Topical anesthetics are of great interest in pediatric dentistry because they act on the peripheral nerves reducing the sensation of pain when applying local anesthetics.
Objective: To analyze the most recent literature on topical anesthetics: benzocaine, lidocaine, eutectic mixture of local anesthetics (EMLA), generalities, doses and presentations, uses and adverse effects.
Methodology: Articles on topical anesthetics in pediatric dentistry were analyzed in the databases PubMed, SCOPUS and Google academic with emphasis on the last 5 years. This was done with the words: "dental anesthetic", "benzocaine", "lidocaine", "Pediatric dentistry", "EMLA".
Results: It has been found that 20% benzocaine is the most used anesthetic, its main use is before local anesthetic puncture, it has a pleasant taste, however, high rates of allergies have been reported. As for lidocaine, it is effective when applied in 1 minute, its 10% aerosol presentation has presented the best results, its toxicity levels are low but it has an unpleasant taste. EMLA is a mixture of lidocaine 2.5% and prilocaine 2.5%, it is used before puncture, when placing orthodontic separators and in small biopsies, its application time is 2 to 10 minutes and it can cause numbness in unwanted areas.
Conclusion: Currently there is no topical formulation that completely eliminates the pain caused by needle puncture, therefore, products with greater efficacy are awaited.