Evaluation of a combined thiourea and hydrogen peroxide regimen to bleach bloodstained teeth

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Current techniques for intra-coronal bleaching of stained root-filled teeth employ oxidative bleaching with hydrogen peroxide. However, concern over the potential for invasive cervical resorption following the use of hydrogen peroxide has been expressed by many researchers, and recommendations have been made to limit the use of this agent. A reductive-oxidative bleaching process using a thiourea and hydrogen peroxide regimen is proposed as an effective and safer bleaching combination. The efficacy of this novel bleaching regimen is evaluated in this study.


The study involved a quantitative and qualitative spectrophotometric assessment of the ability of two amine (bleaching) agents, aqueous thiourea and acidified thiourea, to alter the absorption spectra of haemoglobin and methaemoglobin compared to hydrogen peroxide. In addition, extracted premolar teeth discoloured by blood were subjected to different bleaching regimens using amine reducing agents and hydrogen peroxide. The change in the colour of the bloodstained dentine samples was measured at each stage of the bleaching process with a Photometer and Reflectance Densitometer. Comparisons of different treatments were made using a method of least significant difference and/or analysis of variance.


Spectrophotometric studies showed that acidified thiourea solution greatly reduced the colour of the haemoglobin and methaemoglobin in the visible range (330-760nm). Aqueous thiourea had no effect on the presence of haemoglobin and methaemoglobin. Reflection Densitometer and Photometer scores indicate that the greatest bleaching effect was achieved by the combined acidified thiourea and hydrogen peroxide regimen.


The recognition that bleaching discoloured teeth is a chemical process, which can be achieved by both reducing and oxidizing agents, offers the possibility of developing new and safer clinical bleaching protocols. It is concluded that the bleaching regimen which employs the sequential use of 0.1M acidified thiourea and 30% w/v hydrogen peroxide is as effective at bleaching bloodstained dentine as 30% w/v hydrogen peroxide alone. However, the addition of thiourea to the bleaching regimen has the potential benefit of reducing the level of damaging hydroxyl radicals and achieving a safer bleaching process.

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