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J Dent Anesth Pain Med. 2016 Dec;16(4):237-244. doi: 10.17245/jdapm.2016.16.4.237. Epub 2016 Dec 31.

Recent advances in topical anesthesia.

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Department of Pediatric Dentistry, School of Dentistry, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea.


Topical anesthetics act on the peripheral nerves and reduce the sensation of pain at the site of application. In dentistry, they are used to control local pain caused by needling, placement of orthodontic bands, the vomiting reflex, oral mucositis, and rubber-dam clamp placement. Traditional topical anesthetics contain lidocaine or benzocaine as active ingredients and are used in the form of solutions, creams, gels, and sprays. Eutectic mixtures of local anesthesia cream, a mixture of various topical anesthetics, has been reported to be more potent than other anesthetics. Recently, new products with modified ingredients and application methods have been introduced into the market. These products may be used for mild pain during periodontal treatment, such as scaling. Dentists should be aware that topical anesthetics, although rare, might induce allergic reactions or side effects as a result of an overdose. Topical anesthetics are useful aids during dental treatment, as they reduce dental phobia, especially in children, by mitigating discomfort and pain.


Administration, Topical; Anesthetics; Benzocaine; EMLA; Lidocaine

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