Dentures can be a good way to replace teeth lost due to gum disease, decay, or other causes, but if they’re not properly fitted they can cause problems. One of the more difficult problems to deal with for many people is gagging. How can you wear dentures if they make you gag every time you put them in?
Fortunately, dentures don’t have to make you gag. They can be very comfortable to wear, so comfortable, in fact, that you may forget you’re wearing them.
Why Dentures Can Cause Gagging
Your mouth is built around your teeth, and the mechanisms that your body uses to trigger a defensive gag reflex are designed so they won’t be triggered by them, your tongue, or other natural structures in the mouth. But dentures aren’t part of your mouth. They’re an extra structure, one that can be much bulkier than your natural teeth, and one that has a very real danger of triggering your gag reflex.
One of the places that stimulate your body’s gag reflex is the back of your upper palate. Upper dentures are designed with a plate that covers the front part of the upper palate to help create suction that secures the dentures in place. If this plate extends too far backward, it can easily trigger gagging.
Sometimes, even the lower denture may extend backward into the corners of the mouth that cause gagging, but this is much less common.
How to Reduce Gagging with Dentures
It’s important to distinguish between the adaptation period for dentures from later denture wear. Initially, dentures may just seem so foreign that your body responds to them negatively, but with repeated attempts, your body becomes used to the dentures and they feel more comfortable.
Try different insertion techniques if your dentures cause you to gag right away. Your denture dentist can give you some advice on different approaches to putting your dentures in.
Sometimes your tongue can also help stabilize your dentures and reduce gagging. Try holding your tongue at different positions and see if that helps.
Finally, your denture may need to be adjusted. Often, trimming the upper plate will reduce or eliminate gagging.
If you currently have economy dentures or if your dentures have a poor fit, consider investing in quality dentures that fit better. Neuromuscular dentures are fitted using a dynamic process that can help them fit when your mouth is in motion, so they’re less likely to irritate your mouth or cause gagging.
How Dental Implants Can Help
But if getting better dentures doesn’t help, you may need implant dentures instead. Because they’re secured by dental implants, these dentures don’t require an upper plate at all, and can be designed so they’re not much bigger than your natural teeth–if at all. This leads to the most natural mouth feel, and should eliminate gagging related to your dentures.