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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Scanning electron microscopy study of dental enamel surface exposed to 35% hydrogen peroxide: alone, with saliva, and with 10% carbamide peroxide.

Several vital bleaching systems have been introduced in response to the demand in esthetic dentistry. The active agents are commonly hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide used in at-home or in-office techniques. Although generally positive results have been reported concerning the whitening ability of these agents, concerns still remain as to their effects on dental tissues. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the effect of these bleaching agents on the enamel surface morphology. Twelve extracted teeth were used according to three experimental protocols. In experimental protocol 1, specimens were treated with 35% hydrogen peroxide. In experimental protocol 2, after treatment with 35% hydrogen peroxide the specimens were immersed in natural saliva for 1 week. In experimental protocol 3, 35% hydrogen peroxide was applied once and 10% carbamide peroxide was applied for 1 week (12 h of 10% carbamide peroxide alternating with 12 h saliva). Scanning electron microscopy evaluation revealed that regional variation in tooth morphology surface sometimes exceeded the effects of the peroxide used according to experimental protocols. Thirty-five percent hydrogen peroxide had a tendency to promote an increase in density of pits. Precipitates were observed on specimen surfaces immersed in natural saliva according to protocol 2. A smooth and shiny surface was observed in specimens treated according to protocol 3. The potential relationship between surface alterations and differences in enamel permeability is currently under investigation. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE The differences in various articles written on the subject cannot be reconciled because of the lac of standardization of baseline data regarding factors such as location on the tooth, type of tooth eruption or noneruption, and age in the oral cavity. This article demonstrates that, despite changes observed in the enamel surface after bleaching, normal variation in tooth morphology may exceed the effects of 35% hydrogen peroxide and 10% carbamide peroxide on the teeth. Hence, considering the morphologic features of the tooth surface, bleaching, as described in thi study, can be considered safe for enamel.[1]


  1. Scanning electron microscopy study of dental enamel surface exposed to 35% hydrogen peroxide: alone, with saliva, and with 10% carbamide peroxide. Spalding, M., Taveira, L.A., de Assis, G.F. Journal of esthetic and restorative dentistry : official publication of the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry ... [et al.] (2003) [Pubmed]
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