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What Is Benzocaine Gel?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Benzocaine gel is a topical medication used primarily to treat dental pain. This type of medication works as a local anesthetic and numbs the affected skin or gum area. Some of the possible side effects of benzocaine gel include headaches, drowsiness, or an allergic reaction. A doctor or dentist should be consulted before using this medication, as those with some medical conditions or taking certain medications may be advised not to use this product. Any specific or individualized questions or concerns about benzocaine gel should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Toothaches, canker sores, and mild gum irritation may be treated with benzocaine gel, a topical medication that can be purchased over the counter without a prescription from a doctor. There are different strengths available for children and adults, although a doctor should be consulted before using this product, especially in infants. In some cases, a prescription form of benzocaine gel may be used to treat other conditions, such as vaginal or rectal irritation, especially during medical procedures that require the insertion of a tube or speculum.

Although not common, benzocaine gel may sometimes interact negatively with certain medications, vitamin supplements, or herbal treatments. For this reason, a doctor or pharmacist should be consulted with any questions regarding these possible interactions. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use this medication without physician consent. This product should not be used on open sores or infected tissues without first consulting a doctor.

It is important to use benzocaine gel exactly as suggested on the label or as directed by a doctor. In most cases, this medication should not be used more than four times per day. Children should be supervised when using this product, and adult formulations should not be used on children without direction from a doctor. The patient should not eat or drink anything for at least an hour after applying this medication to the affected area.

Possible side effects of benzocaine gel include drowsiness, dizziness, or headaches. Some patients may also experience tremors or seizures, especially when using high doses of this medication. A rare but serious side effect of this drug is a severe type of allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. Symptoms may include swelling of the face, tongue, or throat and difficulty breathing. If these symptoms occur, immediate medical attention is required, as permanent brain damage or death may occur in a matter of minutes if the oxygen supply to the brain is interrupted.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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