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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.


  • Dr. Gaunt and the entire staff at Downriver Smiles are fantastic people. Very thorough, professional, caring and kind. The attention to detail and desire to leave me better than they found me makes this office a cut above. Thank you Downriver Smiles for being so thoughtful and helpful every time I come in.

    Jack D.
  • 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.
  • Dr. Gaunt replaced my two front crowns that I have had since I was 15 years old and now I am 59. He was very meticulous in sizing, shaping, fitting and color matching and spent adequate time to achieve those results. This is the best dental care I have ever had in my life. I highly recommend Downriver Smiles and their very friendly and caring staff.

    Tim A.


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3404 W Northwest Blvd,
Spokane, WA 99205

8:00am - 5:00pm
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