Oxford, MI Dentist: Benzocaine Can Cause MetHb

The use of anesthesia and products with anesthetic properties changed the field of medicine—especially dental work. Before the anesthesia was introduced, dentists (who also served as barbers) completed dental procedures that caused unbearable pain. Thus, oftentimes teeth were simply extracted. Yet, when anesthesia became a staple, procedures were completed comfortably and patients could relax in the dental chair.

While an anesthetic product works well to relieve temporary dental pain for adults and kids, sometimes unwanted side effects and conditions can develop. One of the most commonly known anesthetics to cause issues is benzocaine. In some patients benzocaine can cause a very rare disorder called, methemoglobinemia (or MetHb). To explain the effects of this condition, Dr. Brad Greenfield, your Oxford, MI dentist shares this blog post.

How Does Benzocaine Cause MetHb?

Benzocaine is a common local anesthetic seen in over-the-counter oral pain relievers. Products like, Orajel, Baby Orajel, and Anbesol each use benzocaine as their main pain reliever substance. As aforementioned, the use of benzocaine can sometimes cause rare condition called, MetHb.
This condition affects children more severely than adults, however, anyone is susceptible to it. MetHb significantly reduces the amount of oxygen that the blood stream carries. MetHb tends to cause damage to body and brain tissues. Without proper treatment, though, this disorder has the potential to become fatal.

For this reason, it’s not advised to use benzocaine-based products on children under the age of two, unless directly supervised by a doctor. Additionally, your Oxford, MI dentist urges you to contact the office immediately if the presence of this condition arises.

Signs that You Have MetHb

Watch for these symptoms. If you notice any of these surface after using a benzocaine-based local anesthetic, call Dr. Greenfield.

  • Pale, grayed, or blue skin, lips or cuticles.
  • Confusion
  • Headache, fatigue, and lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath and an increased heart rate

Go to Lake Orion Family Dentistry for MetHb Treatment

If you display signs of MetHb, take care to contact Dr. Greenfield immediately. MetHb is a serious ailment that requires treatment as soon as symptoms arise. To schedule an appointment with your Oxford, MI dentist, call (248) 693-6213. Also, visit our website for services, smile gallery, and patient forms. We happily serve patients in Clarkston, Auburn Hills, Oxford, Rochester Hills, and neighboring communities.