The effect of clove and benzocaine versus placebo as topical anesthetics

J Dent. 2006 Nov;34(10):747-50. doi: 10.1016/j.jdent.2006.01.009. Epub 2006 Mar 13.


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.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anesthesia, Dental / methods*
  • Anesthesia, Local / methods*
  • Anesthetics, Local / administration & dosage*
  • Benzocaine / administration & dosage*
  • Clove Oil / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Gels
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mouth Mucosa / drug effects
  • Pain Measurement
  • Regression Analysis
  • Single-Blind Method


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Clove Oil
  • Gels
  • Benzocaine