Amazing dental topical anesthetic: what is it?
June 30, 2016 1:20 PM   Subscribe

I'm very squeamish about having my teeth cleaned, and a few years ago, my dentist's office started using a topical anesthetic that was a total game changer - a thousand times better than what they used previously. Now I want to change dentists and I don't want to call and ask the old dentist what the new topical was. But when I'm looking for a new dentist, I want to find out if the office uses it. Any ideas on what it might have been or how I can otherwise ask?

Just to be clear, teeth cleaning is absolute agony for me. I'm very sensitive to anything that touches my gums. I find it physically painful and emotionally excruciating. So anything that can make it not terrible is really helpful for me. Thanks.
posted by FencingGal to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Just call your old dentist's office "pretending" to be someone looking for a dentist and ask what, if any, topical anesthetic they use for teeth cleaning. You don't have to say it's you.
posted by cooker girl at 1:28 PM on June 30, 2016 [6 favorites]

It was probably either benzocaine or lidocaine, but if you ask a new dentist "I get horribly anxious about getting my teeth cleaned. Can you use a topical anesthetic during the procedure?" that should be enough to get an answer (and also start a conversation about what specific anesthetic they prefer and why and what other things they can do to ameliorate your anxiety about the dentist).
posted by incessant at 1:29 PM on June 30, 2016 [6 favorites]

Call your old dentist and ask what they used because your mom in [state on the other side of the country] wants to know.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:32 PM on June 30, 2016 [7 favorites]

(And then maybe come back and report it here? Phobic me did not know this was a thing.)
posted by Lyn Never at 1:33 PM on June 30, 2016 [8 favorites]

Just echoing incessant; chances are it was Benzocaine or Lidocaine. My dentist says they're the most common.

I've had both used during dental cleanings, and from my perspective are indistinguishable from one another. But I'm usually hopped up on a few mg of Ativan during dental visits, so I might not be the remembering the details all that well.
posted by furnace.heart at 1:43 PM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just call and ask. Or have someone else call on your behalf.
posted by bleep at 2:17 PM on June 30, 2016

You have the right to know. If he won't tell you I would be extremely surprised.
posted by parmanparman at 2:30 PM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I doubt very much that this is the "most common." My dentist used other topical anesthetics for years. This was a completely different experience.

For reasons I don't want to go into, I don't want to call my dentist's office.
posted by FencingGal at 3:22 PM on June 30, 2016

OK, gotcha, you can't call. But have someone else call. Seriously. Give us the number and WE'LL call. It's not a big deal to make a phone call for someone. "Hi, can you please tell me what kind of topical anesthetic you use for dental cleanings? I'm trying to choose a new dentist and this is one of my criteria. Thanks!"
posted by clone boulevard at 3:44 PM on June 30, 2016 [8 favorites]

You're in luck - I have a friend who is a dentist. May be tomorrow or so, but stand by...
posted by randomkeystrike at 4:39 PM on June 30, 2016

What do you remember about the anesthetic? Was it a spray, gel, cream, or something else? How long did it take to work? Did it have a particular smell or taste that you noted?
posted by charmcityblues at 4:43 PM on June 30, 2016

If it was a rinse, I suspect it was DYC:

"DYC is a topical anesthetic in the form of a rinse that patients can swish around for one minute to anesthetize gingival and palatal tissues. It is fantastic for hygiene patients who needs some anesthesia but don't want local infiltrations or blocks. It also works well for needle-phobic, sensitive hygiene patients, and for patients who gag during impressions. It is dispensed in 480mL and 960mL bottles."

If it was a non-sweet gel, it might have been PFG or PFG Lite, also known as Profound or Profound Lite. It it was sweet-tasting, it might have been DBG. There's information about all of these in the link above.
posted by charmcityblues at 4:48 PM on June 30, 2016

Response by poster: Not a spray or rinse. Hygienist dabbed it on with a swab, so I'd guess a gel. I don't recall any smell or taste. It seemed to work within a few minutes.

Dentist office is closed until Monday, so if I want to ask someone to call, I can't until then anyway.
posted by FencingGal at 5:36 PM on June 30, 2016

Oraqix (ora-kix)
posted by OHenryPacey at 6:50 PM on June 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I hit post too soon. it is oraqix. it's lidocaine and prilocaine, not benzocaine (topical) in a gel that allows it to permeate the tissue. My hygienist has used it the way you describe for years, I use it also for kids and time i want gums numb but not teeth.
posted by OHenryPacey at 6:52 PM on June 30, 2016 [10 favorites]

This question (and answer) has made my life SO much better.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 5:08 AM on July 1, 2016 [3 favorites]

My dentist friend said they use a spray - tradename Hurricaine. Looks like it is also available in a gel form. It's also available in some forms OTC. I did some googling and it's basically benzocaine, which is also what Orajel is - (Orajel also includes menthol)
posted by randomkeystrike at 6:06 PM on July 1, 2016

Anybody who's looking for service like this can use "painless dentistry" as a search term/code word. There are dentists who will straight-up knock you out if you need it.
posted by Kreiger at 11:39 AM on July 4, 2016

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