Getting X-rays taken when you are a Gagger can be a challenge.


Some people have a sensitive gag reflex…. this is very common especially in the dental office. This can be very challenging for you and your dental professional during your dental appointment.


What causes gagging?

Gagging can be due to psychological factors, or physiological factors, or both.


Psychological factors can include fear of loss of control or vomiting and/or past traumatic experiences.


Physiological factors can include the patient feeling like they are choking or cannot breath.


What you can do?


If you are avoiding the dentist because of your gag reflex there is a light at the end of the tunnel.


Do not get upset, ask your dental professional what options they offer. Have them calmly and explain what they are going to do step by step.


For many people, there is a sense of loss of control in a dental chair, during treatment and the tendency to gag stems from that.


Here are some suggestions to make your x-ray experience a good one.


Trusting your dental professional is key. Find something that gives you a sense of control, it can make all the difference.


If you are into essential oils you can bring peppermint with you…. rub a few drops into your hands and breath in right before the sensor goes into your mouth.


We have been successful with putting table salt on the tip of the tongue or under the tongue to prevent gagging.

Have the patient to dip their moist finger into a dampen dish of salt and dab it onto the tip of their tongue or just under on the frenum attachment.


You can also try a saline rinse for a have them swish 1minute before taking x-rays.


You can have your dental professional place a little topical anesthetic on the sides of your tongue with a q-tip or spray before taking x-rays.


You can also put a little on the soft palate using a q-tip or spray, Take nthe x-ray out after the beep goes off.


We have found these technique works on 95 % of the patients we have used it on.




Other suggestions:

Try a throat spray with numbing action, like Vicks Ultra Chloraseptic Throat Spray, it can give relieve to not only a gag reflex but also help people with a persistent cough or dry throat feeling.

Dosage: 2 or 3 sprays right before treatment. Repeat if necessary.


We have had patients with a very bad gag reflex where the Dr. has suggested using a nasal decongestant before their appointments is very helpful in keeping the nasal passageways open to promote breathing through the nose and help prevent gagging.



For young children: if you cannot get the x-rays at that visit, maybe reschedule for another visit, you do not want them to have bad memories or experiences with x-rays.