Synchrotron light for faster and more effective tooth whitening treatments

A recent work of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) in collaboration with the ALBA Synchrotron, has studied the side effects of typical tooth whitening treatments, based on oxidation, compared to a new treatment developed by the authors through reduction. Results showed the whitening effect of the novel treatment to be highly improved in terms of application time needed, efficiency and safety, which makes it a promising candidate to develop novel whitening treatments. Experiments at the MIRAS beamline of ALBA helped to determine the chemical mineral modifications in the dental enamel.

Tooth whitening is a common aesthetic treatment around the world. To obtain better results, higher concentrations of oxidizing agents and longer application times are needed, but this may increase side effects like hypersensitivity and pulp damage, tooth demineralization and gingival irritation. Besides, the need to apply these products for hours is not very comfortable for the user.

Typical tooth whitening treatments are based on the oxidizing power of hydrogen peroxide, which breaks the double bonds of the staining molecules on the teeth’s surface making them unable to absorb light. This way the molecule becomes transparent, thus obtaining a bright, clean and white smile.

In a recent work of the Research Group of Separation Techniques in Chemistry (GTS) from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) in collaboration with the ALBA Synchrotron, researchers have used bovine incisors as in vitro model to study the side effects of whitening treatments. They compared typical whitening treatments (based on oxidation with carbamide peroxide) to new treatment developed and patented by the authors through reduction via metabisulfite, which also makes the staining molecules colorless. However, metabisulfite presents a faster whitening effect, which permits the use of lower concentrations and shorter application times. Results showed how the whitening effect of the novel treatment is highly improved in terms of application time needed, with the consequent reduction of side effects. This makes it a promising candidate to develop novel whitening treatments.

Read more on the ALBA website

Image: Dental smile

Credit: jannoon028 –