One reason some people give for not wearing their new denture is because their denture causes them to gag.
Before you discard your denture or dentures forever, you need to discover the real cause for your gag reflex and what your options are.
- Try to decide if your gag reflex problem is merely all psychological. Your imagination puts you into a panicky state of mind do to a foreign object in your mouth causing the fear of choking, therefore, gag reflex occurs.
- See your dentist if the upper denture EXTENDS TOO FAR BACK into the roof of your mouth, this certainly CAN and WILL cause gag reflex.
The dentist may need to trim and shorten the denture, as long as this doesn’t interfere with the suction process, which holds the denture in place.
- Use a throat spray with a numbing action. Try a couple of squirts an hour and record how long the gagging is prevented. Slowly wean yourself from the spray after a few days. You can also try dabbing a pinch of salt on the tip of your tongue to reduce the gagging reflex.
- Try acupuncture. According to a study published in the British Dental Journal, stimulation of an acupuncture point on the ear can effectively control the gag reflex, allowing patients more comfort and possibly relieving the condition with regular treatments.
- Allow your gums to heal. After having your natural teeth removed and your dentures placed it will take about six months for your swollen gums to heal. During this period you may find that your dentures are becoming loose and uncontrollable to the extent of causing a gag reflex.
The dentist will need to perform a RELINE to your dentures in order for them to conform closer to your now healed dental ridges. But until then, try using a denture adhesive you’ll be glad you did.
- Desensitize your gag reflex by:
- 1 Locate the area where your gag reflex is first triggered. The easiest way to do this is to use your toothbrush to brush your tongue. Start at the front of the tongue and keep moving back until your gag reflex starts. The point closest to the front of your tongue that causes you to the gag is the area you need to start desensitizing.
- 2 Brush your tongue at that spot where the gag reflex is triggered. Ignore the gagging and continue brushing for around 10 to 15 seconds. Stop brushing after the stated time period.
- 3 Repeat the same procedure every night for the first week. Brush your tongue in the same spot that the gag reflex is triggered. You should notice less gagging each time that you do this until eventually there is no gagging at all. If it takes more than a week, continue doing it nightly until the gagging stops.
- 4 Move your gag reflex trigger back further by extending the area that you brush. Brush 1/4 to 1/2 inch further back on your tongue. This new area is now your gag reflex trigger and where you should do your nightly brushing.
- 5 Work on that area nightly until you can brush that part of your tongue without gagging. Each time that you are able to move your toothbrush back further, you have disengaged your gag reflex on another part of your tongue.
- 6 Continue moving your toothbrush back, and brushing a new part of your tongue, until you can brush the entire visual portion of your tongue without gagging.
Ask yourself, if you’ve ever thought of yourself as having a gag reflex problem? While the majority of denture wearers do not experience gagging, the people who do, may gag for a different reason not a psychological one. It may also bring to light that the dentures were just poorly made altogether.
Before you toss your denture into the drawer forever, see your dentist. If you get no satisfaction, get a second opinion.
Tips & Warnings
- You should not hesitate to see your dentist for this or any other problem after getting your new denture or dentures. These visits should be included, but you should check to make sure.
- If desensitizing your gag reflex does not work for you, or if your gag reflex is so strong that it interferes with you eating or taking necessary medications, you might want to see a hypnotist who can help you to overcome your gag reflex.
- Some people have success controlling their gag reflex by breathing through their nose instead of their mouth.
- The gag reflex is an important safety mechanism for your body. You may not want to disengage your gag reflex entirely of you are preventing your body from protecting itself from choking.