New approach to determine the morphological and structural changes in the enamel as consequence of dental bleaching

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Nowadays, there are a number of methods very effectives for the dental bleaching, which are typically strong oxidizing agents, as the hydrogen peroxide, applied directly to the tooth surface. After bleaching, several research studies have been carried out to evaluate the efficacy of bleaching agents on teeth, there being a great controversy concerning the techniques used and their pre-treatment requirements derived, which could alter the final results. In fact, there is a strong necessity to develop different approach to determine the real consequences of bleaching treatment by using an unchangeable and entire tooth. Herein, to evaluate the effects of 38% (p/v) hydrogen peroxide treatment onto morphological, chemical and structural features in the human enamel and dentin, environmental scanning electron microscopy, electron probe micro analyzer and X-ray diffraction techniques have been used. Although such effects have been widely investigated with several techniques, including XRD and SEM, the novelty of this study lies on the techniques and methodology used to characterize the human teeth after bleaching treatment. This approach allows carrying out the analyses without any previous pretreatment, such as powdering, dried or metal sputtering, and its study in the same tooth piece before and after bleaching, which avoids the possible intrinsic differences derived from the use of different pieces. The obtained results display that neither the structural nor the chemical features of both enamel and dentin are altered after bleaching treatment. However, the morphology of the enamel is notably altered, appearing pronounced pores which could affect to the possible bacterial colonization. These findings put an end to the controversies on the different obtained results in the literature of the bleaching effects in the enamel and set standards for future studies.