Invisalign with Gag Reflex Yea or Nay?

I’ve always wanted to get braces, but I’ve avoided them because I knew I couldn’t handle all that stuff in my mouth- especially the impressions. I have the world’s strongest gag reflex and I am sure I would have lost it during the impressions and all those check-ups. Is Invisalign any different? It seems like it would be easier to handle, but I don’t want to invest all that money on something I can’t stomach.



Dear Jillian,

The good news is that most Invisalign impressions are done digitally nowadays, so there’s no gooey mess to trigger your gag reflex. Usually, it’s just a matter of the dentist using a little scanner on your teeth, and a digital representation of them is captured instantly.

In the long run, you shouldn’t have any issues wearing the aligners. They hug the natural shape of your teeth and have very little bulk to them. If anything, you may have trouble taking them in and out at first. Over time, you’ll learn how to do it without causing a problem or bumping into anything. There is evidence to show that a gag reflex can become desensitized over time if you’re continually performing an action that would normally trigger it. So, not only will it likely not bother you at all after a few weeks, but it’s also possible you’ll be more tolerant during other treatments because you went through Invisalign treatment.

If you find yourself having trouble, try to make yourself as relaxed as possible. Some people swear by a Listerine rinse before they put in their aligners, and others are less bothered when they find a focal point in the room to concentrate on when taking them in or out. If you still have trouble after this, check with your dentist. He’s likely to have a whole arsenal of tricks up his sleeve that might work better for you. You should also have a frank discussion with him about this before you begin any treatment, just so you can be reassured and to make sure you’re both on the same page.

This blog is sponsored by Elgin dentist, Dr. Steve Sirin.

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