Pros: Stops pain fast. Relatively inexpensive.
Cons: Referred pain might be a problem. Liquid medicine may be hard to control. Stains clothes.
About a week ago, all of my teeth were more or less still intact. Then my husband, Bill, made me a margarita with crushed ice and that was the kiss of death for one of my molars. Dopey me, I chewed on a piece of ice and sheared off a corner of my bicuspid. I spent over an hour in the dentist's chair yesterday, getting the preliminary work done for a crown. Naturally, after all that dental work, my gums are a bit sore. When Bill and I went out looking for some sushi rice at our local grocery store today, I decided to head over to the pharmacy area and look for something to dull the pain in my gums. I ended up purchasing a bottle of Anbesol Maximum Strength Liquid.
This is the first time I've ever used Anbesol and to tell the truth, looking at the bottle of rusty colored liquid made me a bit nervous. It reminded me a little bit of mercurochrome, that nasty red stuff my mom used to put on my cuts when I was a little kid. But my gums were throbbing and the only other product to choose from was Orajel. There was only one box of Orajel left and it looked like someone had tampered with the box. Somewhat reluctantly, I picked up the little bottle of Anbesol, which was priced at a reasonable $5.89.
Anbesol can be used for toothaches, braces, gum pain, canker sores, and denture pain. The active ingredient in Anbesol is 20% benzocaine, which is an oral anesthetic. It's in the same family as other "caine" anesthetics like procaine and butocaine. People who have an allergy to "caine" anesthetics shouldn't use Anbesol. I spent most of yesterday doped up with septocaine and other than the annoying numbness, didn't have any ill effects. I figured I'd be safe using Anbesol and it turns out I was right.
Anbesol can be used up to four times a day and is safe to use on anyone over age 2. It should not be used for more than seven consecutive days. Stop use and call a doctor or dentist if symptoms do not improve within a week, if irritation, pain, or redness persists or worsens, or if swelling, rash, or fever develops. Avoid contact with the eyes.
Using Anbesol was mostly a "painless" exercise. The directions indicate that Anbesol can be applied with a cotton ball, a cotton swab, or a fingertip. I applied the stuff with my fingertip and immediately noticed that my gum was slightly numbed almost on contact. Anbesol has a slightly medicinal spicy mint taste. To me, it's like a combination of cinnamon and mint, if you can imagine that. It doesn't taste great, but it's not terrible and it works very fast. I was pretty happy to find that the pain in my gum was soon a memory. I was less happy to find that anything else in my mouth that touched the Anbesol also started to feel numb. I think the liquid formula makes it harder to get the medicine right where you need it. I would think a gel or a cream would be easier to apply to exactly the right spot. Moreover, I noticed that after I used Anbesol, two teeth near the front of my mouth started to hurt, as if the Anbesol caused me to experience referred pain for about ten minutes. On the other hand, my gum did stop hurting.
So far, despite experiencing what seems to be referred pain, I'm relatively pleased with Anbesol. It's inexpensive, effective, and doesn't taste as bad as it looks. I think it will be useful to me while I wait for my permanent crown to be ready in three weeks. Of course, once I get the bill for this procedure, I'll be feeling a pain in the wallet that no drug can cure, but that's another rant.
20% benzocaine, benzyl alcohol, D&C yellow no. 10, FD&C blue no. 1, flavor, methylparaben, polyethene glycol, and saccharin
Store at 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit (20-25 degrees Celsiuis)
Be careful because Anbesol stains clothing.
Anbesol's Web site: www.anbesol.com