5+ Year Member
Mar 16, 2015
  1. Dental Student
Kinda a weird question.. I have a pretty bad gag reflex when it comes to upper impressions, and was wondering what kids in your class do when it comes to taking impressions on other students with gag reflexes? I'd totally be down to be the test dummy, but it's kinda embarrassing and probably annoying to gag for a minute straight. I've never puked from it, just gag like an idiot. Anybody have an answer to this?

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5+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2015
  1. Dentist
Tip your head down and tuck your chin after having the tray placed. Breathe through your nose and wiggle your toes. Do not try taking out the tray and have them take the mandibular impression first. Sometimes a numbing spray can be given into the throat to lesson the vagus nerve response.

I've got a mad gag reflex too and it's a struggle, and I've taken impressions on hundreds of people so I've seen lots of fellow gaggers as well. Even been thrown up on. Sometimes it's also a good idea to have an extra bag on hand (like a chair cover or something smaller) that you hold under you so that excessive saliva or puke goes into the bag.
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Senior Member
Moderator Emeritus
15+ Year Member
Nov 30, 2000
Brooklyn, ct
  1. Dentist
A couple of tricks we use in my office for gaggers and impressions

#1 I full agree with the prior advice of head down a bit, and telling the patient to wiggle their toes
#2 I will actually lightly tap with my fingers on the patients forehead - works as a distraction technique
#3 I start talking about random things, completely unrelated to dentistry and what I'm doing at that moment in time (again it's all about the distraction options)
#4 Most people will seat the tray back to front, try seating it front to back, as that more closely mimics the sensation of how food enters our mouths and works it's way back towards the esophagus
#5 Really get your timing and water temperature down for when mixing the alginate, loading the tray, and getting it seated so it will set as quickly as possible and you can get the quality impression you need - it really is worth doing so trial and error with taking an impression of a typodont arch to get your working time and water temp combo figured out
#6 Be thankful that someday in the likely not too distant future we'll be taking digital scans for just about all impressions and we won't have to deal with gaggers and actual intraoral use of impression material!!! :soexcited::clap::biglove:
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