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 ABQ Dentistry and Wellness.
Methemoglobinemia symptoms may present from minutes to hours following ingestion, including:
Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, and nail beds
Shortness of breath
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.
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.