A randomized clinical trial comparing at-home and in-office tooth whitening techniques: A nine-month follow-up

J Am Dent Assoc. 2010 Nov;141(11):1357-64. doi: 10.14219/jada.archive.2010.0081.


Background: The aim of this split-mouth, randomized controlled trial was to compare the whitening results of at-home and in-office tooth bleaching techniques and the longevity of their effects at nine months after teeth had been bleached.

Methods: The authors conducted a study involving a 14-day bleaching period, during which the first maxillary premolars of 17 participants, who were 20 to 25 years of age, were bleached by means of either an at-home technique involving 10 percent carbamide peroxide or an in-office technique involving 38 percent hydrogen peroxide. The authors recorded color variables as proposed by the Commission Internationale de l'Eclairage-lightness (L*), redness (a*) and yellowness (b*)-by using a spectrophotometer at baseline and at one week, one month and nine months after bleaching. They also calculated a whiteness (W) index that was based on the distance of the color value in the color space from a nominal white point.

Results: At the nine-month recall visit, comparison between the at-home and the in-office techniques did not show significantly different values for L* (P = .448), a* (P = .350), b* (P = .144) and W (P = .151) color variables. None of the participants experienced any adverse events related to the bleaching during the treatment period.

Conclusions: The study results showed no clinically significant difference in bleaching efficacy. Both techniques produced satisfactory and long-lasting bleaching results.

Clinical implications: In young adults, either the at-home or the in-office technique can be used effectively.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicuspid / drug effects
  • Bicuspid / pathology
  • Carbamide Peroxide
  • Color
  • Dental Offices
  • Dental Prophylaxis
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / administration & dosage
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Maxilla
  • Oxidants / administration & dosage
  • Oxidants / therapeutic use
  • Peroxides / administration & dosage
  • Peroxides / therapeutic use
  • Self Care
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Spectrophotometry
  • Time Factors
  • Tooth Bleaching / instrumentation
  • Tooth Bleaching / methods*
  • Tooth Bleaching Agents / administration & dosage
  • Tooth Bleaching Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urea / administration & dosage
  • Urea / analogs & derivatives
  • Urea / therapeutic use
  • Young Adult


  • Oxidants
  • Peroxides
  • Tooth Bleaching Agents
  • Carbamide Peroxide
  • Urea
  • Hydrogen Peroxide