Effect of light activation on tooth sensitivity after in-office bleaching

Oper Dent. May-Jun 2011;36(3):251-7. doi: 10.2341/10-289-C. Epub 2011 Jul 8.


This clinical study evaluated the effects of light-emitting diode (LED)/laser activation on bleaching effectiveness (BE) and tooth sensitivity (TS) during in-office bleaching. Thirty caries-free patients were divided into two groups: light-activated (LA) and non-activated (NA) groups. A 35% hydrogen peroxide gel (Whiteness HP Maxx, FGM Dental Products, Joinville SC, Brazil) was used in three 15-minute applications for both groups. For the LA group, LED/laser energy (Whitening Lase Light Plus, DMC Odontológica, São Carlos SP, Brazil) was used, in accordance with the manufacturer's directions. Two sessions of bleaching were performed at one-week intervals. Color was registered at baseline and after the first and second bleaching sessions using a Vita shade guide. Patients recorded TS on a 0 to 4 scale during bleaching and within the next 24 and 48 hours of each session. BE at recall each week and intensity of TS were evaluated by repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Tukey tests (α=0.05). Tooth sensitivity was compared using the Friedman repeated measures analysis of variance by rank and the Wilcoxon sign-ranked test. Faster bleaching was observed for the LA group than for the NA group after the first session (4.8 and 3.8 shade guide units [SGUs]; p=0.0001). However, both techniques were capable of bleaching the same number of SGUs after the second bleaching session (p=0.52). Most of the LA group (53.3%) had sensitivity even 24 hours after each bleaching session, but only 26.6% from the NA group reported TS. The intensity of TS was similar for both groups immediately after bleaching but significantly higher for the LA group 24 hours after each bleaching session (p=0.001). After two bleaching sessions, the use of LED/laser light activation did not improve bleaching speed. Persistent tooth sensitivity and higher tooth sensitivity after 24 hours of bleaching were observed when light activation was used.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Color
  • Dental Offices
  • Dentin Sensitivity / etiology*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / radiation effects
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / therapeutic use
  • Lasers, Semiconductor / therapeutic use*
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Time Factors
  • Tooth / drug effects
  • Tooth / pathology
  • Tooth Bleaching / methods*
  • Tooth Bleaching Agents / radiation effects
  • Tooth Bleaching Agents / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Tooth Bleaching Agents
  • Hydrogen Peroxide