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Not everyone who avoids the dentist has a dental phobia. Some patients struggle with gagging when anything is placed too far into their mouth, or it can be from a stranger placing anything in their mouth. Patients with severe gag reflex struggle to get the dental care they need due to this naturally sensitive reaction. Dr. Cory Gaunt and the team at Downriver Smiles can work with patients with a severe gag reflex to help them get the quality oral care they need in Spokane.

The gag reflex is a natural reaction to prevent anything from reaching the throat and possibly choking you. Unless you deliberately swallow, this reaction kicks out any object that reaches too far into the mouth. While it is meant to protect you, a severe or overly sensitive gag reaction can be problematic for some people.

This totally natural reaction is nothing to bring shame or embarrassment. Dr. Gaunt and our team at Downriver Smiles have dealt with this issue before and are wholly compassionate and understanding of your situation. We can take special measures to keep from triggering your gag reflex, and our team can also help you with pleasant distractions that can redirect your attention and help ease the reflex action.

Special Needs Dentistry in Spokane

Dr. Gaunt and the talented team at Downriver Smiles are always ready to accommodate your specific needs at our oral care practice in Spokane. We understand that some people deal with unique challenges every day – we only see them on occasion. So, we always want to respond with patience, understanding and compassion when you come to us with a special need or problem.

Patients with a severe gag reflex can often be distracted by music or television so that the reflex action is not as bad, allowing them to receive the care they need. We provide pillows, blankets and headphones to all our patients so they can enjoy music or a show while receiving oral treatments. This provides a measure of comfort and relaxation, and it is all some patients need to overcome a gag reflex.

Others may have more trouble relaxing and need some extra assistance. Dr. Gaunt provides sedation dentistry options to help patients relax and get the care they need. We offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oral conscious sedation. Speak with a team member if you have a severe gag reflex when you schedule your appointment with us. We can prepare in advance to provide you the best care possible.


Downriver Smiles
Based on 228 reviews
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Pat ShelleyPat Shelley
02:13 02 Dec 23
Thoroughly professional.
Cheryl LaneCheryl Lane
02:15 01 Dec 23
William BurgermyerWilliam Burgermyer
02:15 30 Nov 23
Very professional and caring people
Ted AkedTed Aked
02:59 29 Nov 23
Nice pleasant office, no pressure, friendly gentle cleaning! Thanks!
Michael DealMichael Deal
02:43 29 Nov 23
I really appreciated the detail explanation of the services. Truly welcoming.
Rachael PetersonRachael Peterson
01:53 19 Oct 23
Dr. Gaunt is the best! This is the first dentist that I have had a good experience with. I had a root canal done and was so nervous, they made me comfortable and had it done within an hour. I would definitely recommend Downriver smiles!
Vyrdi OVyrdi O
04:26 10 Oct 23
I had the worst dental anxiety before going to Dr. Gaunt years ago- to the point I let my teeth go until they were breaking, in need of numerous fillings, root canals, and extractions. Dr. Gaunt was by far the best dentist I have ever had; he explained everything in as much detail as I required, made me comfortable with any procedure and has won my and my family's business throughout the years with his excellent care and demeanor. Dr. Gaunt and all his wonderful staff are a joy to work with and I can guarantee our continued visits in the years to come for any work my family requires. Thank you Downriver Smiles staff!
Cinda SchusterCinda Schuster
16:04 28 Sep 23
Dr Gaunt is a great dentist. I have been seeing him for years he always does a great job. I always feel confident in his care.The staff at Downriver Smiles Dentistry is always helpful & kind.
Lori AspenleiterLori Aspenleiter
04:40 12 Sep 23
Dr Guant is a great Dentist! He is very friendly, professional, thorough, compassionate and never ever rushes. He answers any of your questions or concerns! He spends extra time and does outstanding work! The office staff is very friendly and accommodating! Highly recommend Downriver Smiles!
Patty McGinnisPatty McGinnis
01:17 07 Sep 23
The employees at Shadle Smiles are so friendly and make sure you understand your procedures and cost before work is done. Dr Harding was my dentist and listened to my concerns about work to be done. He only does what work really needs to be done and what can wait. Love this place!
  • The employees at Shadle Smiles [Downriver] are so friendly and make sure you understand your procedures and cost before work is done. Dr Harding was my dentist and listened to my concerns about work to be done. He only does what work really needs to be done and what can wait. Love this place!

    Patty M.
  • Best dentist in Spokane! Don’t look any further! I chipped my front tooth and they got me in the next day! Left with a beautiful smile and my wallet still intact! I wasn’t an existing patient, but I am now! Awesome environment and extremely friendly staff! 10/10 hands down would recommend!

    Cortney G.
  • Downriver Smiles is amazing! They provide the kind of experience that we all hope for when going to the dentist. Everyone there is caring and takes all the time needed to make sure you are comfortable and that your questions are answered. Dr. Harding is wonderful! I would never want to go anywhere else.

    Chris B.
  • Dr. Harding is gentle and thorough in his care. He always explains what he is doing and why. Great office staff, too.

    Sheri D.


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3404 W Northwest Blvd,
Spokane, WA 99205

8:00am - 5:00pm
7:00am - 5:00pm
7:00am - 5:00pm
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8:00am - 4:00pm