The Dreaded Gag Reflex
A dental appointment with a patient who gags can be a challenge for both the patient and the dentist. The pharyngeal reflex or gag reflex is a reflex contraction often caused by touching the roof of the mouth, the back of the tongue, the area around the tonsils, or the back of the throat. The reflex is a physiologic response intended to prevent something from entering the throat except as part of normal swallowing and therefore helps prevent choking.
For patients with this condition, nearly everything about dentistry is harder. A strong gag reflex can present hurdles to both the patient and dentist. Sometimes, even the normally straightforward task of brushing ...