Ahh! UHHH!! OOAhhh!!! If you wear an upper removable complete denture, you’ve experienced the discomfort firsthand and can relate to these sounds.
The gag reflex is also known as the pharyngeal reflex. Gagging is induced by stimulating either the vagus nerve or glossopharyngeal nerve on the tongue of the roof of the mouth. The gag reflex is the body’s natural way to prevent choking in the throat.
The extra denture material covering the roof of the mouth is a way to improve suction on your upper denture. It also can be a reservoir for denture adhesive. However, not all people can tolerate the coverage of the palatal area (roof of the mouth).
The palatal area of the upper denture, causes what I call the “gag zone”.
Touching the roof of the mouth with your denture may be enough to cause you to gag. Then, your face begins to look awkward and distorted. You may even feel like vomiting. It is quite uncomfortable.
Bring your denture into a dentist and ask if you are a candidate for dental implants. If they tell you that you cannot have dental implants, get another opinion. If the second opinion tells you that you cannot have dental implants, get another opinion. Keep looking for help until you find help.
It is very, very, very rare that you cannot have dental implants
(even if there is bone loss). Dental implants = no gagging!
Placing dental implants to secure your upper denture will allow the dentist to remove the part of the denture that is responsible for gagging. Then, your face returns to its normal countenance and your quality of life improves. The bonus is that your teeth have increased security and you can begin to feel safe to eat good foods again! I wish you all the best on your quest to improve your smile :)
-Dr. Joe Kravitz, DDS, MS
Prosthodontist, Dentist, and Author