This study reports the development and evaluation of a novel method using quantitative light-induced fluorescence (QLF), which enables its use for quantifying and assessing whole tooth surface staining and tooth whitening. The method was compared with a spectrophotometer to assess reliability. Two experimental phases, intrinsic stain formation and tooth whitening, were conducted in vitro on 16 extracted bovine teeth. Intrinsic stains were developed via access through lingual surfaces and root canals of these teeth using tea solution (2 g/100 ml, Marks and Spencer Extra Strong Tea, Marks and Spencer, London, UK) for 6 days. Stains were removed using 33% hydrogen peroxide (VWR Prolab, Leicestershire, UK) in cycles over 150 min. Stain development/whitening was monitored with QLF (Inspektor Research systems, Amsterdam, Netherlands) and spectrophotometry (Easy shade, Vita Zahnfabrik, Bad Säckingen, Germany). Parameters Delta F for QLF and Delta E for the spectrophotometer were obtained. The progression of stain intensity and removal observed by the methods were tested for correlation using Pearson's correlation coefficient. Intra-examiner reliability for each method was tested. QLF showed a high correlation with spectrophotometry for detecting and monitoring intrinsic tooth stain progression (Pearson coefficient r was −0.987 with correlation significant p < 0.0001). For stain removal, the Pearson coefficient (r) between both methods was −0.906 with no significance p = 0.094. The use of an external reference material in combination with the inner patch QLF analysis technique had the ability to detect and measure whole tooth surface staining and its removal longitudinally. The reliability of the method shows a potential clinical application.
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The authors would like to thank Mr Lee Cooper for his technical assistance.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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