Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine whether the natural herb clove can replace benzocaine as a topical anesthetic.
Methods: Topical agents were applied to the maxillary canine buccal mucosa of 73 adult volunteers. Four substances were tested in the study: (1) homemade clove gel, (2) benzocaine 20% gel, (3) placebo that resembles clove and (4) a placebo that resembled benzocaine. After 5 min of material application in a randomized, subject-blinded manner, each participant received two needle sticks. Pain response was registered using a 100 mm visual analogue pain scale.
Results: Both clove and benzocaine gels had significantly lower mean pain scores than placebos (p=0.005). No significant difference was observed between clove and benzocaine regarding pain scores.
Conclusion: Clove gel might possess a potential to replace benzocaine as a topical agent before needle insertion.