Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Pediatric Dentistry

First Advisor

Tegwyn Brickhouse


Purpose: The purposes of this study were four-fold: 1) to determine the types and effectiveness of various topical anesthetics being used among dentists currently treating children, 2) to determine the types of procedures for which topical anesthetics are being used among children, 3) to understand the awareness and use of a relatively newer compounded topical gel Oraqix (Dentsply Caulk) among children, 4) to understand the adverse reactions to topical anesthesia that are seen among children. Methods: A cross sectional survey was designed, regarding the type, procedural use, effectiveness, and adverse reactions noted among children to various topical anesthetics. The survey sampled n=4933 actively practicing member dentists from a database of willing survey participants obtained from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. The survey consisted of 14-items in multiple choice/answer format. The survey was pilot tested by a committee of faculty, and attached via e-mail with a cover letter containing a direct survey link for the study participants. Surveys were collected, posted, and managed through Results: The study received 1255 responses from practitioners who are actively treating children giving an effective response rate of 25%. Of those that participated 94% are Pediatric dentists, 6% General dentists or “Other” specialists who treat children. The majority of respondents (95%) routinely use topical anesthetic, rating it as effective or very effective clinically. The most commonly used topical was 20%-Benzocaine gel with a reported 96% effective rate. The most common procedures topical anesthetics are being used for are pre-injection of local anesthetic and extraction of exfoliating deciduous teeth. Very few of the responding practitioners have ever heard of or used Oraqix gel prior to this survey. Many though, would consider using Oraqix if proven effective. Only 10% of respondents reported an adverse reaction to topical anesthetics, the most common being contact dermatitis or tissue sloughing from prolonged contact, followed by an allergic or aversive reaction to the dyes or flavoring in the topical anesthetic. Conclusions: The overwhelming majority of dentists treating children routinely use topical anesthetics to reduce pain response among children. 20%-Benzocaine gel is the most widely used topical anesthetic being used for dental procedures on children. Adverse reactions to topical anesthetic noted among practitioners treating children are very low but must still be strongly considered as potential life threatening risks if not used appropriately. Many practitioners treating children are still looking for the “ideal” topical anesthetic with improvements in taste, the ability to stay localized, the method of delivery, and improved effectiveness being key areas for future research.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2010