If you've been having trouble with your teeth for ages, getting dentures may come as a relief. Finally, you can chew the foods you love again. So when you go to chew and find that your dentures make you gag, you're sure to be frustrated. Luckily, this is a problem that's easily dealt with. Here's a look at what makes dentures cause gagging, and what you can do about it.
Why do dentures make you gag?
Your gag reflex is a natural protective mechanism to ensure you do not swallow anything that could be harmful to you. Your natural teeth do not cause you to gag because you are used to them -- your brain knows where they are, and it knows where they tend to put pressure.
But dentures can place pressure on slightly different places than your natural teeth. In particular, they may press on the top of your mouth, known as your palate, when you chew. This triggers a gag mechanism, which is really your body trying to make sure you don't swallow that mystery item pushing on the top of your mouth. Little does it know that the dentures are held in place and can't be swallowed!
How do you stop the gagging?
Here's the big picture: to stop the gagging, you need to stop the dentures from pushing on the roof of your mouth. There are a few ways to accomplish this. First, try to make sure you are putting even pressure on both sides of your mouth as you chew. This will keep the dentures from tilting upwards and hitting the top of your mouth. Consider using slightly more denture glue -- if you use denture glue -- to hold the dentures more firmly in place.
If the measures above don't work, then pay a visit to your denture specialist. They can adjust your dentures to help keep them from causing you to gag. Sometimes, trimming the palate part of the dentures helps.
There are a few patients who have serious issues with their gag reflex, even after their dentures have been trimmed and adjusted. If this is you, then your dentist may recommend implant-supported dentures over regular dentures. Implant-supported dentures do not have the palate spacer than normal dentures have, so they won't hit the top of your mouth and trigger your gag reflex. Contact your dentist, such as at Sidney Dental Associates Inc, for a consultation or to learn more.