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Gagging is a normal protective defence mechanism of our body that prevents entry of foreign bodies into the airway, which can create undue havoc during dental treatment especially in children. The present study aims to assess the prevalence of gagging and any of its existing association with dental fear and anxiety in children prior to dental treatment. A cross-sectional pilot study design was conducted in South Indian children (age group: 3-10 years) having no history of underlying psychological and systemic ailment. Different assessment scales of gagging (Gagging Assessment Scale [GAS], Shorter Objective Form of Gagging Problem Assessment [GPA-SF]/OGPA), dental fear (Children’s Fear Survey Schedule Dental Subscale [CFSS-DS]) and anxiety (Modified Dental Anxiety Scale- Faces [MDASF]) were administered to evaluate their response prior to the treatment. Younger children specifically females demonstrated severity of gagging reflex, which was directly correlated to their higher perception of dental fear and anxiety. However, no conclusive evidence of an association between gagging, dental fear and anxiety was ascertained. Prior knowledge of the gagging problem in children can help clinicians to effectively modify the treatment modalities for successful outcomes, while GAS could be a reliable tool for assessing its severity in children prior to dental treatment.
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