Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of home-use bleaching agents containing 10% carbamide peroxide and 7.5% hydrogen peroxide on enamel microhardness and surface micromorphology.
Material and methods: Enamel slabs (n=10) received the bleaching agents for 1 h/day and remained in artificial saliva solution for 23 h/day, during a total period of 21 days. Control group was composed of enamel slabs that were not subjected to treatment with the agents and were maintained in artificial saliva solution. Microhardness tests were performed before treatment application, 21 days of treatment and 14 days after the end of treatment. Scanning electron microscopy analyses were performed after 14 days after the end of bleaching treatment by 3 calibrated observers who attributed scores.
Results: The Tukey's test (alpha=0.05) showed no significant differences in microhardness values among bleaching agents, at 21 days of treatment and a significant increase in microhardness for different agents after 14 days from the end of treatment. Fisher's exact test showed differences in micromorphology of enamel between control and experimental groups (p=0.0342).
Conclusions: Bleaching agents containing 10% carbamide peroxide and 7.5% hydrogen peroxide may change surface micromorphology of enamel, although no changes in microhardness were observed.