Every time I get dental x-rays taken, I always gag! It makes me feel sick and nervous every time. Is there anything I can do to help prevent this reaction?
While getting dental x-rays doesn’t hurt, it’s extremely common for people to gag, especially as we go towards the back teeth with the bite wing. We understand that this can be very uncomfortable for patients and do our best to make the experience as quick and easy as possible. However, there are a few things you can do to help keep you calm and prevent your gag reflex from going off.
1. Hold your breath or breathe through your nose
Because the shape of the bitewing is a bit awkward, it can be hard to breathe through your mouth, and trying to do so can set off your gag reflex. Instead, try to breathe through your nose, or simply hold your breath until the x-ray is done — which should only be a second.
2. Breathe out slowly
Similar to the above, if you can’t hold your breath or breathe through your nose then you can try to release a constant stream of air through your mouth to help prevent your gag reflex from going off. You can do this by breathing out slowly, or humming with the bitewing in place.
3. Numb the throat slightly
Your dentist may prove a throat spray that numbs the throat slightly. This will make you less likely to feel the x-ray and, therefore, make you less likely to gag.
4. Try a little salt
Many patients have reported that putting a little bit of salt on their tongue before the x-ray is placed in the mouth. It works like a charm!
5. Lift your feet
By lifting your legs and feet up off the chair just a few inches, your stomach muscles will contract and reduce your impulse to gag. It also forces you to concentrate on something else other than the x-ray, distracting you from the thought of gagging.
Next time you need dental x-rays, try a few of these easy techniques and see what works for you. We bet you’ll have a much easier time with those bitewings!