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Date of last update: 10/18/2017.

Forum Name: Dermatology Topics

Question: Am I overusing benzocaine?

 itskerem - Fri Jul 30, 2010 3:15 pm

Hello doctors, thanks for taking the time to answer my question.

After four nights of awful toothaches, I sucked up my pride, and decided to drag myself to a dentist. Turns out I need two, possibly three root canals, not to mention a myriad of other problems that will need eventual treatment. They told me the root canals alone will cost me something in the neighborhood of $6,000. I do not have $6,000. Fortunately, a family friend will be able to treat me for cheap in ten days.

In the meantime, I have been managing my pain by combining amoxicillin (prescribed by the dentist, 500 mg four times a day) ibuprofen (as needed), and heavy use of benzocaine.

I've been lightly coating my gums and teeth with the 'caine every few hours, as the pain begins to return. It just occurred to me to look into potential risks of the stuff, and I discovered some medical literature linking benzocaine to methemoglobinemia. So how much is too much? Am I putting myself at risk here? If so, what else can I do to subside the unbearable pain? Are there any symptoms I should be on the lookout for? If I feel fine, am I in the clear?

I am heavily dependent on this stuff right now, any advice would be much appreciated!
 Debbie Miller, RN - Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:55 pm

User avatar Hello,
Because little, if any, of the benzocaine used topically is absorbed into the blood you are not in danger of causing overdose problems in using this product until you are able to get the permanent root canal work done, even with frequent use.

Good luck.

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