Tooth whitening in children.

Kevin J. Donly, Adriana Segura Donly, Laila Baharloo, Edith Rojas-Candelas, Franklin Garcia-Godoy, Xiaojie Zhou, Robert W. Gerlach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Although there are several case reports of vital tooth bleaching in children, there is limited clinical trial evidence of the safety or efficacy of this practice. Accordingly, a new clinical trial was conducted to evaluate the effects of 2 different bleaching systems, a 6.5% hydrogen peroxide strip system and a 10% carbamide peroxide tray system, in a population of preteens and teens. A total of 106 volunteers, aged 11 to 18 years, took part in this 8-week study. Patients were randomized by a ratio of 2:1 to the strip or tray groups, with each group treating the maxillary arch first and then the mandibular arch for 4 consecutive weeks each. Individuals assigned to the strip group used the system twice daily for 30 minutes (a total of 56 contact hours over the 8-week study). Those assigned to the tray group used that system overnight (approximately 448 contact hours). Digital images were obtained at baseline and after every 2-week treatment period. Average tooth color was determined in L*, a*, b* color space, where L* indicated lightness, a* indicated red-green, and b* indicated yellow-blue. Both systems significantly whitened teeth (P < 0.0001). While there were no significant differences between groups with respect to the primary whitening response (delta b*) on the maxillary teeth, 4 weeks of overnight treatment with the 10% carbamide peroxide tray (approximately 224 contact hours) yielded statistically significant whitening (P < 0.05) on the mandibular teeth compared with the 6.5% hydrogen peroxide strip used for 28 hours. Both tooth-whitening systems had similar sensitivity/irritation reported after instructed use. This research demonstrates that tooth whitening in teens may be safely accomplished using either the short-contact-time hydrogen peroxide bleaching strips or the overnight carbamide peroxide tray systems tested in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-28; quiz 49
JournalCompendium of continuing education in dentistry (Jamesburg, N.J. : 1995)
Issue number1 A
StatePublished - Jan 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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