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Marie, Dentistry/Healthcare/Counselor
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 714
Experience:  25 year in dental/health care/counsel women/families/alcohol/drug
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i have a difficult time swallowing saliva. not food or ...

Customer Question

i have a difficult time swallowing saliva. not food or liquid just saliva. it's worse if my head is back as in the dentist's chair. have an enlarged thyroid with nodules that has been outruled. have had an esophagram, endoscopy, swallow study. have seen ENT 4 times. this happened shortly after a neck injury. i have 3 bulged disks, stenosis, possible myelopathy, osteophyte at the C5-6 plus a pinched nerve at the C7.. my throat feels numb. i have no feeling in it therefore it is easier to swallow food and liquid because then i feel something there. it's the average all day swallowing of saliva that i have to force myself to do. had to leave the dentist ' office because everytime he put the chair back i started gagging and couldn't breathe. it feels as if my throat is totally closed when my head is back. had vocal cord polyps removed 5 years ago and during the surgery the same thing happened and they couldn't get the intubation tube down. now when i have surgery they put the tube in while i am awake. what could be causing this? i have seen several dr.s and they are all stumpred but that doesn't help my dicomfort or fear when i can't swallow. i have to clench my back teeth together and really make my brain force me to swallow. any help will be appreciated.
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Marie replied 10 years ago.

Hi! I've been in dentistry for over 25 years and your is not an uncommon problem. I've had people want to run out of the room because they had panic attacks from the fear of chocking. I want to ask you a very serious question, and I am not kidding. Most of the people you have this fear stems from an early childhood fear or memory. I want you to think long and hard about any time you nearly chocked, or almost drowned or had someone hold you down and force you to do something you did not want to do. The gag reflex is stimulated by memory or smell. Visual memory can be very powerful. You may not remember right away, but if you think about it, you may find something that is the trigger. If that is the case, then you have to do an memory autopsy. Reduce it down to components and then minimize the fear. I know this sounds simple, it can be, but it takes time. And this has nothing to do with eating. This is a memory trigger. I hope this helped you, most dentists are pretty understanding and I have actually worked on people standing up like the old days so I didn't have to put the chair so far back. If you have any other questions, please ask.

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