When should I use Orajel or Anbesol?

NEVER! Did I make my opinion clear? Many patients will apply Orajel or Anbesol to a tooth or their gums when they have a toothache. A toothache is a dental infection caused by bacteria entering the tooth or even deeper into the bone. You need to treat the cause of the problem and placing a numbing gel on it doesn't make it go away. Antibiotics and pain medications, like Advil, should be taken initially along with a call to the dentist.

The active ingredients are: allantoin, benzocaine, camphor and white petrolatum. The two main products, camphor and benzocaine are numbing and anesthetic agents. Orajel - Anbesol contains 20% benzocaine and if used improperly has many dangerous side effects. The FDA recommends against its use as an oral medication yet it is still sold over the counter and often abused. Often times these products will cause a chemical burn making it more difficult for the dentist to find your problem.

Since cold sores are caused by a virus and generally brought on by stress or exposure to the sun: rest and time may be the best remedy. If you have sores inside your mouth the dentist may be able to treat the sore with a laser or topical medication to reduce your pain and speed up the healing process.

If the pain is so bad that you are thinking of applying any of these products to your tooth or the surrounding gum area call the dentist. You can always call the Levittown office and we will make sure to see you as soon as possible to make you comfortable.


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Dr. Marc Gottlieb is one of Long Island's leading dental practicioners, specializing in helping those who feel anxiety or apprehension when visiting the dentist. He can be reached at marc@anxietyfreedental.com