I have a bad gag reflex: Can sedation dentistry help?

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Many people think that sedation dentistry is only used to help fearful patients access the care they need, but this option can benefit other patients as well. For example, patients with a strong gag reflex may find it difficult to tolerate dental treatments, but sedation can help these patients overcome that potential obstacle to obtaining care.

Sedation dentistry helps patients to relax deeply while receiving dental treatments, which can diminish a patient’s gag reflex. The medications used to sedate patients are generally anti-anxiety drugs, such as benzodiazepines.

Dental patients with a strong gag reflex who would like sedation have a number of choices for delivery methods of those medications. Your dentist may give you a prescription for an oral medication that would be taken before you arrive at the appointment. Nitrous oxide can also be used for its sedative effect, or patients can also select full intravenous sedation. In the case of the latter, a qualified specialist, such as a board certified anesthesiologist, should be involved in the patient’s care.

Dental patients with a strong gag reflex who would like sedation have a number of choices for delivery methods of those medications.

Depending on the type of sedation, your dentist will give you instructions for before and after the appointment. If you choose oral sedation, you will need to have someone bring you to and from the appointment. Patients who opt for full IV sedation will also need a responsible adult to escort them home, as the sedative’s effects will not be reversed until much later in the day.

Similarly, patients who want IV sedation will need to fast after midnight prior to the appointment. Follow your dentist’s specific instructions in this case.

Although patients may feel like they are asleep and have no recollection of any procedures afterward, the sedatives actually allow patients to remain conscious and able to respond to the dentist’s command throughout the appointment.

If a bad gag reflex has prevented you from getting necessary dental care, contact our office to talk to one of our professional staff members about your sedation options. This method can help get you back on track with routine check-ups and cleanings. Call 817-485-2111 to schedule your visit.