Useful Tips

Sick in the dentist's chair: how to get rid of this problem


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Regardless of whether a gag reflex occurs when brushing back molars or in the dentist's chair, it can adversely affect dental health. The Internet is replete with tips on how to deal with the gag reflex, and some of them are really useful. To quickly get rid of the gag reflex, try lowering the sensitivity of the soft palate or stimulating the taste buds of the tongue. Over time, you can suppress the gag reflex with a toothbrush or by distracting attention.

What it is

Vomiting is an act of contraction of certain muscle groups of the gastrointestinal tract, as a result of which the food lump moves from the distal to the oral cavity. The mechanism of vomiting formation has a complex reflex character, the implementation of which provides the vomiting center in the medulla oblongata in the area of ​​the reticular formation. Activation of the vomiting center can occur through impulses from the visual, olfactory, and taste buds.

Due to the near localization of many reflexes to the vomiting center of the nerve centers - the respiratory, vasomotor, salivary centers - the vomiting process is accompanied by reactions caused by irritation of these centers:

  • a change in breathing
  • salivation
  • tachycardia
  • excessive sweating
  • pallor of the skin.

The vomiting center responds to impulses transmitted by the nervous system, brain and stomach.

Degrees of manifestation

The gag reflex consists of several stages:

  1. The phase of the urge.
  2. Direct attack of vomiting.
  3. Recovery period.
  4. Intermediate stage.

The first phase is characterized by the appearance of the following symptoms:

  • stomach spasm
  • feeling of nausea
  • dizziness,
  • increased sweating.

The urge phase can last from a few minutes to a couple of hours, and in some situations be absent. You can avoid the transition to the next stage by suppressing an attack of nausea, for example, with drugs.

The second stage is directly in the vomiting act. It is very painful. The intake of fluids and medications is difficult.

When the attack of vomiting passes, pressure decreases in the stomach, and endorphins enter the bloodstream, contributing to the appearance of a feeling of relief. A healthy complexion returns to the person, appetite appears.

At the intermediate stage between flashes of vomiting, there are no signs of malaise.

Why do we feel like vomiting?

The causes of vomiting are highly variable. The gag reflex (hereinafter referred to as PP) has a protective function for the body, helping to remove toxic substances formed in it from the stomach or preventing unwanted substances from entering the digestive system.

Vomiting is a response to irritation:

  • receptors of the gastric mucosa as a result of intoxication,
  • vestibuloreceptors when changing the speed and direction of movement of the body in space,
  • mechanical irritation of the walls of the pharynx and root of the tongue.

Attacks of nausea and vomiting can provoke strong emotional experiences, stress, severe illnesses affecting the central nervous and cardiovascular systems of the body, diseases of the abdominal organs, toxicosis in early pregnancy, as well as taking certain medications.

Symptoms of increased PP

The mouth reflex in dental treatment can occur due to excessive nervousness and the patient’s fear of the procedure itself, as well as with increased sensitivity of the receptors of the tongue and mucous membrane of the palate. The urge to vomit appears in this situation as an excessive defensive reaction of the body aimed at preventing the foreign body from entering the respiratory tract.

Some patients with increased PP may experience discomfort even when brushing their teeth. They react with the urge to vomit even when they touch not the back wall of the pharynx, but also at the very front teeth. If the touch of your own fingers and food do not cause unpleasant symptoms, then foreign objects always provoke nausea - whether it be a toothbrush or a doctor’s tools. This complicates the examination of the throat by an otolaryngologist and most dental procedures.

It becomes problematic to treat lateral teeth, examine wisdom teeth, make casts, install prostheses, since all these actions are accompanied by contact with soft tissues of the oral cavity, causing the occurrence of PP.

The relationship between reflex and migraine

It is still unclear, but studies in this area indicate its existence. Initially, you can detect the presence of headache and migraine, then abdominal migraine appears, causing pain in the abdomen. After this, a gag reflex occurs, often accompanied by these headaches.

In addition, most of the signs that cause the onset of a vomiting reflex also give rise to the development of migraine. These triggers are characterized by the presence of factors such as excitement and emotional overstrain.

And finally, thirdly, as studies in most children with a gag reflex show, one can see the presence of heredity of migraine or it simply develops with age.

Due to the similarity of these two phenomena, such as the gag reflex and migraine, doctors are trying to prescribe some patients serious medications, also used for headaches and migraines. Medicines have the ability to suppress outbreaks of the disease, reduce the frequency and dangerous consequences.

How can a doctor help these patients

If a person suffers from an increased vomiting reflex, he / she should definitely inform the dentist about the problem. In the arsenal of doctors there are a lot of methods and medications that will help stop unpleasant symptoms.

Firstly, they try to treat the patient in a sitting position, as when placed horizontally at the base of the tongue, saliva accumulates, causing PP.

In the process of treatment, the dentist, knowing about the problem, will try not to accidentally touch sensitive areas of the oral cavity, more often use saliva ejector. May try to distract the patient with conversation, turn on relaxing music.

He suggests using cofferdam - this is a special latex plate that allows you to isolate the tooth with which dental manipulations will be performed from the rest of the oral cavity. Thus, the soft tissues of the tongue, cheeks and palate are protected from touch.

To reduce tissue sensitivity, the doctor may also prescribe local anesthesia.

In most cases, the gag reflex is well stopped with drugs for the prevention and treatment of motion sickness such as Aeron, Dramin and drugs with an antiemetic effect, for example, Adaptol, Motilium, Falimint, Tserukal.

If the patient’s nausea attacks are psychogenic in nature, and the above methods do not help suppress the occurrence of a vomiting reflex, superficial sedation is used. As a rule, an inhalation method using nitric oxide for children and intravenous administration for adults (sodium iopental, propofol, ketamine) is used. Sedation causes drowsiness, suppresses fears and maximizes patient relaxation. However, in this state, the person remains conscious, can talk, all reflexes are preserved, so this procedure does not eliminate the need for local anesthesia.

If the problem is not stomatophobia, and superficial anesthesia and medication do not have the desired effect, general anesthesia is prescribed.


The vomiting reflex, which occurs constantly, can have very negative consequences. Some of the most basic ones are listed below:

  • Dehydration. As a result of this phenomenon, the patient's body loses a lot of water.
  • Electrolyte imbalance. The gag reflex is also complicated by the loss of salts, resulting in a violation of their normal functioning.
  • Digestive esophagitis. The consequences of the disease negatively affect the esophagus - the tube connecting the stomach and mouth. This occurs as a result of damage caused by acid producing the stomach causing a gag reflex.
  • Hemathemesis. It is characterized by vomit mixed with blood due to bleeding of the esophagus due to damage.
  • Esophageal rupture. As a rule, this applies to the lower part of this organ, which can tear if regular collisions of vomiting with the stomach occur.
  • Tooth lesions. Often, the reflex leads to damage to the teeth from exposure to acid contained in vomiting. Acid is known to adversely affect enamel.

There may be other equally serious complications.

To get rid of the gag reflex, you first need to consider the main causes that can cause it. But first, probably, it should be said that sometimes patients themselves are able to determine the factors that provoked vomiting. One of the most common is the effects of infection. You can also name the reason, which is often found in small patients. It is directly related to emotional overstrain, anxiety, or intense excitement. Colds, allergic reactions, as well as excessive consumption before bedtime of certain foods, such as cheese or chocolate.

As a rule, outbreaks of the gag reflex are divided into:

The first type in most cases includes such provoking factors:

  • problems of nasal breathing, various injuries with damage to the septum or inflammatory processes in the sinuses,
  • the presence of toxicosis, which usually occurs in the first stages of pregnancy,
  • a consequence of the response to touching some places in the oral cavity,
  • pathology of the gastrointestinal tract or other diseases of the intestine and other organs,
  • the result of extensive intoxication of the body.

If we list the problems of a psychological nature that cause the urge to vomit, then we can basically reduce it to various stressful situations, nervous strain, and many others. At the same time, one cannot identify any specific reasons for the gag reflex, taking into account which it would be possible to avoid a repetition of the situation in the future. After all, each new flash, as a rule, differs from other previous ones. Moreover, it is characteristic for outbreaks to occur at the same time of day, to continue the same period of time and have the same symptoms.

If there is a constant gag reflex, then at different ages this phenomenon has its own distinctive features. It is characteristic of adult patients that episodes of vomiting are longer than in children, but manifest themselves less frequently. In addition, in children it is much easier to determine the causes of vomiting than in adult patients. For a constant vomiting reflex of no age restrictions, it can manifest itself at any age, however, in children this most often happens in the age range of three to seven years.

A few words should be said about the episodes themselves. They sometimes occur very hard, so hard that the patient can not get out of bed for several days. Currently, there is no exact statistics on the number of people suffering from this disease, however, some researchers in the field of medicine believe that there are a lot of such patients. The difficulty in determining the exact figure lies in the fact that there are quite a few common diseases that can also cause vomiting. A large number of patients are given a definite diagnosis without taking into account the fact that the main disease here is a constant vomiting reflex.

How to relieve your condition on your own

To reduce anxiety, on the eve of the procedure, you can take sedatives such as Afobazol, Novopassit or drink a decoction of herbs that have a sedative effect: chamomile, valerian, mint. Before the dental procedure, you need to pour several grains of salt on the tongue or rinse your mouth with salt water. It’s better not to eat or drink plenty of fluids.

Once in the dentist’s chair and feeling the occurrence of unpleasant symptoms, you can try the following methods:

  • relax your tongue
  • breathe exclusively through the nose
  • to achieve a relaxed state, focus as much as possible on the breathing process,
  • think about something pleasant, try to distract yourself with music, watching TV,
  • so as not to aggravate the nausea, it’s better not to close your eyes,
  • maximize abdominal muscles and sharply raise straight, extended legs,
  • With force to clench a fist of the left hand.

The phases of the gag reflex

There are several of them. The four main ones are:

  1. Sign phase. She is the precursor to the gag reflex and gives a signal about the imminent start of the next episode of the disease. This phase is often characterized by severe abdominal pain, its duration can vary dramatically and take either a few minutes or hours. In some cases, when taking medications during the early phase of the onset of symptoms, the gag reflex may stop. It should be noted here that sometimes this phase may be absent altogether: the patient begins to vomit immediately after waking up.
  2. Flash phase. Actually, she speaks for herself and is directly characterized by nausea and vomiting, the patient feels extremely unsatisfactory, he lacks the desire and ability to not only eat and drink, but even use medicines for vomiting. The patient has a pale face, exhaustion, he is drawn to sleep.
  3. Recovery phase. It originates after the cessation of the outbreak phase, that is, when the patient no longer feels sick and does not vomit. It is characterized by the return to the face of a healthy natural color, appetite and energy.
  4. Interval phase. Her name also explains the essence of the process, which is a period when there are no symptoms between episodes.

How to suppress a gag reflex

It is believed that this disease cannot be completely cured. Of course, treatment can relieve suffering to some degree. First of all, experts advise to devote more time to night rest, not to overwork physically and emotionally. And, of course, follow recommendations that help prevent outbreaks of the disease, stop them, and reduce the number of symptoms.

Exercise to reduce the sensitivity of the mucous membranes

You can reduce the strength of reflex urge to vomit by regularly stimulating sensitive areas of the oral cavity. For example, put a spoon or a toothbrush in your mouth every day, first trying to press it against the sky in the region of your front teeth and trying to suppress the arising PP.

Having achieved success, you can go a centimeter further and do the same procedure. So in a few weeks of daily training you can achieve significant success.

General tips

At the next episode of the disease, it is necessary to continue to lie in bed, the room should be quiet and dark. If the patient suffers from severe nausea and vomiting, it may be necessary to be hospitalized for an internal fluid infusion. This will help prevent dehydration. A lot of help can provide sedatives.

In some cases, vomiting is completely prevented in the initial stage. For example, patients experiencing severe pain before the episode may, after prior consultation with a doctor, take ibuprofen. There are also effective means to calm the stomach, for example, omeprazole, it lowers acidity.

To restore salt and water imbalance, it is very important to drink water and a means to replace lost electrolytes, which are necessary for the normal functioning of the body. It should be borne in mind that the symptoms of the disease during the recovery phase may change, therefore, even if the patient detects a return of appetite, you can not immediately eat solid food, but first you should drink only water.

Patients who suffer prolonged and painful episodes of the disease should be treated in between episodes to make them less intense. Among the drugs that can eliminate headaches and migraines, for example, such as panadol and amitriptyline. They should be taken at intervals, but keep in mind that they are not always effective for each patient. To understand their effectiveness, sometimes such medicines should be consumed within one or two weeks.

In addition, the last phase deserves special attention.It is considered exactly the time when the opportunity is given to establish the cause of the disease. For example, if the patient knows that during the intermediate stage he suffers severe excitement or experiences stress, then he should pay attention to the state of the nervous system. When he has an aggravation of sinus problems or an allergy appears, then this should be under special attention.


There is a special point on the human body, the stimulation of which is able to stop nausea. From the transverse folds on the wrist should retreat to the width of three fingers and groping for a place between two large tendons. During an attack, it is necessary to strongly press on this place on both sides of the wrist and massage gently for several minutes. You can also purchase and wear an acupressure bracelet by placing the applicator directly on this point.


If the problem of the occurrence of the gag reflex is primarily psychological, it will be useful to master the simple techniques of auto-training. By learning to use the relaxation method first at home, in a comfortable environment, you can in the future resort to her help in the dentist's chair. Exercise should be performed in a comfortable position with eyes closed, using imagination to achieve a feeling of heaviness, warmth, pulsation, coolness in different parts of the body. The effect can be enhanced by the repetition of positive sentence phrases during the exercise.

Regularly practicing meditation (focusing on breathing with distraction from any thoughts for 10-15 minutes), a person gains the ability to control his emotional state at the dentist’s appointment, easily rejecting frightening and disturbing thoughts.

If a person suffers from an increased vomiting reflex, this is not a reason to avoid visiting a dentist and start the condition of his teeth. You just need to consult a doctor and choose the appropriate way to stop the symptom.

Effective means

As mentioned above, to get rid of the gag reflex, doctors recommend omeprazole, which instantly reduces acidity and can protect against vomiting and nausea, heartburn, and ibuprofen. In addition, there are many effective ways to help suppress the urge to vomit almost instantly after they appear:

  • saline solution. This will require one teaspoon of salt and a glass of water. Stir it all and rinse your mouth. You can also use soda for these purposes. But you need to take into account that mucous membranes will dry from it, which will bring some discomfort,
  • dental spray. This tool, as well as a gel of a similar property, will cause numbness of the mouth,
  • sea ​​water. It is necessary for nose washing procedures. This will help ease nasal breathing, and this is the first step to overcome to suppress the reflex. Also for this purpose, you can use both the salt solution already mentioned above and a set of special drops that are freely sold in pharmacies.
  • Strong compression of fingers into a fist. If necessary, quickly eliminate the urge to vomit, you can apply this method. This method has been tested repeatedly and is considered very effective.

There are times when a reflex occurs when brushing your teeth. In such situations, probably. The best solution would be to consult a specialist for advice. It is possible that the cause of this circumstance will be an allergic reaction to some ingredient in toothpaste.

By the way, for those who are afraid of a visit to the dentist because of a gag reflex, and these fears are justified, it is advisable to make an appointment after dinner. Studies show that in the morning hours the reflex is more sensitive. Therefore, you need to prepare for this thoroughly and try not to take any food, at least three hours before the visit. It will not be superfluous to drink antiemetics, they will perfectly help to cope with unwanted urges when examining the oral cavity.

In case of arising urges associated with psychological factors, it is advisable to include various kinds of breathing exercises in your daily routine. This may be special gymnastics, yoga, other techniques useful in this situation. They will help to master the practice of relaxation and teach you to control yourself in difficult situations.

Important: you can try to master the technique of taming this reflex. For this purpose, it is only necessary to make special nightly irritation of different areas of the oral cavity, thereby developing their less sensitivity. This technique is considered quite effective, because it makes it possible not just to stop urging once, but to achieve a complete and final solution to problems.

Home Exercises

In order to treat vomiting reflex at home, start a diary in which to reflect the results of observations: in what situations does a gag attack most often occur, where, at what time. The following are simple but effective recipes for getting rid of the disease:

  • Breathing exercises. Need to breathe and breathe! If you feel even a faint approximation of the reflex, try to take rhythmic breaths with your nose, and exhale through your mouth. The principle is that the gag reflex cannot be manifested at the same time as breathing, just as you cannot swallow food and breathe together.
  • Sound exercises. To prevent a reflex, you can try to make humming sounds, as well as humming sounds, which will ensure a constant flow of air.
  • Physical exercise. They should be performed in a sitting or supine position. Having taken one of the positions, you should raise your legs. After that, tighten the abdominal muscles. Such an exercise will suppress vomiting.
  • Reflex exercises. In order to “retrain” this phenomenon, you need to train the parts of the oral cavity every day so that when you touch a toothbrush or teaspoon it does not cause a gag reflex. These objects need to be placed farther and farther, pressing in the region of the front teeth to the sky, step by step moving deeper. It may be enough ten to fourteen days to forget about this disease forever.
  • Relaxing exercises. You need to be able to relax. As mentioned above, the main causes of an increased reflex may be physiological and psychological disorders. Maybe you already had a not very pleasant experience, when in certain situations, for example, being at the dentist, you had this problem. Talk with your doctor, share the results of the previous treatment, when the reflex manifests itself, which contributes to this. All this will make the relationship trust and will help in further treatment. Exercises to relax the nervous system, which are based on the correct regulation of breathing, as well as meditation, can only benefit. In more complex situations, an appeal to a hypnologist will not be out of place.

If after performing a particular course of exercises, the gag reflex was suppressed, but then returned again, do not despair and try to repeat the therapeutic exercises again. If you do everything correctly and persistently, the disease will certainly recede. As they say, our health is in our hands!