Clinical comparative study of the effectiveness of and tooth sensitivity to 10% and 20% carbamide peroxide home-use and 35% and 38% hydrogen peroxide in-office bleaching materials containing desensitizing agents

Oper Dent. 2012 Sep-Oct;37(5):464-73. doi: 10.2341/11-337-C. Epub 2012 May 18.


The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of and tooth sensitivity to 10% and 20% carbamide peroxide (CP) home-use bleaching agents and 35% and 38% hydrogen peroxide (HP) in-office bleaching agents, all of which contain desensitizing agents, in a clinical trial. Four agents were evaluated: 10% CP and 20% CP (Opalescence PF 10% and Opalescence PF 20%, Ultradent, both with 0.5% potassium nitrate and 0.11% fluoride ions), 38% HP (Opalescence Boost PF, Ultradent, with 3% potassium nitrate and 1.1% fluoride ions), and 35% HP (Pola Office, SDI, with potassium nitrate). The initial screening procedure included 100 volunteers, aged 18 to 42, with no previous sensitivity or bleaching treatment and with any tooth shade. Volunteers were randomly assigned among the technique/bleaching agent groups. A run-in period was performed 1 week before the beginning of the bleaching treatment. For the home-use bleaching technique, each volunteer was instructed to dispense gel (10% CP or 20% CP) into the trays and then insert them into his or her mouth for at least two hours per night for three weeks. For the in-office bleaching technique, the bleaching agents (38% HP or 35% HP) were prepared and used following the manufacturer's instructions, with three applications performed in each session. Three sessions were carried out with an interval of seven days between each session. The participants were evaluated before, at one week, two weeks, and three weeks after the beginning of the bleaching treatment, and again one and two weeks after the bleaching treatment ended. A shade guide (Vita Classical, Vita) was used by a blinded examiner to perform shade evaluations before bleaching and two weeks after the end of bleaching. At the time of the shade evaluations, tooth sensitivity was also recorded by asking the volunteers to classify the sensitivity during bleaching treatment as absent, mild, moderate, or severe. The present study found that 13.8% of the volunteers withdrew from the study due to tooth sensitivity, and 43.2% of the participants experienced some type of sensitivity during bleaching treatment. The χ(2) test showed that there was a significant prevalence of tooth sensitivity during bleaching treatment using the home-use 20% CP agent, with 71.4% of volunteers reporting any level of tooth sensitivity (p=0.0032). A low prevalence of tooth sensitivity was observed for volunteers who used the in-office 38% HP agent (15.0%). The Wilcoxon test (p<0.05) showed that all of the bleaching treatments were effective in bleaching teeth and that there were no differences between the final color shade results among the treatments (Kruskal-Wallis, p<0.05). This study showed that 43.2% of all the volunteers experienced mild or moderate tooth sensitivity during the treatment with bleaching agents. A higher prevalence of tooth sensitivity was observed for 71.4% of the volunteers who used the 20% CP home-use bleaching agent, which may be ascribed to the peroxide concentration and/or the time/length the agent was in contact with the dental structures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Carbamide Peroxide
  • Color
  • Dentin Desensitizing Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Dentin Sensitivity / chemically induced*
  • Fluorides / administration & dosage
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / administration & dosage*
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / adverse effects
  • Nitrates / administration & dosage
  • Peroxides / administration & dosage*
  • Peroxides / adverse effects
  • Potassium Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Tooth / drug effects
  • Tooth / pathology
  • Tooth Bleaching / methods*
  • Tooth Bleaching Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Tooth Bleaching Agents / adverse effects
  • Tooth Discoloration / drug therapy
  • Tooth Discoloration / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urea / administration & dosage
  • Urea / adverse effects
  • Urea / analogs & derivatives*
  • Young Adult


  • Dentin Desensitizing Agents
  • Nitrates
  • Peroxides
  • Potassium Compounds
  • Tooth Bleaching Agents
  • Carbamide Peroxide
  • Urea
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Fluorides
  • potassium nitrate