Skip to main content
(770) 796-7081 Contact Us
Sensitive Gag Reflex? Try This Marietta, GA

Sensitive Gag Reflex? Try This

If you have a sensitive gag reflex, going to the dentist can be especially intimidating. Most everyone has a gag reflex; it is natural reaction when something comes in contact with the soft palate at the back of your mouth. Your body responds with a “gag” when the glossopharyngeal nerve fibers (located behind the nasal cavity) are irritated by an object. The brain signals the body to react in an effort to regurgitate the object and prevent choking.

Some people, however, have a pharyngeal reflex that is more sensitive than others. They may gag as a physiological or psychological response when an object is merely introduced into the mouth. This becomes problematic in the dental chair.

Rest assured that just because you have a sensitive gag reflex, doesn’t mean you can’t receive traditional dental care. There are many ways to alleviate your gag response and ensure you have a positive and comfortable dental experience.

Here are a few ways to handle a sensitive gag reflex at the dentist:

  • Breathe through your nose. Trying to relax and focus on breathing through your nose can take the mind away from the mouth and reduce the likelihood of a psychological gag reflex.
  • Take a nasal decongestant or use a throat spray. By opening up the nasal passages, you are less likely to feel obstructed when trying to breathe through you mouth. Throat sprays can also be used to numb the back of your throat so that your reflex nerves are less sensitive.
  • Stay distracted. Some patients opt to listen to music or watch TV while we perform their dental treatments. This keeps them focused on other things besides what is going on in their mouth.
  • Schedule your appointment in the afternoon. Studies suggest that your gag reflex is often stronger in the morning hours.
  • Watch your posture. Some patients feel that sitting up straighter can help them control their gag reflex better. We can always adjust your dental chair to your comfort level.
  • Try folding your left thumb into the palm of your hand, then making a fist and squeezing your left thumb. A recent study proves this helps with gag reflex!
  • Ask for sedation dentistry! If your gag reflex is just too sensitive to be remedied with the above tactics, don’t be afraid to request sedation dentistry. Countless patients opt for nitrous oxide or oral conscious sedation to help them get through their dental visit.

If the thought of a dental probe on your tongue makes you want to throw up (literally), we want to know. A sensitive gag reflex is quite common in both children and adults and it is nothing to be ashamed about. We are equipped to create a comfortable dental visit for you despite your struggles with gagging.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV, Gilreath Family Dentistry

Schedule an Appointment

We’d love to have you as part of our practice family.
Please call us at (770) 796-7081.

Our Client Reviews
Gilreath Family Dentistry

5.0 / 5.0

Based on 307 reviews


Dr. Gilreath is incredible with my kids. They love going to the dentist now! And this busy mom loves the warm neck wraps, the soft music and enjoying a latte while I relax!

Kenneth H.

Was lucky enough to find these guys when I got insurance that my old dentist did not take. Very professional and friendly staff! Office has the latest greatest technology as well. If you're looking for a new dentist, search no further!

Susie L.

Very personable and friendly, they took the time to go over my complex dental history and did not pressure me into anything. They gave their recommendations and priced out any options I had. Great group!

Camille Y.

Dr. Gilreath and his staff are top notch. I received the best cleaning I've ever had while watching my favorite show. The Doctor and his staff were all very polite, friendly, and courteous. They explained everything to me clearly and presented me with options in a gentle way that didn't make me feel pressured at all. It's obvious they really care about the wellbeing of their patients. The facility and equipment is really nice as well. I will definitely be back!

Juan R.

Always willing to work around my kids and my schedules. Today I had a long appointment. They started on time and always made sure I was comfortable and that the pain was managed so the procedure could’ve been completed without issues. Very courteous and professional staff.

Lucia B.

Awesome dental practice! The staff is friendly and efficient. Dr. Gilreath is thorough and versed in the latest technology and procedures. I love that he can make crowns in the office while you wait (so no walking around with a temporary crown for days or weeks). I would strongly recommend this dental practice!

Matthew W.

I've been going here for about a little over a year now. I've had a few cleanings, a filling, and started Invisiline so far. Hands down, the best run dental office I've ever been to. In the past at other dental offices I often had to wait 30 or more minutes beyond my appointment time before being seen. At Dr. Gilreath's office I've been seen on time every time. They seem to have systems in place to make every part of your visit run smoothly. From how they took x-rays, to billing and appointments, to the work done by the hygienist/dentist, everything seems to run like a well oiled machine. On top of that all the staff are all friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. The office space itself is also quite nice. Very clean, well maintained, and seems very "up to date" with their equipment. If you're looking for a dentist and are anywhere in the northwest metro area I would highly recommend Dr. Gilreath.

Jhion R.

The staff is always so courteous and personable. They make us feel like family every time we have an appointment. Service is excellent, too. My wife recently went for a cleaning and Dr. Gilreath noticed a chip in one of her fillings. He knew we recently had another baby and that her time was very limited so he went ahead and did the filling right then and there, an extra thirty minutes tops. Dr. Gilreath is always looking at the big picture and really knows his stuff. We will never go anywhere else

Our Office

Gilreath Family Dentistry

200 White St NW
Marietta, GA 30060

Call to Schedule an Appointment:
(770) 796-7081

Gilreath Family Dentistry waiting room Marietta GA.