Vital bleaching is one of the most requested cosmetic dental procedures asked by patients who seek a more pleasing smile. This procedure consists of carbamide or hydrogen peroxide gel applications that can be applied in-office or by the patient (at-home/overnight bleaching system). Some in-office treatments utilise whitening light with the objective of speeding up the whitening process. The objective of this article is to review and summarise the current literature with regard to the effect of light-activation sources on in-office tooth bleaching. A literature search was conducted using Medline, accessed via the National Library of Medicine Pub Med from 2003 to 2013 searching for articles relating to effectiveness of light activation sources on in-office tooth bleaching. This study found conflicting evidence on whether light truly improve tooth whitening. Other factors such as, type of stain, initial tooth colour and subject age which can influence tooth bleaching outcome were discussed.
Conclusions: The use of light activator sources with in-office bleaching treatment of vital teeth did not increase the efficacy of bleaching or accelerate the bleaching.
Keywords: Bleaching; carbamide; hydrogen peroxide; in-office bleaching; whitening.