Children's Sports and Dental Injuries

Children's Sports and Dental Injuries

Are Your New Dentures Triggering Your Gag Reflex?

by Lillian Dixon

Rather obviously, it can be extremely difficult to chew food when you have missing teeth. Your inability to grind food down before swallowing can even pose a choking hazard. Of course, a new set of dentures is certainly going to help you chew food. So why are these new dentures making you feel like you're choking on something, even when you're not eating? 

Gag Reflex

Your gag reflex (or rather, your pharyngeal reflex, to use its proper term) is an involuntary defensive measure that your body activates when it senses something irregular entering your throat. This is why your gag reflex kicks into action when something brushes the back of your throat, as opposed to simply chewing and swallowing your food. Your body suspects that you might inadvertently be swallowing something that will make you choke, and so your gag reflex activates, allowing you to cough up the item in question. While that's all well and good, it's not exactly convenient when a new set of dentures repeatedly activates your gag reflex.

Adjusting to Your Dentures

Patience can actually be helpful if your dentures are triggering your gag reflex. It's generally not a permanent problem, and your mouth simply needs some time to adjust to the new dentures. Give it a few days, exercise appropriate caution, and the issue can fade away without the need for further action. If you need some assistance during this time, you might want to try a numbing throat spray, which you can find at any pharmacy. But sometimes the problem doesn't go away, and you'll need to schedule an appointment at the clinic where the dentures were fitted.

Denture Trimming

A recurring gag reflex triggered by dentures can become an issue when the dentures extend into the back of your mouth. This means that the issue can vary quite a bit depending on whether you have full or partial dentures. It's possible for the dentures to be trimmed. This doesn't involve any actual cutting, and the applicable edges of the dentures are strategically filed away using an acrylic dental bur, which is then smoothed down with dental sandpaper. This process is known as an occlusal adjustment, and although the amount of your dentures that will be adjusted is minuscule, the difference can be significant, as the portion of your dentures that has been triggering your gag reflex has been removed, without affecting the functionality of your dentures. 

You might experience some mild gagging with a new set of dentures, but when the issue doesn't resolve itself, you will need to have your dentures adjusted.


About Me

Children's Sports and Dental Injuries

As a mum, I know how essential sport can be to children's development. Through team sports like soccer, kids learn persistence, sportsmanship and the value of supporting their team members. However, all that learning carries some risk as well, and a stray elbow or a ball to the face can result in oral injuries. I have been the mum rushing to the emergency room with a precious permanent tooth sitting in a cup of milk. Admittedly, at the time, I wasn't even sure if the cup of milk was the right solution. As a parent, you will face those situations, and I'm here to make sure you know what to do when they pop up. With this blog, let's explore children's dentistry and sports injuries together... I want you to have the info you need to stay cool, calm and collected, regardless of how many teeth are on the pitch.