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No one likes to be in pain, and if you are a parent, you hate to see your child in pain. Toothaches strike at very inconvenient times, and many people know the agony of having to suffer through a toothache until they can get in to see their dentist,

When toothache pain strikes, it may be tempting to reach for a topical anesthetic containing benzocaine. Products with benzocaine are available in gels, cream, sprays and ointments and are used to relieve pain from insect bites and stings, sunburn, poison ivy and toothaches. It is an effective anesthetic and you can buy it over the counter. But like any medication, you should speak with the dentist or a doctor before using it, if you can. In some people, benzocaine can cause a number of negative side effects. Your dentist or physician will be able to advise you if benzocaine isn’t the right choice for you.

Benzocaine is not recommended for children under the age of two. There have been some very rare cases in which the use of benzocaine was linked to a medical condition known as methemoglobinemia, With this disorder, the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream is reduced. If you administer a product with benzocaine to your child and notice shortness of breath, pale skin, confusion or an accelerated heart rate, take your child to the emergency room as soon as possible.

Benzocaine can be a good pain reliever if used as directed and with people who are the right age. Ideally, as soon as you start to feel any pain or discomfort in your mouth, you should give Dr. Brian Scaff in Austin, Texas, a call at 512-792-2688 to schedule an appointment. Dr. Scaff also wants to remind you that prevention is always the best medicine. Brushing and flossing every day are great ways to prevent cavities, gum disease and toothaches. Also, regular dental visits will give the doctor the opportunity to do a thorough examination, and spot any small or potential problems before they become large, painful ones.