An atomic force microscopy study on the effect of bleaching agents on enamel surface

C. Hegedüs, T. Bistey, E. Flóra-Nagy, G. Keszthelyi, A. Jenei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

209 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of three peroxide-containing bleaching agents, Opalescence, Nite White and a 30% hydrogen peroxide solution, on enamel surfaces using Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). Methods: Fifteen non-carious human incisors (ten maxillary and five mandibular, extracted for periodontal reasons) were used. The teeth were divided randomly into three groups of five, according to the bleaching agents. The labial surface of each tooth was imaged by AFM before and after treatment. Each bleaching agent was applied for a total of 28 h (in individual 4 h treatments). The specimens were examined only after 28 h of treatment. Results: On comparing the AFM images of untreated and treated enamel, surface alterations were observed after 28 h of treatment with Opalescence, Nite White and 30% hydrogen peroxide solution. Several grooves present in the enamel surface of untreated teeth became deeper after the bleaching procedure. The depths of the grooves increased in each case. The increase in the depth of grooves was more pronounced in the case of the 30% H2O2 solution. Conclusion: Home-use bleaching agents are capable of causing enamel surface alterations. It is hypothesized that the peroxide-containing bleaching agents affect the organic phase of enamel. Peroxides can affect not only the surface but also the inner structure of enamel. As a result of its low molecular weight, hydrogen peroxide can penetrate into the enamel. Thus, inner oxidative effects are more likely to occur in the subsurface enamel where more organic material is present and oxidation is capable of altering the outer enamel and the surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-515
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Dentistry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 1999


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Carbamide peroxide
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Tooth bleaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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