In everyday dental practice one encounters patients who either believe themselves, or subsequently prove themselves, to be gaggers. Gagging is most frequently experienced during impression making, but is also reported during the taking of radiographs, in the placement of restorations in posterior teeth and, in some individuals, the insertion of a finger for examination purposes. This paper describes some techniques that can easily be mastered by clinicians that may help both operator and patient avoid this unpleasant occurrence. Techniques such as acupressure, the adaptation of trays, or even the use of alternative impression materials and breathing techniques all have their place, and clinicians may have to try several of these, perhaps in conjunction, in order to assist their patients.
A significant number of patients attend for dental treatment that require impressions, and for those with gagging problems it can be a horrendous experience. Being able to make the procedure less of an ordeal is better for all involved.