Objective: This review considers the use of topical anaesthetics in the mouth to reduce the discomfort of local anaesthetic injections and intra-oral operative procedures.
Data sources: Electronic literature search using Pub Med, manual search of references within papers found by the primary search and manual searching of abstracts from scientific meetings.
Study selection: The articles selected for this review investigate or used topical anaesthesia in dental procedures.
Conclusions: The use of topical anaesthetics does not guarantee pain-free dental local anaesthesia. Efficacy is dependent upon the duration of application and the gauge of needle used. Evidence is available that the use of topical anaesthesia alone is sufficient to perform some intra-oral procedures including periodontal manipulations, operative dentistry and oral surgery.