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#1 Bird Lady

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 10:57 AM

Does anyone have an issue with going to the dentist? I didn't go for a year while doing my cytoxin and I need to go now. In the past I,ve always gone regularly. There's the thing about your mouth getting smaller and my gag reflex is so bad I gag when I brush my teeth. Is that part of this disease? Does anyone else have this problem and if so what do you do? Birdman
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Julie (Bird Lady)

#2 janey


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Posted 12 May 2008 - 03:18 PM

Hey Birdman,
We do have a section on microstomia (small mouth) that has some suggestions about dental work. You might want to check it out. I don't have small mouth anymore, but I do have a horrible gag reflex plus the reflux when I lay flat. I try to make my appointments midmorning or midafternoon and they keep the dental chair inclined above "flat". I think this helps with both reflex and reflux. I also use my music player and listen to relaxing music which also seems to help. It doesn't completely drown out the noise, but it certainly reduces it.

Please make sure you go to the dentist. There are many dental problems that can occur with scleroderma.

Hope this helps.

Big Hugs,
Janey Willis
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International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

#3 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 03:57 PM

Hi Birdman,

I've just added a section to our dental page regarding the gag reflex. There are many tips for overcoming the gag reflex, some of them quite interesting! Since the page is still uploading, the direct link to the gag reflex article is:


Please let us know which of these tips you find most helpful!
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
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Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#4 Buttons


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Posted 13 May 2008 - 01:56 AM

Hi Birdman

It is always hard going to the dentist when you've had a gap in checkups. I had an excellent dentist & went for regular 6 months check ups & then I moved & couldn't find one until last year.

I had never thought about it before but I also gag when at the dentist in fact a few years ago when they had to take an impression for replacing a crown I gagged so much that it through me into a full blown asthma attack! It really did frighten the dentist his face was an absolute picture! My you I didn't feel to good myself. It does worry me when I go now because when they do x-rays or put the pads into your mouth I gag.

Shelley I just checked that website and there are some good tips.

I do have an appointment tomorrow for the dentist which does get harder now because my mouth has gone smaller & I suffer with a dry mouth.


#5 mando621


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Posted 13 May 2008 - 03:41 AM

I notice the same thing. My gag reflex started getting bad after I had my third child in 1994. I can't keep anything in my mouth for very long, which eliminates gum chewing for helping with dry mouth. Wow, I never even thought of gag reflex issues as a problem associated with this.

Dentist issues are coming to a head for me. I was just at the dentist for 6 month cleaning. We have been dealing with my dry mouth and burning mouth for about 3-4 years now. I mentioned to him that I finally thought I'd figured out my problem was scleroderma. He really fell apart. He said it made sense now, all the problems I've been having and he kept doing the same thing over and over in my mouth. I don't think he was even paying attention to what he was doing. I have had really good teeth and gums up to now. I'm really trying to keep them that way. I brush twice at night, once with electric without toothpaste and once with regular brush and toothpaste, then I try to remember to brush in the morning. My dentist prescribed some toothpaste that has more floride to hopefully help. I also went back to Biotene rinse.

I'm noticing my mouth is getting smaller. It is hard to hold my mouth open for the whole appointment. I dread the process, but I make sure I go regularly.

Does anyone else notice that their lips pull their teeth back? The dentist said that is something that happens. I need to get a bite guard for night time because of grinding and the pulling, but I don't know if I can keep it in my mouth because of the problem with my gag reflex.


#6 Sweet


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Posted 13 May 2008 - 06:17 PM

yes, I do have a problem going to the dentist. I am unable to open my mouth very far and I can't hold it open longer than a second. They use a bite block for me even when cleaning teeth. The end result is I am in quite a bit of pain for the next few days. I have to eat soft foods and not open my mouth much. (My husband likes that part) :)
Warm and gentle hugs,

ISN Support Specialist
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)