General Dental Informtion

How to Prevent Nausea in Dentistry?

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There is no issue with feeling nauseous from time to time. Some feel nausea just by visiting a dentistry clinic. Undoubtedly, stress is one of the main causes of this feeling. In other scenarios, you may feel nausea during dentistry procedures, called the gag reflex. This article from Dr. Jamilian’s website, will discuss nausea in dental patients and recommend ways to cope with it.

What is Dentistry Nausea or Gag Reflex?

To begin with, the majority of people have felt this following example. An external item such as of dentistry instrument comes into contact with your throat through your mouth. In most cases, it makes you feel nauseous or vomit. That is called pharyngeal spasm or gag reflex and is completely involuntary. Furthermore, when the back of the tongue, especially somewhere around the tonsils and uvula, is touched, the nerve located in this area sends a signal to the brain. Leading to the contraction of throat muscles and subsequently nausea. It occurs more when you are taking dentistry services because the contact between dentistry instruments and this area is unavoidable.

woman having nausea in dentist office
woman having nausea in dentist office

Useful Ways to Prevent Nausea in Dentistry

If you are one of those people who feel nausea while taking dentistry services, to begin with, let me tell you that there is nothing to worry about. This reflection is completely normal and any orthodontist and dentist have faced it many times during their career. The following instructions are useful to reduce nausea feeling during both dentistry examinations and treatment:

To control gag reflex via correct breathing

If you used to breathe via your mouth, it is better to breathe via your nose to be able to control your nausea feeling. To do so, you can practice breathing through the nose before going to the dentistry clinic. To ease your breathing, you can use anti-congestive drugs before starting your treatment procedure; however, you need to consult your dentist before doing that.

To control stress to prevent gag reflex

In certain cases, especially during dental surgeries, people get stressed considerably. Both children and adults may experience gag reflexes while receiving orthodontic services. The simplest way  to solve this problem is nothing but to control the dentistry stress. For instance, it is recommended to get enough rest before going to the dentistry clinic and to avoid stress as much as possible. Listening to light music or walking in the fresh air also helps you to be calm.

Avoiding acidic foods to reduce gag reflex

If you consume sour and acidic foods before going to the dentistry clinic, the possibility of nausea in you will be increased. The back of your tongue and your trachea will react and make you vomit upon touching the dentistry instruments and tools. Some acidic foods like pickles, which have an unpleasant odor, will intensify your stomach acidity, which in turn will double the potential of the gag reflex.

Using anti-nausea pills

Another way to prevent nausea while taking dentistry services is taking anti-nausea medicines. Before the consumption of any anti-nausea medicine, contact your dentist prior for their professional idea.

Brushing and gargling salt water to prevent gagging

Following oral and dental hygiene instructions and brushing before going to the dentistry clinic also decreases the chance of gag reflex. Also, you can gargle salt water to control this involuntary reflex. The saltwater solution is useful for alleviating toothache, and reducing inflammation and infection of gum to prevent gagging and vomiting during dentistry treatments.

picture of toothpaste and glass of salt water with toothbrush
Toothpaste and glass of salt water with toothbrus

How can dentists control the gag reflex in their patients?

To put it in a simple manner, both patients and dentists can control nausea to a certain level. Below  are a series of works which dentists can do:

Using sedition

In previous years, sedition and sedative medicines were only used for endoscopy and stressful treatment. But, in today’s world, they may be used for dentistry treatments. Sedition or pediatric anesthesia for dentistry will make patients doze during the treatment and reduce their stress as much as possible.

Using rubber dam to prevent gagging during dentistry treatment

Rubber dam acts as a dam in the mouth that prevents contact between the dentistry tools and the patient’s throat. While using rubber dams, dentists can only see the decayed tooth let alone other parts of the mouth that cannot be seen. As a result, a patient would feel nausea in this case.

rubber dam shown on a maket of human faceh
rubber dam shown on a maket of human faceh

Using an anesthetic spray

Since the gag reflex is prevalent in dentistry patients, some dentists would use local anesthetic sprays to minimize the gag reflex and unpleasant feelings. These sprays can anesthetize parts of the throat and mouth. This method is used to do surgery on wisdom teeth.
Finally, we recommend you inform your dentist about all of your allergies to the medical tools and treatments when you visit a dentist for doing jaw surgeries or other medical services. In this way, your treatment will be correct and stress-free.

Dr Abdolreza Jamilian Orthodontist

About Dr Abdolreza Jamilian Orthodontist

Dr. Jamilian, an orthodontist, has a specialized fellowship in orthodontic surgery and maxillofacial abnormalities and is a professor in the orthodontics department of the Dentistry School of the Islamic Azad University. He is member of Iranian and European Board of Orthodontics (EBO) and is a member of the Iranian, American and European Orthodontists Association.

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