Use of quantitative light-induced fluorescence to monitor tooth whitening

B. T. Amaechi, S. M. Higham

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The changing of tooth shade by whitening agents occurs gradually. Apart from being subjective and affected by the conditions of the surroundings, visual observation cannot detect a very slight change in tooth colour. An electronic method, which can communicate the colour change quantitatively, would be more reliable. Quantitative Light-induced Fluorescence (QLF) was developed to detect and assess dental caries based on the phenomenon of change of autofluorescence of a tooth by demineralisation. However, stains on the tooth surface exhibit the same phenomenon, and therefore QLF can be used to measure the percentage fluorescence change of stained enamel with respect to surrounding unstained enamel. The present study describes a technique of assessing the effect of a tooth-whitening agent using QLF. This was demonstrated in two experiments in which either wholly or partially stained teeth were whitened by intermittent immersion in sodium hypochlorite. Following each immersion, the integrated fluorescence change (△Q) due to the stain was quantified using QLF. In either situation, the value of △Q (%.mm2) decreased linearly as the tooth regained its natural shade. It was concluded that gradual changing of the shade of discoloured teeth by a whitening agent could be quantified using QLF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-162
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes
EventLasers in Dentistry VII - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 21 2001Jan 22 2001


  • Optical methods
  • Quantitative lightinduced fluorescence
  • Salivary pellicle
  • Sodium hypochlorite
  • Stain formation
  • Stain removal
  • Tooth bleaching
  • Tooth color
  • Tooth stain
  • Tooth whitening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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