Tips for inserting dexcom G5 sensor

When my son inserts the sensor it is not working ie no readings to his phone. He has watched the video for inserting sensor but I thought there may be a trick to this. His A1C was several points lower when he was able to keep it in and working. And he is getting discouraged because it isnt working and I hear insertion hurts! I appreciate any advice!

Hm. This sounds like it’s worth some trouble shooting. Have you called Dexcom customer service? I’m sure they would be able to review things and see what the trouble is.

It sounds like this might be a new situation. Has he changed transmitters? Is there no connection on his phone - not even ???

Welcome to TUD @nicksmom.16–we’re glad to have you here. There are people with a wide range of experience here, parents as well, and lots of support and good tips on things like this.

G5 definitely stings a bit on insertion but I find it goes away almost instantly. I think there are some topical skin-numbing treatments you can use, maybe someone else knows about those.

As far as the sensor not talking to his phone goes, there’s no special trick but there are a lot of possibilities as to what’s wrong–as @Lorraine just posted, your best bet is to contact Dexcom, they’ve always been great at helping me through any problems. One possibility if you’re using a new transmitter since the last time you had it working: check the Bluetooth settings on the phone and if the old transmitter is still there, select it and choose “forget.”

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It is working! Thanks Lorraine. My son is 16 so he doesn’t involve me in
the how to parts of his CGM. He has had it for less than a year and it has
been trouble to change and get readings throughout this time. When it is
in and working it is great! I joined this group this morning because it is
always helpful to hear from those who live diabetes everyday! I will
encourage him to join too! My next task is to figure out Clarity.

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Make sure he does call Dexcom about the failed sensors – they will replace them, even if the problem was his fault.

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As others have suggested, contacting Dexcom customer service is the way to go. It’s excellent, and they’re happy to give the benefit of the doubt to the customer and replace sensors at no cost. Another tip you will see mentioned repeatedly on this forum is to place them on the back of the arm as opposed to the abdomen. I do this too, and find longevity and adhesion to be better, and the accuracy to be exactly the same as on the abdomen. It’s so out of the way, I often forget it’s even there. If the sensor tape ever peels, all I ever need to do is to touch it up with Skintac liquid (available on Amazon). I always get a minimum of two weeks from each sensor. Others on this forum get even longer use.

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Thank you to all! I will share these suggestions. His sensor hasn’t even lasted a week so obviously the motivation to keep it in is dwindling.

I think talking to others with Type 1 who have similar struggles will be helpful to him. I will suggest that he join the forum.

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It does indeed sound like your son would benefit from getting some tips directly. If he isn’t thrilled by joining a forum that you suggest, which I understand not all teens would be, maybe you can suggest that he talk to a CDE especially if one helped get him set up on the G5. Another possibility would be if he knows any other T1s from school, diabetes camp, a support group or his clinic. Sometimes it’s easier for a teen to talk to another teen or for a T1 to talk to another T1.

I also second what others have said about calling Dexcom for troubleshooting.

It terms of pain during insertion, it truly varies from person to person and even from insertion to insertion. Some advice from my educator, that I thought sounded crazy at first, was to do both insertion steps at the same time. After you have pressed the adhesive down, you are supposed to press the plunger to insert the needle until your hear two clicks and then pull back on the guard to remove it, also until you hear two clicks. My educator suggested pressing the plunger and pulling the guard back at the same time. This seemed absolutely crazy to me, but I humored her and it has made so much difference in terms of pain, for me. I thought I would completely miss the clicks informing me that the sensor is in or that the needle is out, but I actually can hear all four clicks in rapid succession.

As far as sensors lasting, if a sensor does not last a full 7 days, then call it into Dexcom. I do wonder, though, which aspect isn’t lasting. If it is an adhesive issue, have him try out different methods such as the SkinTac Christopher suggested or something like Grifgrips or another tape to go over the Dexcom tape. If it’s a consistency issue, then you really need to let Dexcom know because they will replace them, and then they have the data in case it was a bad lot. Also, for some of us consistency changes drastically based on where we wear the sensor. Technically, it is only approved for abdominal use, but many of us have found great success on our thighs or the back of our arms. My last arm location got me clear readings for 4 weeks straight, but most of my sensors last about 2 weeks. He should definitely be getting at least an entire week of clear readings, but this may include the occasional ??? for various reasons.

Hopefully, you can find what works for your son and family to get the most out of his CGM.

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Your response was very helpful. His sensor lasted a week this time! He
says it gave a warning that it would stop at a certain time and it did.
How have you stretched it to more time?

Thank you! This forum has been very helpful.

The only way to get a sensor to last longer than 7 days is to tell the app/receiver that it is a new sensor. He can either wait for the sensor to stop on its own, or when it starts warning him he can choose to stop sensor. Once the sensor session has ended he will have the option to tap to start sensor warmup. If he taps that, then the app/receiver will think it is a new sensor and he will be starting his 2nd week with the same sensor.


Just started week three with my current sensor last night. Assuming it makes it that long (which, based on how well this sensor has worked since Day 1, is likely), I plan to change sensors at the end of Week 3. I have had some last longer, but they I have mixed results in week 4 and prefer to replace sensors on certain days of the week, I’ll do it next Wednesday.


@Thas Mr. Longevity… how long can you make your sensor battery last? How long do they typically last? More than 6 months?

When I first started using the G5, insertion was painful.
Figured out, for me, that I just ‘slap’ the inserter button.
It doesn’t take very much pressure, but there is very little, to no pain at all when I do it this way.

I am actually unsure what you mean by this.

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If I try and do it like they tell you, it takes to long to insert the needle. And it can hurt, a bit…
I hold the inserter with one hand, and lightly slap/smack the inserter button. Not a lot of pressure, but a FAST slap will insert the needle nicely.

I push the inserter in with my thumb then pull back on the collar with my fingers.

So you slap the inserter with your hand and then pull back on the collar? So the insertion would be faster but then a slightly longer gap before the collar is pulled back.

Am I getting this proper?

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The only insertion that I’ve ever felt was my first one, back in September, 2017. I guess I must be doing something “right” now, as I don’t feel them anymore. I don’t think my wife has ever felt the insertions I’ve done for her (I have done all but 2 of her insertions since September). I pinch up the skin prior to pushing in the plunger quickly. About 2 seconds or less later, I retract the inserter needle.

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Yes, you are correct. Anything slower then this causes a bit of pain.
I watched every video, etc. Pinched up skin, every trick. If I don’t put it in FAST, it will hurt.


Ok - I’m using Dexcom, so the transmitter lasts. I’m using the G4, so the battery is supposed to be good for at least 6 months, though I’ve had one last as much as a year.

The sensors for the G4 and G5 are the same; however, so I think my experience with sensors is appropriate to this discussion. I use Opsite Flexifix tape to help keep the tape on and make “repairs” to that tape as needed throughout my wear of a sensor.

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So the G4 transmitter lasts for 6 months and the G5 last for 90 days? One step forward, 2 steps back? WT* This is poor technology.