Formocresol blood levels in children receiving dental treatment under general anesthesia

Jeffrey Kahl, Jillian Easton, Gillian Johnson, Jeannie Zuk, Stephen Wilson, Jeffrey Galinkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Abstract: Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the presence of formocresol in the plasma of children undergoing oral rehabilitation involving pulp therapy under general anesthesia. Methods: Thirty 2-to 6-year-old preschool children were enrolled in the study. Preoperative, intra-operative, and postoperative peripheral venous samples were collected from each child. All samples were analyzed for formaldehyde and cresol levels using gas chromatography with mass spectrometry detection. Results: Eighty-five pulpotomies were performedranging from 1 to 5 per child. Three hundred twelve blood samples were collected. Analysis revealed that formaldehyde was undetectable above baseline plasma concentration and cresol was undetectable in all samples. Benzyl alcohol (a byproduct of cresol metabolism) was present in all samples except the baseline preoperative samples. Benzyl alcohol concentrations ranged from 0 to 1 mg/ml. Conclusions: Formaldehyde was undetectable above baseline plasma concentration, and cresol was undetectable in subjects receiving pulpotomy treatment under general anesthesia. Benzyl alcohol was detected in the plasma of all subjects receiving pulpotomy treatment. The levels present were far below the Food and Drug Administration's recommended daily allowance. It is unlikely that formocresol, when used in the doses typically employed for a vital pulpotomy procedure, poses any risk to children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-399
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric dentistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Cresol
  • Formaldehyde
  • Formocresol
  • Pulpotomy
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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