Dentures and Gagging: Reasons and Solutions
As we age, it is a known fact that we slowly deteriorate. We lose our youthful vigor because our body is aging and because of reasons that science is still exploring. Some scientists have chalked it up to cellular parts called telomeres shortening out as time goes by. On a more tangible level, as we age, our bodily organs and systems slow down gradually and we lose some of our functions and sadly, some of our body parts as well. The same is true for our teeth. Due to lifestyle choices that lead to diseases such as tooth decay and trauma brought about by accidents, our teeth fall out as we age. In the cases of accidents or other unfortunate events, our teeth might be lost even at a young age. A toothless face is not a pretty sight and, therefore, people have created dentures to compensate. This is a very useful innovation. Also known as false teeth, dentures are used in the place of the teeth you lost. In using a complete denture, there are mainly two parts. There is the denture base and the artificial teeth. The teeth are there to replace what you have lost and the denture base holds it all in place while covering the palatal, or the roof of the mouth. Unfortunately this can cause the issue of gagging and dentures. If you have this issue, you may want to read on for solutions to the common gagging problems.
Dentures and Gagging: Solutions
Unfortunately, not everyone can tolerate having their palatal area covered. This leads to gagging and dentures coming together, and not in a good way. As the palatal area is the gag zone, this triggers the vagus nerve in the brain to activate and cause the person to gag. You would not want to be vomiting with your dentures on. It is a horrible experience. Statistics show that 57 percent of Americans aged 65 to 74 wear some form of dentures. 51 percent of Americans aged 55 to 64 have either full or partial dentures. That is a huge part of the population trying to avoid gagging and denture problems. You will start out by feeling a bit uncomfortable on the roof of your mouth and later, with the dental base still pressing on your upper palate, you will feel last night’s dinner clawing its way out.
Today’s dentures are of high quality with synthetic materials that feel light and almost non-existent. However, this was not the case when they were first invented. During the 7th century B.C., the Etruscan's from Northern Italy created the first set of dentures. They created them out of either human or animal teeth, or a combination of both, fastened together by gold bands. The Japanese also created their own versions by using wood and beeswax during the early 16th century. They had broad wooden dental bases for better suction. Gagging and dentures were never mentioned but with the knowledge that they used unpolished gold and broad bases, it is safe to assume that people of the old world had gagging problems with their dentures as well. A contraption in your mouth that is pure gold or something that is broad straddling your mouth’s roof will surely make you gag.
Now, how do we address the problem of gagging and dentures? According to a case study in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research entitled Management of Severe Gag Reflex by A Unique Approach: Plate less Dentures, there are three possible ways that you can manage this problem. This includes behavioral, pharmacological and prosthodontics technique. We will go through each one of these techniques and try to relate them in layman’s terms to further understand them. For behavioral, some denture users actually just have it in their head that they need to vomit. They might be feeling anxious and nervous, and this might trigger gagging. Patients can try to use techniques such as relaxing first before putting on the dentures. This will reduce anxiety as you are trying to calm yourself first before putting on the dentures. There are other behavioral techniques such as error-less learning, but then again this will take time because you have to condition your mind. The next technique, the pharmacological one, will have denture wearers taking anti-emetic or anti-vomiting drugs. Since there are side effects to taking these drugs, we divert our attention to the last and final one, the prosthodontics technique. This only means that you have to visit your dentist, have your teeth and dentures checked out and see if they indeed fit. Smaller dental covers will make a client gag less or the dentist can fashion a palate less dentures. Dental implants are also an option.
This technique might be the safest and fastest one as compared to the other two and your problems with gagging and dentures will be adequately addressed.
If you need to use the behavioral technique, you only need to do it by yourself. If you want a more formal process, you can ask loved ones to help you train your mind and your gag reflex not to react when your dentures are in place. If you have the time and the resources, you can visit your psychologist. For the pharmacological technique, you can visit your doctor for antiemetic drugs prescription. Do not do this without the help of your doctor as drugs have side effects. Avoid obtaining them over the counter. The physician will most likely recommend intravenous valium, Phenergan from Wyeth Labs or Nisentil from Roche Laboratories or some other anti-emetic. These are drugs that will stop you from vomiting and they have, as previously mentioned, side effects that might not suit you, so choose wisely. As for the prosthodontics technique, be sure to visit your dentist because you cannot fashion your own set of dentures. Be sure to try it out again to make sure that it fits properly. If you want to obtain the dental implants or the palate less dentures, be sure to have yourself checked regularly and maintain proper hygiene.
In the pursuit to look better despite aging, we have fashioned the dentures. Although this might be more advantageous than it is not, some people still encounter gagging with it. There are three ways in order to eradicate gagging and dentures; it is entirely up to you which one suit you best. Always remember that since your original teeth have fallen out, be sure to be extra careful in the care and maintenance of your new ones.