The amount of fear from a dental visit may be higher among people that have regular gagging problems.
A paper titled “Gagging and Its Associations with Dental Care—Related Fear, Fear of Pain, and Beliefs About Treatment” talks about a correlation between gagging issues that may also cause negative beliefs about dentists and dental treatment.
The authors proposed that it’s important for dentists to evaluate their patients’ chances of gagging and at the same time looking for a correlation about their fears and anxieties. For mild gagging a dentists may suggest to their patients to breath slowly through their nose. Other dentists may encourage their patients to lift their legs or wiggle their toes or something that has as a way of distracting the patient. For others who’s gagging reflex is more moderate or severe, using some form of sedation like Nitrous Oxide or a tablet relaxant medication can offer a huge decrease in the gagging reflex. Others may require a nurse anesthesiologist to sedate the patient while dentistry is being preformed, this option has been a wonderful adjunct to our practice to help our patients that have a gagging reflex and also patients who have some forms of dental anxiety or dental fears.
If you are concerned about your gagging reflex getting more as you age or if you are having a correlation between gagging and dental anxiety please ask about the options to help make your dental visit more enjoyable. I have many patients who state that having some form of sedation is the answer to their struggles over decades and they now don’t fear coming to the dentist.