Everybody has questions about the products they use. Sometimes the right answers are complicated, sometimes simple.

In this article, we’ll answer all the questions you had about benzocaine, so if you’re not sure, now you will be.

This article is meant for everyone, but it’s mostly here to show dental professionals that, as manufacturers of benzocaine, we know all about benzocaine.

Skip to the end of this article to see a summary of all these questions.


What is benzocaine and how do you use it?

Benzocaine is a topical anesthetic commonly used in dentistry.

It works by temporarily numbing the area to which it is applied, making it useful for procedures such as filling cavities, performing root canals, deep periodontal scaling, etc. that require a localized injection to anesthetize the teeth being treated or require a temporary numbing action without an injection.  

There are several forms of benzocaine available, including gels, creams, sprays, and lozenges.  

Dental offices utilize gels and sprays. 

Over the counter products are more typical in cream, spray and lozenges.


Where do you apply benzocaine gel?

These formulations can be applied topically to the area in need of numbing, such as the gums or the inside of the cheek, depending on if the dentist or dental hygienist is delivering a block or infiltrating.


How long do you leave benzocaine on?

The length of time that over-the-counter home use of benzocaine should be left on the skin depends on the specific product and the condition being treated.

Generally, benzocaine gels and creams should be left on for no longer than 15 to 20 minutes and should be washed off with warm water and mild soap after use. 

The professional dental application of benzocaine is effective for 10 mins and the injection should be delivered after the 2 min time mark. 

A common error is to apply the gel on the tissue then immediately inject the site not allowing the intended effects of the ‘pre-numbing’ before the injection. 


How do you use benzocaine oral gel as a home remedy?

The instructions for using over the counter benzocaine oral gel for home use vary depending on the specific product, but generally, the gel should be applied with cotton swab.

The gel should be applied directly to the sore or irritated area of the mouth and should not be swallowed.

The recommended dosage will be indicated on the product label, typically it should be applied every 2-3 hours or as directed by a healthcare provider.

It is important to note that benzocaine oral gel should not be used for more than 7 days and is contraindicated in children under 2 years of age.


Are there any side effects of benzocaine?

As with any medication, there are potential adverse effects associated with the use of benzocaine.

These can include allergic reactions, skin irritation, and methemoglobinemia, a rare but serious condition in which the level of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in the blood is reduced.


Is benzocaine a numbing agent?

Yes, benzocaine is a topical anesthetic, and it is used as a numbing agent.

It works by temporarily numbing the area to which it is applied, which can help to relieve pain, discomfort, other symptoms and prepare a site for a needle injection.


What happens if you use too much benzocaine?

Using too much benzocaine can cause several unwanted side effects.

The most serious potential side effect of benzocaine is a condition called methemoglobinemia, characterized by a reduced ability of the blood to carry oxygen. 

Too long of a use and exposure will cause tissue to slough, similar to a chemical burn.  


How much benzocaine is an overdose?

For adults and children over 2 years of age, the therapeutic window of the over-the-counter benzocaine oral gel is typically between 4-20% depending on the product and should be applied every 2-3 hours.

For topical benzocaine products, the therapeutic window is typically between 5-20%.


Why can you only use benzocaine 4 times a day?

One of the most serious potential side effects of benzocaine is a condition called methemoglobinemia.

By limiting the usage of an over-the-counter benzocaine oral gel to four times a day, the risk of methemoglobinemia is minimized.


What drugs interact with benzocaine?

Benzocaine interacts with several drug classes leading to increased side effects of said drugs.

These include MAO inhibitors such as selegiline, blood thinners such as warfarin, nitrates such as isosorbide mononitrate and stimulants such as amphetamines. 

At home use may mean a discussion with the pharmacist to ensure no adverse reactions. 

In the dental office, this means a proper medical history screening.


What products have benzocaine?

Some common products that contain benzocaine include:

  • Topical creams and gels for minor skin irritations.
  • Oral gels, sprays, and liquids for sore throat, canker sores, and toothaches
  • Hemorrhoid creams and ointments
  • Vaginal and rectal creams and ointments for itching and irritation
  • Some medicated lip balms and lip creams
  • Medicated powders and sprays for minor skin irritations
  • Anesthetic sprays and gels for sore throat and mouth sores


How long does benzocaine oral gel last?

In terms of dosage and duration of action, it is important to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer or as prescribed by a dental professional.

The duration of action can vary depending on the specific formulation and the area of application.

However, in general, the numbing effect of benzocaine can last for 10 mins give or take the person’s metabolic rate of absorption.


What are the risks of not using benzocaine in a dental procedure?

Benzocaine is used for teeth procedures and the prevention of pain.

Without it, you risk pain to the patient and thus less compliance and predictable outcomes while performing the procedure.


What is stronger benzocaine or lidocaine?

In terms of potency, benzocaine is considered to be less potent than the topical form of lidocaine.

This means that a higher dose of benzocaine may be needed to achieve the same level of anesthesia as lidocaine.

As a topical, lidocaine is also faster acting than benzocaine and its effects tend to last longer.

Both benzocaine and lidocaine are considered safe and effective when used as directed.


What is benzocaine for?

Benzocaine is used in a wide range of dental procedures to provide temporary pain relief and make the procedure more comfortable for the patient.

This includes procedures that require an injection such as tooth extractions, scaling and root planning, and the placement of dental restorations such as fillings and crowns.

It can also include procedures that do not need an injection but require temporary relief, such as, placement of orthodontic bands, reducing gag reflex during x-rays, debridement, rubber dam clamp placement, etc. 

The over the counter benzocaine can also be used to alleviate pain associated with conditions such as canker sores and sore throats.


What medicine do dentists use to numb your mouth?

Some of the drugs used by a dentist include Benzocaine as topical anesthetic. The others are:

  • Prilocaine
  • Articaine
  • Mepivacaine



In conclusion, benzocaine is a widely used topical anesthetic in dentistry, available in various forms including gel and spray.

It is used to provide temporary pain relief and make dental procedures more comfortable for the patient.

The dosage and duration of action vary depending on the specific formulation and area of application.

Adverse effects are rare but can include allergic reactions and methemoglobinemia.

It is less potent than lidocaine, but it is still considered safe and effective when used as directed.


Dentists should be aware of the various forms available and how to use them in their practice for the best results.

There’s one supplier for benzocaine that’s different than the rest, because they manufacture rather than redistribute, a very specific set of products chosen specifically for dental professionals.

Their lineup of dental supplies, particularly oral care products like benzocaine, disposables such as nitrile gloves, and infection control products, can be found with everyday lowest prices clearly show on the website.

Head to to find these deals, along with plenty of more information about the products you buy for every day use in your dental office.