Enhanced teeth whitening by nanofluidic transport of hydrogen peroxide into enamel with electrokinetic flows


Tooth whitening, a routine procedure in dentistry, is one of the examples of medical procedures that are limited by the challenge of delivering molecules into various types of nanoporous tissues. Current bleaching methods rely on simple diffusion of peroxides into enamel nano channels, therefore requires sufficient contact time with peroxides. In-office treatments often involve enamel etching or light activation which often results in patient sensitivity and potential soft tissue damage. Objective: To demonstrate a robust method to transport hydrogen peroxide to greater depths into enamel nanopores through nanofluidic flows driven by electrokinetics, with the intention to increase efficacy while reducing treatment time. Methods: Freshly extracted human teeth were subjected to electrokinetic flow treatment with hydrogen peroxide under different electric fields with varying operation times. Pre- and post-operative shade matching was done using a photospectrometer. Results: It is demonstrated that the operation time for the same concentration of hydrogen peroxide can be shortened by 10 times. The proposed method showed significant improvements in whitening effects over control groups and thus offers promising clinically-viable chairside applications with efficacy. Significance: The demonstrated nanofluidic transport of hydrogen peroxide into enamel has a potential to be applied for enhancing tooth whitening, compared to simple diffusion, without heating the hard dental tissues.

Publication Title

Dental Materials