staff take such good care of all our dental needs. I have no hesitation in recommending their services!

Stephanie O.

In my 65 years on the planet, and hundreds of hours in former dentists' offices, Dr. You and his staff are by far the best I've ever encountered. My very recent crown replacement was 100 percent pain free! All phases of treatment, from removal of the old crown, mold taking and making, to the permanent placement with my brand new well-matched molar, was seamless. I respect and applaud Laguna West Dental Care for taking such talented care of me.

Janet S.

Since retiring, I drive and hour and a half each way to continue to see Dr. You and his entire staff ... and I hate to drive. No better dentist and hygenists in Sacramento and I have tried others over the years. Thank you for a great experience each and every time Laguna West!

Norman H.

In my 50+ years, I've probably had 7 to 8 dentists and have had my share of bad experiences that made me fearful of going to the dentist. But, after switching to Dr. Chan in 1991, I really couldn't be happier and don't dread dental appointments anymore. Dr. Chan is gentle and exceptionally good at giving shots that I can barely feel. He even calls me in the evening after every procedure to make sure I'm doing okay. The staff is friendly and caring and the facilities are nice. Highly recommended.

Carol D.

We've been patients of Dr. You and Dr. Chan since my son was in kindergarten - now a County employee. Everyone on the staff is great. I had one bad experience with a dentist referred by my insurance co. - I'd NEVER see a dentist again without a personal referral. Consider this mine to you -- Laguna West is an excellent choice!