What Your Dental Professional Can Do
We recommend having a conversation with your dental professional before getting dental impressions made. In discussing your gag reflex, your dentist or dental hygienist should tell you about the standard practices they take to mitigate its chances of happening. They include the following:
- Talk to you. Not all dental professionals are great conversationalists. Their work requires a lot of focus, so we can't blame them! But if yours enjoys chatting, ask them to talk to you while you have the tray in your mouth. The distraction of a good story might help reduce the chance of gagging.
- Sit you up. If you're seated in an upright position and tilt your head forward, the impression material will ooze forward rather than toward your throat. This should reduce the chance of triggering your gag reflex while the impression is being made, so ask your dental professional to make sure your seat is set up straight.
- Administer nitrous oxide. According to a small study in the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology, nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, helps stop or reduce the gag reflex.
A dental impression may be an essential part of a treatment to keep your teeth healthy and strong. If your gag reflex has been an issue for you in the past, it's understandable to worry about it kicking in during a dental impression procedure. But communication and preparation are key!
You can manage your fear of gagging by having a conversation with your dental professional and making sure you both incorporate the solutions listed above. You can then be confident that you're doing everything you can to ensure you won't experience gagging while getting your dental impressions and can finish out this procedure with confidence and ease.