Dentures are designed to be an alternative to living with weak or deteriorated teeth. But the devices can come with side effects, including an irritating gagging reflex upon initial use. Depending on the severity of your gag response, different methods can be used to reduce this reflex.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Throat spray
Breathe out of your nose. While wearing partial dentures, try inhaling and exhaling out of your nose and/or concentrating on something besides the new device, such as reading or watching television.
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.
Speak to a psychologist. According to the book "Oral Psychophysiology," gagging with dentures is often caused by an anxiety disorder and is likely triggered by a fear of choking. A mental health professional can provide relaxation techniques or possible hypnosis.
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.
Give it time. Like other symptoms that come with dentures, your gagging will likely subside as you become used to the device. If it doesn't, consult your doctor about the possible construction of a denture model without a palate. Frequently, it's the denture palate that causes discomfort and leads to the bothersome reflex.
Tips and warnings
- If you already have an abnormal gagging reflex, speak to your doctor about the issue before you undergo denture placement.
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