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How to Stop Gagging From Your Upper Denture

Denture tips to avoid gagging

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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

Dr. Joe Kravitz


Dr. Joe is a Prosthodontist in the DC Area, Author of Dirty Mouth, Contributor to Discovery Fit & Health, and Dental Implant Expert who loves nothing more than helping his patients smile again and better their health.

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  • Hekiger

    Ok, SO if you have no insurance, how much are we looking at in CA?

  • Cascade67

    OK! What if you can’t afford dental implants and have to go with a full upper plate? I gag just putting them in my mouth. I can’t wear them at all. What else can be done with the false teeth(upper plate) so the gagging stops? I paid a lot of money just or those. I would like an answer.

    • this problem is never solved unless we have money…dentists are all about wanting money patients and i also do not have the cash needed today by these dentists…i am still gagging….never an answer…just charge for dentures that can not be worn..

    • Gumby

      I have had a full upper for three years now, one year with the immediate and two with the latest. I still gag with it and my dentist is reluctant to cut away some of the rear dam. I have been carrying Ice Breakers mints with me and use them constantly during the day, that is the only way I have found that helps. Also, I have used the powder adhesive since I got them as same dentist has said the roof of my mouth is to flat to hold the denture in place by itself. Good luck.

      • DayZ

        Same here. If I don’t have a mint in my mouth I start gagging.

    • mickey roberts

      I used to gag just like you and I have solved my problem about 99 %, I now wear mine everyday , all day and no gagging. I trimmed away the par that sticks to the roof of my mouth, it looks just like a mouth piece for football players. I do have to use a little polygrip, and after it dries , it holds so good they stay in place all day. I eat soft foods and do not gag at all. I took them to my dentist, he trimmed them up , smoothed them out and Perfect fit now, I love them and no gagging. so trim out the palet part and use polygrip and I bet it works, my neighbor tried it with my advice and he wears his all day now too without gagging. I was not wearing them at all, so I figure I had nothing to lose if it did not work. Last week I had a relign and they did it with out the roof part and it is awesome, I have a little bit theat goes up behind my gum in the front about 1 inch, it gives a little suction and with polygrip it is great, no other adhesive works better than the poligrip, I tried them all , good luck to you

      • Becky

        How did you trim them?

        • DayZ

          Make sure you are not allergic to the denture adhesive first. I cannot use Fixodent or Polygrip either one because I am allergic to both.

    • jstarusa

      I barely could afford the dentures, and implants are high dollar or I would have them instead. Ive been back to the dentist three times because of the gaging and hes filed a little more off each time. Last time I wore them about an hour and all of a sudden the gaging started again. Needless to say its very embarrassing to say the least! I dont have an answer, wish I did. Wish dentist were more reasonable so we could all afford implants.

  • Cascade67 so much for service and answering questions sheesh

  • ladyliegh

    Almost a month & still gagging. I wish I could go back & do things differently.
    I may need all implants. So, frustrating & embarrassing didn’t expect this
    problem, Pain I expected. I miss food. Going for the snap in, I already have 4 implants.
    Now I have to gag for 4 or 5 months before I find out if they work.

    • Thomas Prindle

      I have only a minor problem with gagging, but I really don’t enjoy eating with a denture covering the roof of my mouth.

  • Gnomey

    I spent $2400 and weeks having a set of teeth made by our family dentist. Gagged and could not wear them. He said just get used to them. Went to a same day dental clinic and they made a horseshoe upper that I secure with adhesive. The upper looks just like the lower. They said it”s done all the time. I LOVE them. The whole set was only $400, and I had them same day. Some of us cannot get implants or get over gagging. The open roof makes all the difference! Good luck!

    • Karen

      What state are you in? Are they actually called “horseshoe dentures”. Am 68 and having a horrible time!

    • Jill McCoy

      Have you answered where you are??? Searching online for months, this is the perfect answer… Where do you get dentures for$400????

      • JAMIE

        I don’t know where you are but I Got mine in Georgia a full set upper and lower for $495 a single was $395 or get a full set for $495 I do not wear a lower yet but I had it made for just in Case. The place was Bennich Denistry Woodstock Ga

    • More info, please! :)

  • elaine

    I’m so through with these denture with the gaging I get the worst headache.
    I keep them out so much when I put them back in over night sometimes all day
    most of my face hurt and there the headache again. Can’t put the teeth glue when I’m gagging I have to get them out quick. When I go out to eat I sit and talk are take care of the little ones not to eat. I’ve been in so much I’m depressed and the time changing is coming soon. OMG

  • Callie Marie

    My husband has always had a really strong gag reflex, so I worry about him getting dentures. I didn’t know that touching the roof of your mouth can cause someone to gag. I will ask our dentist about the possibility of dental implants.

  • Casey Jones

    Thanks Dr. Joe for the advice on how to prevent gagging while putting in dentures! Maybe I will talk to my dentist about implants. I think I will stick with the dentures though. It isn’t a huge deal for me!

  • Becky Kimes Hastings

    I have had my dentures for almost 2 years. I puck almost every time I put them in and the bottoms rub so bad they give me water blisters and the dentist says there is nothing more he can do, I have been there 32 times to get them adjusted and the dentist will not do anything else with them,I was thinking of going some where else to get dentures done but I don’t want to spend the money if they don’t work, I feel that the dentures I have now r entirely toooooo big for my mouth but the dentist says no, what would u do?

  • disqus_g9vTsrR9is

    “Bring your denture into a dentist and ask if you are a candidate for dental implants.” Sorry dude, that costs twice as much as the dentures themselves (my dentist let me have mine as ‘dentures in a day’ for $1,400 all told, down from the $1,800 original quote). An implanted tooth costs $2,500 just for one, the post being $1,200-1,500 of that cost. Maybe if dentists would realize that those little posts of surgical steel only really cost $100 (or less!) people could manage it. As for me, I’m in [double!] Dutch because I already had a pretty sensitive gag reflex before I got my upper denture – that extra sensitive reaction was a ‘gift’ from my pregnancies. :P

    • bob

      I’m wearing dentures while I wait for the bone graft to take so I can have implants done. Getting implants aren’t the answer unless I want to walk around in my professional setting with no teeth for six months.

  • Donna Turner

    Since I don’t have the money for implants can I remove the ruff of the top denture and make it look like the bottom one. I have real bad gag reflex

  • Stevechang64

    My mother has started choking on food now once on a weekly basis and I’d like to find out what this could be. I wonder if her dentures are to blame for this or if it is something else. I don’t know if she is a candidate for dentures as she has very little bone in her jaw.

  • Stan Jones 57

    Who can afford implants? If I could I would never have gotten the full plate to begin with.

  • DayZ

    I placed a mortgage on my home in order to pay for dental implants, thousands of dollars, and they failed after only a few short months. I guess I am one of the rare people that cannot have dental implants because I certainly cannot afford to pay thousands more only to have them fail again. I’ve had four (4) sets of dentures made and all have caused gagging. I cannot use denture adhesive because I have an allergic reaction the them. I’m open to suggestions because at this point I just don’t wear my dentures. It’s a good thing I’m retired and don’t have to leave my house very often.

  • Katherine Schrautemyer

    I know it sucks. I rarely wear them. I try to eat things I can without them. And now find myself in the position of hardly being able to eat at all. I have become anorexic I think. But I have had bariatric bypass which complicated things also.


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