Customized Medications for Dentistry

Doctors & Pharmacists Working Together

Upon a prescription order, we can compound:

  • lip balms for viral lesions
  • topical muscle relaxants/analgesics
  • topical anesthetics
  • antibacterial rinses
  • oral sedation in lollipops and freezer pops
  • lollipops for oral thrush
  • mouth rinses for aphthous ulcers or chemotherapy-induced stomatitis
  • mouth rinse to stop oral bleeding during dental procedures for patients who take anticoagulants
  • dry socket preparations
  • "mucosal bandages" to cover ulcerated, infected, or tender mucosa
  • lozenges that help to prevent gagging
  • and many more unique preparations and novel delivery systems

Medications are typically manufactured in a limited number of strengths and dosage forms that will satisfy the needs of most patients. Using pharmaceutical grade chemicals and specialized equipment NOT found in most pharmacies, we can compound medications in doses and dosage forms that are not commercially available. At Genesis Pharmacy, we want to optimize the care of every patient. Contact our pharmacy for solutions to your dental needs!


Compounding dental mouthwashes or rinses may offer numerous advantages over commercially available dosage forms. Elixirs, syrups, and suspensions often contain preservatives such as alcohol which can cause reactions or gastrointestinal irritation, or sugar which makes the preparation undesirable for prolonged use in the mouth or for diabetic patients. A customized preparation without unnecessary excipients - i.e., a sugar-free, dye-free, lactose-free, and preservative-free dosage form - can eliminate concerns of palatability, alcohol content, and dyes which may stain exposed mucosa.

Various preparations are also available to treat burning mouth syndrome and anesthetic/analgesic and antibiotic/anti-infective mouthwashes are commonly requested.

“Magic mouthwashes” are topical solutions or suspensions prepared to relieve symptoms of various oral pathologies. A study conducted at the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, University of California, San Francisco, described the usage of topical oral solutions in patients experiencing chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis (CIOM), and surveyed the care of oral mucositis provided to patients by clinical oncology pharmacists in institutional settings. The top five ingredients used to compound “magic mouthwash” were reported to be diphenhydramine, viscous lidocaine, magnesium hydroxide/aluminum hydroxide, nystatin and corticosteroids. Most institutions administer the mouthwash every 4 hours or every 6 hours.

Tranexamic acid solution (4.8%) used as a mouthwash has been used successfully to prevent postsurgical bleeding after oral surgery without dose modification of oral anticoagulants.


Compounding allows countless active ingredients to be incorporated into customized mouthwashes, gels, troches, etc. For example, to treat periodontal disease, antibiotics can be formulated as a mouthwash, or added to an oral adhesive paste or a plasticized gel that will maintain the contact between the tissue and medication for a prolonged period of time.

Metronidazole 25% in a lipogel-type base provides an efficient treatment of anaerobic infection when applied topically in the periodontal pockets.


Topical application of anti-emetics in a gel formulation provides a rapid onset and offers an effective alternative to oral administration. Oral surgeons have found this formulation to be particularly useful.

Promethazine is commonly compounded for topical or transdermal application to treat nausea, vomiting, and vertigo, but this preparation may be used as an antiemetic for cases ranging from chemotherapy to motion sickness. The dose is typically 25mg for adults, and the dose is decreased for children. The gel is applied to an area of soft skin, such as the inside of the wrist or arm, the side of the torso, or the inside of the thigh. For children, the gel is often applied to the inside of one wrist, and then the wrists are rubbed together.

Other dosage forms include suppositories and lollipops.


The gag reflex can cause a patient considerable discomfort as well as interfere with dental procedures. An electrolyte tablet administered and retained intraorally a few minutes before the start of a procedure can suppress the gag reflex, allowing a mandibular block to be given with much greater ease, which further reduces the gagging reflex.

Tablets can be prescribed for home use for patients who can not properly perform oral hygiene procedures due to the gagging problem. Severe gaggers may need to repeat a dose in 15 to 20 minutes.

Some patients and dentists prefer to use electrolyte lollipops.


New, Noninvasive Approach for Successfully Treating Pain and Inflammation of TMJ Disorders

A topical gel containing 18% potassium complex, 10% dimethylisosorbide, and 72% aqueous hydroxyethyl cellulose gel was applied and gently rubbed onto the facial skin over the painful TMJ, muscles of mastication, and myofacial area. Complete pain relief occurred in 45 of 54 patients in this study within 5 minutes of the first application of the gel, and in all 54 patients after the third day of twice daily application of the treatment gel.

Transdermal application of NSAIDs such as ketoprofen results in significantly higher tissue levels beneath the site of application than are achieved with oral administration. Additionally, side effects such as gastrointestinal irritation are avoided.

The following article concludes: "Topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are effective in relieving pain in acute and chronic conditions."

"The systemic concentrations of ketoprofen have also been found to be 100 fold lower compared to tissue concentrations below the application... Topically applied ketoprofen thus provides high local concentration below the site of application but lower systemic exposure."

Iontophoretic delivery of dexamethasone and lidocaine may be effective in improving mandibular function in patients with temporo-mandibular disorders who have concurrent temporo-mandibular joint capsulitis and disc displacement without reduction.


Glycerol Spray for Management of Psychotropic Drug-Induced Xerostomia

Xerostomia (mouth dryness) often occurs as an unwanted effect of psychotropic drugs. The clinical efficacy and acceptability of an oxygenated glycerol triester (OGT) oral spray (1 or 2 sprays up to 4 times daily) in the treatment of xerostomia was compared with those of a commercially available artificial saliva substitute in a 2-week, open-labeled, randomized, parallel-group study involving 41 women and 33 men, 44 +/- 15 years, undergoing long-term psychotropic drug treatment. The glycerol spray improved the following parameters more than the saliva substitute: mouth dryness, speech difficulties, taste and overall mouth condition.

Ryan et al. of the Department of Pharmacy, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, sought to determine if an oral ketamine “swish and expectorate” mouthwash was a safe and effective method to alleviate mucositis pain. They concluded that a ketamine mouthwash administered using the “swish and spit” technique may be a viable treatment option in refractory mucositis pain.

“Magic mouthwashes” are topical solutions or suspensions prepared to relieve symptoms of various oral pathologies. A study conducted at the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, University of California, San Francisco, described the usage of topical oral solutions in patients experiencing chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis (CIOM), and surveyed the care of oral mucositis provided to patients by clinical oncology pharmacists in institutional settings. The top five ingredients used to compound “magic mouthwash” were reported to be diphenhydramine, viscous lidocaine, magnesium hydroxide/aluminum hydroxide, nystatin and corticosteroids. Most institutions administer the mouthwash every 4 hours or every 6 hours.

Misoprostol: Mucosal Protectant and Anti-Secretory

Misoprostol is a synthetic prostaglandin E1 analogue, with mucosal cytoprotectant and antisecretory properties. A mouthrinse containing misoprostol and lidocaine in a non-irritating neutral vehicle can be used to provide immediate pain relief and aid in the healing of the oral cavity.

A mucoadhesive powder containing misoprostol can be used to aid in the healing of mucosal ulcers and irritations. It is applied by using a powder "puffer" or by direct application of the powder to the affected area. The carriers will hydrate and adhere to the mucosal surface, keeping the misoprostol in prolonged contact with the area.

Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) Relieved with Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)

A double blind, controlled study compared alpha lipoic acid with placebo for two months on 60 patients with constant BMS, in whom there was no laboratory evidence of deficiencies in iron, vitamins or thyroid function and no hyperglycemia. Following treatment with alpha lipoic acid 600 mg orally daily, there was a significant symptomatic improvement compared with placebo. This improvement was maintained in over 70% of patients at the 1 year follow-up.

Saliva Substitute for Dry Mouth/Throat

Saliva replacement is an important adjunct to relieving the symptoms of xerostomia in patients with Sjogren's Syndrome. Saliva substitutes which contain thickening agents like carboxymethylcellulose are used because water alone can not adequately moisten and lubricate the oral mucosa and teeth. Dry mouth or throat secondary to a number of conditions can be relieved with a customized saliva substitute that can be administered throughout the day and night and can be flavored to please each patient. Keeping the mucosal membranes moist can improve comfort for the patient and minimize irritation and the risk of infection.

Pilocarpine Lozenge for Dry Mouth (xerostomia)

Patients with dry mouth post-radiation, from Sjogren’s syndrome, or a side effect of a medication may have oral discomfort and pain, increased susceptibility to dental caries, frequent oral infections, and difficulty in speaking, chewing, and swallowing, which can lead to severe oral disease and nutritional deficiencies. Xerostomia negatively affects quality of life and should not be considered a trivial complaint. Pilocarpine is a medication that may re-establish saliva production in these individuals. Since oral administration of pilocarpine may also cause unpleasant side effects, topical pilocarpine may be an alternative. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study that compared a commercially produced pilocarpine tablet, a compounded pilocarpine lozenge, and placebo, patients who received the compounded lozenge reported the most improvement in oral dryness, sore mouth or speaking difficulties.

Topical pilocarpine offers an alternative to systemic administration which often causes undesirable side effects.

• Local (topical) pilocarpine is easy to administer and lozenges provide prolonged and increased topical contact

• Local administration (as opposed to oral systemic therapy) affects minor salivary glands which have a wide distribution throughout the oral cavity. The production of endogenous saliva, especially from the minor salivary glands, is of great benefit to the patients. Although minor salivary gland output is small (approximately 10% of the total salivary output) compared with that of the major glands, they account for 70 per cent of the total mucin in saliva. Salivary mucins are reported to provide important protection of oral tissues from chemical and mechanical trauma.

Patients should be instructed to allow the lozenge to dissolve in the mouth without chewing.

Pilocarpine Troches for Xerostomia

Pilocarpine is indicated for the treatment of xerostomia secondary to radiation therapy of the head and neck. Pilocarpine is a cholinergic agent that stimulates residual-functioning exocrine glands. In a study by Vivino et al., pilocarpine at oral doses of 2.5mg and 5mg four times daily significantly increased saliva production and alleviated symptoms of dry mouth when compared to placebo. The higher dose produced the most improvement but also the highest incidence of adverse effects, such as sweating, diarrhea, and urinary frequency.

Treatment for Dry Mouth, Stomatitis, and Mucositis

Loss of saliva (xerostomia) is one of the most common complaints among patients who have received radiation therapy of the head and neck. Xerostomia contributes to radiation-induced periodontal infection, dental caries, osteoradionecrosis, and poor digestion of carbohydrates. Ask us about sialogogues (saliva stimulants) in customized dosage forms.

When a person is receiving chemotherapy or radiation, mouth tenderness and infections can interfere with the ability to eat. Malnutrition may result, yet it is often preventable. Our pharmacy can compound medications which may enable patients to enjoy eating again. We can compound numerous medications into a preparation such as an oral rinse that contains the needed concentrations of each drug.

A three-drug mouthwash (lidocaine, diphenhydramine and sodium bicarbonate in normal saline) can provide effective symptomatic relief in patients with chemotherapy-induced mucositis.


The options to help patients with oral and perioral pain problems such as neuropathies, burning mouth syndrome, neuromas and neuralgias. Vehicle-carrier agents and bases have been developed that can penetrate the mucosa and cutaneous tissues and transport the active medication to the treatment site. Dentists have been using topical agents with increasing frequency as part of the therapeutic protocol for orofacial painful neuropathy.

Several topical intraoral medications are used in the treatment of oral ulcerations and infections, including antifungals; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); and corticosteroids. Because of their rapid onset and low side-effect profile, topical medications offer a distinct advantage over systemic administration for orofacial disorders. Medicated lollipops, lozenges, and adhering powders are ideal for keeping an antibiotic or antifungal in contact with an infected area in the mouth.

Topical Anesthetic Combinations

Topically applied anesthetics provide a degree of anesthesia to non-keratinized tissue (e.g., oral mucous membrane) to a depth of 2 to 3 mms. This permits the initial penetration of mucous membrane to be accomplished painlessly. Topical anesthetics are used in concentrations that are higher than those used when the drug is injected. For example, lidocaine injection is a 2% solution, but when used topically as a gel or ointment it is commonly 5%. Benzocaine, the most commonly used topical anesthetic, is commonly used in a 10 to 20% concentration in a gel, ointment or spray. Flavored topical anesthetics containing prilocaine, lidocaine and tetracaine, with or without phenylephrine, can be prepared by our compounding pharmacists.

Topical Anesthetics -Combinations of your Choice for Specific Needs

Methemoglobinemia (MHb) is a potentially serious blood condition and an uncommon adverse reaction known to be associated with benzocaine. This condition reduces the ability of red blood cells to deliver oxygen throughout the body, which can lead to bluish discoloration of the skin, nausea and fatigue. It can progress to stupor, coma and death. Almost all reported cases of benzocaine-induced MHb were associated with high-concentration preparations (14 percent to 20 percent benzocaine). Compounding pharmacies can formulate low concentration or benzocaine-free topical anesthetics, including combinations of other topical anesthetics such as lidocaine and tetracaine or prilocaine.

Treatment for Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis

In a clinical randomized crossover trial, minocycline 0.2% and tetracycline 0.25% aqueous oral rinses were assessed in patients with frequent episodes of RAS. Minocycline mouthwashes as compared to topical tetracycline rinses resulted in significantly improved pain control, by reducing the severity and duration of pain. Topical minocycline rinse may be a potential treatment for other non-infectious inflammatory ulcerative oral mucosal diseases.

Topical Sucralfate for Pain after Oral CO2 Laser Surgery

A prospective trial assessed the effect of topical sucralfate on postoperative pain scores and other secondary outcomes including the frequency and duration of analgesic use and postoperative bleeding episodes after CO2 laser treatment of oral leukoplakia.

After surgery, the patient was instructed to rinse his or her mouth with 10 mL of a sucralfate mouthrinse (sucralfate group, n=40), or 10 mL of water without sucralfate (control group, n=40) for 2 minutes and then swallow it, 4 times a day for a period of 7 days. Scores were compared between the 2 groups from the operative day to postoperative day 6. Patients in the sucralfate group experienced significantly less postoperative pain on postoperative days 1 and 2. Although there was no significant difference in frequency and duration of analgesic use between the 2 groups, a trend toward lower frequency and fewer days of analgesic use in the sucralfate group was observed.

Topical sucralfate can be considered a feasible adjuvant medication for the control of pain after CO2 laser treatment of oral leukoplakia.

Dyclonine Topical Anesthetic Solution

Dyclonine HCl 0.5% and 1.0% Topical Solutions are listed in the “Discontinued Drug Product List” section of the Orange Book as Dyclone™ products were NOT withdrawn from commercial manufacture for reasons of safety or effectiveness.Unlike the original product which had an unpleasant taste, compounded dyclonine topical anesthetic solution can be formulated in mint and several other pleasing flavors.

Topical Medication to Treat Orofacial Neuropathic Pain

The Department of Diagnostic Sciences, Division of Orofacial Pain, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, conducted a study to evaluate the effect of topical medications alone or in combination with systemic medications in the treatment of orofacial neuropathic pain conditions. A retrospective chart review was performed for 39 patients who were diagnosed with a neuropathic pain condition such as deafferentation pain, traumatic neuroma, or trigeminal or glossopharyngeal neuralgia, and were treated for orofacial neuropathic pain at the Orofacial Pain Clinic.

The review concluded that topical medication as single treatment or in combination with systemic medications can reduce orofacial neuropathic pain severity.

“The topical medication can be ordered from a compounding pharmacy where it can be formulated to contain carbamazepine 4%, lidocaine 1%, ketoprofen 4%, ketamine 4%, and gabapentin 4%. Carbamazepine and gabapentin ... act by suppressing paroxysmal discharges and reducing neuronal hyperexcitability. Lidocaine, which is a local anesthetic, acts by blocking sodium channels, preventing nerve depolarization.Ketoprofen has anti-inflammatory activity.Last, ketamine blocks N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, whose hyperactivity contributes to maintenance of neuropathic pain.” The topical preparation should utilize penetration enhancers such as anhydrous gel base and bio-adhesive copolymers. These are used to carry the medication transdermally and transmucosally. “

Update on Burning Mouth Syndrome

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS), also referred to as glossopyrosis or glossodynia (when the burning occurs on the tongue only) is usually described as oral burning pain, sometimes with dysesthetic qualities similar to those present in other neuropathic pain conditions. The dorsal tongue, palate, lips and gingival tissues, individually or in combination, are the most common sites involved. Bilateral or unilateral oral burning pain has been found to be associated with jaw pain or uncontrollable tightness, taste changes, subjective dry mouth, geographic and fissured tongue, painful teeth, headache, neck and shoulder pain, difficulty speaking, nausea, gagging and swallowing difficulties. BMS has been reported to follow dental treatment, antibiotic usage and a severe upper respiratory infection. The lack of pathology to account for the pain can be frustrating. Pain is constant, progressively increases over the day, and usually decreases during eating. Patients, who are frequently distressed by their unremitting symptoms, may demonstrate psychological abnormalities including anxiety and depression.

Therapy for BMS involves the use of centrally acting medications for neuropathic pain, such as tricyclic antidepressants, benzodiazepines or gabapentin. Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine used either topically or in low doses orally, which appears to have excellent efficacy in the relief of the symptoms related to BMS. Topical medications, including clonidine, may be considered for application to local sites.

A combination of oral medications for the management of BMS (clonazepam, gabapentin, baclofen, and lamotrigine) significantly decreased pain in 38 or 45 patients. The most common adverse effect reported with the medication protocol was drowsiness followed by dizziness and perceived changes in mood. These results suggest that BMS may be treated with lower doses of a combination of medications rather than higher doses of a single medication, which may help to limit adverse effects such as drowsiness or dizziness.

The formulation for a mouthrinse containing clonazepam 1 mg per 5 ml has been reported. It is hypothesised that clonazepam acts locally to disrupt the mechanism(s) underlying stomatodynia. Topical formulations of gabapentin, ketamine, clonidine, and baclofen have been used to treat chronic neuropathic pain at various bodily sites.

Triamcinolone Acetonide Oral Rinse for Treating Oral Lichen Planus

Corticosteroids are the class of drug most commonly used for the treatment of oral lichen planus. Triamcinolone acetonide paste is the most widely available commercial preparation for the treatment of oral lichen planus, but is difficult to apply to mucosa and patients have reported an unpleasant sticky sensation. Delivery of corticosteroids via an oral rinse has the advantage of providing drug contact with the distal, hard-to-reach crevices and surfaces of the oral cavity, which can prevent new eruptions.

The use of a 0.1% triamcinolone acetonide aqueous suspension as an oral rinse in the treatment of symptomatic oral lichen planus has proven to be more effective than the 0.1% dental paste. This preparation must be compounded extemporaneously and should not contain flavorings (which stimulate salivation and therefore dilute the preparation in the mouth, decreasing its effectiveness) or preservatives (which may sting or burn the mucosa). Also, researchers have formulated a triamcinolone acetonide solution for use as an oral rinse, which is more convenient to use and more palatable than the commercially available triamcinolone acetonide paste, with similar therapeutic efficacy.


We are dedicated to meeting the unique needs of dental patients, and we welcome your questions and medication problems. Our compounding professionals are problem-solving specialists!

Examples of Customized Medications for Dental Care

  • Anti-Viral Lip Balms
  • Ketamine/Ketoprofen/Gabapentin gel
  • Ketoprofen/Cyclobenzaprine topical gel
  • Lidocaine/Prilocaine gel in plasticized base

    Mucosal Bandages

  • Oxytetracycline/Hydrocortisone Suspension
  • Peruvian Balsam/Eugenol
  • Sucralfate Oral Adhesive Paste
  • Tranexamic Acid Mouthwash
  • Triple-Anesthetic gel - benzocaine/lidocaine/tetracaine ("BLT")
  • Pressure Indicating Paste (PIP)

All formulations are customized per prescription to meet the unique needs of each patient. Please contact our compounding pharmacist to discuss the dosage form, strength, and medication or combination that is most appropriate for your patient.