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Severe Gag Reflex

While a gag reflex might not seem like a helpful mechanism, it’s theorized to be an evolutionary advantage. Albeit uncomfortable, this beneficial response helps prevent choking—which is especially helpful when kids transition from a liquid to solid foods diet. By thrusting foreign objects in the direction of the opening of the mouth, the gag reflex ejects substances that the brain associates with harm.

Although gag reflexes are perfectly normal (and, at times, advantageous), an overly sensitive one can impact your kid’s dental care routine. Notably, young children are prone to this problem. Your child might understandably associate dental treatment with discomfort, dental fear, and trauma if mismanaged.

However, that’s the opposite of what we want to accomplish at Petite Smiles. So, Dr. Heba Rashed offers many solutions to reduce fear, increase comfort, and avoid conflict during children’s pediatric dentistry treatments, including:

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Breathing Techniques

As a practice that values minimally invasive dentistry techniques, we will start your child by teaching them a simple strategy that they can take with them forever: breathing correctly. Teaching your child to focus solely on breathing through their nose can significantly reduce sensitivity.

As a bonus, proper deep breathing techniques can ease your child into a meditative state and keep their mind off the upcoming kids dental procedure.

You might be surprised that a gag reflex can often be a psychological response rather than exclusively physical. Teaching your child how to breathe deeply through their nose (instead of the mouth) is easy to practice before walking through our doors. Plus, at-home practice can help kids manage anxiety outside our Lorton dental office.

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Sedation Dentistry & Local Anesthesia

If your child’s gag reflex can’t be controlled through a simple breathing exercise, we can spray a topical local anesthetic to deaden the severity of the gag reflex. If all else fails, we offer conscious sedation methods that can solve gag reflex and dental anxiety problems.

Modern Dental Technology

Do you have a history of gagging at the dentist’s office? With antiquated systems, people had to place stale, scratchy bitewing film in their mouths for dental x-rays. (Don’t get us started on the rigid, disgusting dental impression molds.)

Instead of using these methods with a long history of negative connotations, Petite Smiles invests in state-of-the-art dental technology like intraoral cameras and digital x-rays to help make the overall experience more comfortable.

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Severe Gag Reflex Treatment in Lorton, VA

Visiting the dentist isn’t always something patients with sensitive gag reflexes look forward to – but it should be. Fortunately, our Petite Smiles team is more than prepared and equipped to handle special health care needs like this. We understand that one of the most important ways to foster a positive outlook toward dentistry is to get your child’s gag reflex under control to prevent psychological problems that they could carry to adulthood with them.

If your child suffers from a severe gag reflex, please inform Dr. Rashed ahead of time. Our Petite Smiles team would love to do everything in our power to make your child feel comfortable in the dentist’s chair. Schedule your kid’s next children’s dentistry appointment in Lorton by calling (703)-688-2155 or message us online.

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