What Are the Dangers of Benzocaine?

Over-the-counter teething medications for infants like Baby Orajel, Anbesol, and Orabase have been used for many years and are still commonly used today to relieve teething pain in children. Benzocaine is the local anesthetic found in these medications which numbs the gums and eases the pain. Back in 2006, the FDA issued a warning about the use of benzocaine gels and liquids and there use for children under the age of two. It was discovered that a rare serious disease of methemoglobinemia can develop in children two and under which reduces the oxygen carried through the bloodstream from the use of benzocaine products. In very severe cases death is a result.

Methemoglobinemia is difficult for parents to recognize because the symptoms are not always obvious or attributed to the condition. Some of the signs are shortness of breath, fatigue, rapid heart rate, dizziness, pale or blue colored skin, lips, and nail beds. Instead of using benzocaine products to relive your child’s teething pain we recommend the following as a better alternative.

  • Use a chilled teething ring, not frozen
  • Massage or gently rub your child’s gums with your finger
  • If solid foods are in your babies diet, you may offer something edible for gnawing on like a chilled cucumber or carrot, however watch for pieces that break off to prevent a choking hazard.
  • Tylenol or Advil may help as well

Any questions or concerns you may have about benzocaine products or reducing teething pain in your child’s teeth, consult with your child’s pediatrician or pediatric dentist.

Post Courtesy of Peck Family Dentistry, P.C.


Mini Dental Implant or Traditional Dental Implant?

I have a broken, abscessed tooth which I need to have extracted and then replaced with an implant. I have an implant for another tooth and while I’m appreciative to have it, I don’t care for how it looks aesthetically. Now that I need another implant (10 years after the last one), I’m deciding between a mini-implant and a regular implant. Does anyone have any advice on which to pick?

Thanks, Katlin

Dear Katlin,

Mini dental implants are used more to support dentures or partials. Some dentists have used mini implants for single missing teeth in the anterior region if the area is too small to place a traditional implant. The difference between the mini and the traditional implant is the diameter of the implant.  Mini dental implants are smaller in diameter and are a solid one piece titanium alloy screw, therefore less expensive than the standard implant. If you have plenty of bone and enough room to place one, most dentists will recommend the traditional dental implant because it will be more durable in the long run.

In regards to your dissatisfaction of your existing dental implant, it is vital that when you have implants placed to make sure you are going to a dentist that has the proper training and credentials to do this type of surgical procedure. Crowns that are placed over a dental implant are totally determined by the placement of the implant, so if the implant is not placed in the correct position there is only so much your restorative dentist can do to maintain or increase aesthetics. Have the implant evaluated and see if a custom angled abutment can be used to help correct the implant or you may be able to have a new crown made. We recommend you have a consultation with a cosmetic dentist to find out your options.

This post is courtesy of Peck Family Dentistry, P.C.