Toothbrush - Gag Reflex Hypnosis - Dentist Information

Reducing a strong gag reflex

A strong gag reflex can be troublesome for both dentists and patients alike. Being unable to thoroughly clean the teeth can lead to poor oral hygiene which inevitably leads to more dental procedures. Being unable to complete dental procedures such as a simple check-up, tooth extraction or taking a mould just adds to this cycle.

Believe it or not, a strong gag reflex can be reduced. In a lot of cases, the gagging is a protective response.

Case Study 1: A patient who had a bad experience during a tooth extraction can brush their teeth without issue but experiences a strong gag reflex when in the dental chair

Case Study 2: Another patient would only experience a strong gag reflex when any dental drill was turned on. The sound of the drill was similar enough to the sound of a wasp (the real cause of the issue)

So how can hypnosis help reduce a strong gag reflex?

There are a number of interventions that can be utilised to help a patient. The first step is education. Understanding how the gag reflex works can help relieve some of the stress that it causes. Using hypnosis, there are a number of options:

ASSOCIATIONS – If the gag reflex is exaserbated due to an association then that association can be explored and reprocessed correctly

ANAESTHESIA – teaching a patient to create numbness in the throat removes any sensations. As a result of this anaesthetic effect, no tools or implements will be perceived and therefore the gagging response will not be triggered. A patient can be taught to create this effect with the use of a trigger. The trigger can be something that the patient does or says, or it can even be the dentist chair or the dentist themsel (entering the dentist suite triggers the response)

SUGGESTIONS – Suggestions for relaxation and ego strengthening can empower the client to break the pattern

TURNING THE RESPONSE DOWN – as we can amplify a sensation in the body, so it only makes sense that we can turn one down as well. Teaching a patient how to turn down the response to a normal level can remove this issue altogether

If a strong gag reflex is effecting one of your patients, then contact us today and see how we can assist them.


If you have a patient that is struggling or may benefit from hypnotherapy to reduce their gag reflex, or wish to discuss how hypnosis can be integrated into your practice then contact Ed on 07921 220557, email at or fill in our contact form.