Senior gagging with Dentures

Gagging with Dentures: Common Causes and Solutions

My dentures make me gag at the back of my mouth. What do i do?

Gagging with dentures is unfortunately not uncommon, so this question comes up a lot.

Lets explore some common causes and solutions to this prevalent issue.

In general, upper dentures stay in the mouth better than lower dentures. The better fit is due in part to an actual seal formed between the upper denture and the roof of your mouth.

The denture is made slightly thicker at the back of the denture, where the hard part of the roof of your mouth meets the soft part at the beginning of your throat. This slight increase in thickness presses up against this area and creates an actual suction.

The denture must fit well in all areas for effective seal and resulting suction.

Once we start to reduce or cut the denture at the back, looseness begins to creep into the denture. If anything, our patients want the upper denture to be stable as this is the main source of their smile. This backward extension of the denture elicits a gag reflex in some people, so reducing the back of the denture may result in a looser denture.

What are some other causes of gagging?

Additional Causes and Solutions for Gagging with Dentures

Improper Fit:

Cause: Dentures that do not fit well can trigger the gag reflex.

Solution: Consult your dentist for adjustments or relining to improve the fit.

Psychological Factors:

Cause: Anxiety or fear associated with wearing dentures can contribute to the gag reflex.

Solution: Gradual acclimatization and counseling may help reduce psychological barriers

Practice and Gradual Adaptation:

Cause: New denture wearers struggle with their teeth

Solution: Start by wearing the dentures for short periods and gradually increase the duration as you become more accustomed to them.

When all Else Fails, Try This Alternative to Standard Dentures

Upper Implant-Supported Dentures

So, what do we do when someone wants the denture cleared from the gagging section at the back after exhausting methods to help?

Today, we can solve this problem by using dental implants.

If a denture is supported on dental implants and uses these for retention, we no longer need the roof of the mouth extension to the throat area. We don’t need the roof of the mouth at all in certain circumstances.

Upper implant-supported dentures can look like lower ones with a “U” shape and demonstrate great stability. Now, when you speak, there is less interference between your tongue and the roof of your mouth. Your palate can feel food, and your taste improves. These are two common issues that patients need to deal with.

If you are struggling with a denture and want to explore other options, please call Nikki at 440.951.7856. She will guide you through the registration and appointment process and make it simple to come and see us.

The only way that you can find a solution is to pick up the phone and start the process. As always, I look forward to meeting you.

Jeffrey Gross, DDS, FAGD is an Ohio licensed general dentist and is on the staff of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine.

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