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Using A Mouth Guard


I recently got a mouth guard to wear at night time because I grind my teeth in my sleep. I can't make it through the night though. After about 2 minutes in my mouth my gag reflex kicks in, and I have to spit it out. I went back to the dentist and he adjusted it for me as much as possible, so it is more comfortable, but I still can't keep in in my mouth.

I have tried breathing deep, and also trying to get used to it during the day, but I can't have it in for more than 2 minutes. Any ideas to curb the gag response? The dentist says that it is a matter of getting used to it, but that hasn't happed yet. Thanks!




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By Holly 367 1,263 10/22/2008 Flag

I had the same problem. Went to s specialist some years back and the same thing happened (including, "Get used to it"). My regular dentist told me to wear one, and when I explained what happened, he had me bring it into his office. He trimmed down the part that goes in the back of the mouth, and since then, no problem. Just a little thinning - made all the difference in the world.
Considering how much you paid, have a professional thin it for you.

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By Sandi/Poor But Proud 463 2,126 10/22/2008 Flag

A friend of mine has one, and she said that sleeping on her back made it worse. Perhaps you can, if you don't already, sleep on your tummy till you get used to it? Good luck!

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By travis in ohio (Guest Post) 10/22/2008 Flag

I have been involved in and teaching martial arts for 30 years and deal with the gag reflex all the time. you are on the right track. breathe deep and try to forget that it is there, then after about 60 seconds do what we all did. trim down or cut off the back end. Also have you formed it to fit your teeth? if you soften it in hot water(cool it with cold a little before you put it in your mouth) when it is soft then bite down on it and suck hard and it will form and be easier to wear. It will still keep you from grinding but may then help with the gag problem. Good luck

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By Barbara Snyder 13 98 10/22/2008 Flag

I don't know about you but I don't care how much you thin it out I still gag. I can not wear my teeth and I know some people who look at me weird but I gag big time also have sinus problems and took pills and stuff never worked. Their also are people who gag all the time. So good luck maybe with time you can get over it I hope and pray you do or find a different solutation.

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By Kim Churchman 3 1,277 10/22/2008 Flag

Easy for that dentist to say!
Some people find that a strong rinse of Listerine, any flavor, zings the mouth so much that the gag reflex settles down for a good while. Severe gagging has been caused by many things, but it's usually some repressed memory of trauma to the face, such as force feeding or sexual assault or attempted suffocation. For the night guard you can make sure that it has minimum material all around the inside, only within the biting surfaces of the teeth. Hypnosis is a good idea for this.

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By Connie H. (Guest Post) 10/22/2008 Flag

I had the same problem. I would be asleep and wake up with the guard on my pillow where I spit it out/or took it out in the middle of the night. Some people just gag more than others. Maybe a trimming of the guard might help but I doubt if a shrink could help the gagging reflex.

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By susan winship 4 405 10/23/2008 Flag

Try sleeping with more pillows under your shoulders and head so that you aren't reclining as much. When I go to the dentist I can't take anything going on in my mouth if I'm lying down (which is the way the chairs work now). Also, sleeping on your side might help...if you spit out the guard,so be it....can the dentist coat your teeth with something that will keep the grinding from wearing away the enamel?

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By Rachel Aguilar 1 15 11/10/2008 Flag

I used to go to the dentist to get my custom night guard for grinding. I now use a kit i bought at the grocery store. It's dropped in water and you fit it to your mouth by sucking. And feel free to trim what doesn't fit. Works great for me because i can trim to make the fit way more comfortable. Cost around $20.

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By brigittes 11 10 05/21/2009 Flag

HI! This is Brigittes
Thanks for all the ideas. I finally got better at it. Firstly, I went to another dentist in that office and he trimmed it. Then, I only put it in when I am lying on my side (not on my back or standing up) and I try to be with my chin pointed down (I use the pillow trick mentioned by Tennesue above). Though I occasionally wake up with it out of my mouth, I don't gag anymore.
Thanks for all the help! Brigitte

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