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Benzocaine is Not Safe for Teething!

Posted on August 27th, 2021

Houston dentist, Dr. Meghna Dassani at Dassani Dentistry discusses benzocaine, a local anesthetic that is used to relieve dental pain, and its possible risks to children under 2.Benzocaine has been an over-the-counter local dental anesthetic for people of all ages for many years. It is available in most drugstores, often under product names such as Anbesol®, Orajel™ , Hurricaine®, and Baby Orajel™. 

Recently, the use of benzocaine has been linked to a rare but serious condition called methemoglobinemia, a disorder that reduces the amount of oxygen being transported through the bloodstream to such low levels that it may even prove fatal. As a result of these findings, the U.S.  Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that benzocaine products not be used to treat children under the age of 2 without close supervision by a medical professional like Dr. Meghna Dassani

Methemoglobinemia symptoms may present from minutes to hours following ingestion, including:

  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, and nail beds
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Rapid heart rate

If you think your child is suffering from methemoglobinemia, take them to the emergency room immediately.

If your child is experiencing discomfort while teething, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you try soothing their mouth with a chilled teething ring or massaging the gums with your fingers. Chamomile drops have also been used by some parents as a natural remedy.

If you want to know more about benzocaine, the FDA provides consumer updates from time to time—and you can always ask us if there has been any new information as well. If you have any other questions or need to schedule a visit for your tiny tot, get in touch with Dassani Dentistry today!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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About Meghna Dassani, DMD

Dr. Meghna Dassani received her initial dental training from the University of Mumbai, India, where she graduated in 1996 as Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS). After working as an associate for one year, she established her own practice in Mumbai, India. She successfully operated this practice for six years prior to moving to the US. When Dr. Meghna Dassani is not in the office she is at home being a mommy to her 2 beautiful girls and enjoying time relaxing with her husband. Since opening her own practice in 2011 she doesn’t have a lot of free time but when the time allows she enjoys traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, visiting with friends and family and of course SHOPPING with a Starbucks in her hand!

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