Tray delivery of potassium nitrate-fluoride to reduce bleaching sensitivity

B. Van Haywood, W. Frank Caughman, Kevin B. Frazier, Michael L. Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Objective: Tooth sensitivity is a common side effect associated with tooth whitening. The purpose of this study was to determine if bleaching tray delivery of potassium nitrate-fluoride reduces bleaching sensitivity enough to allow continuation of whitening treatment. Method and materials: Thirty patients were enrolled in a university-approved clinical study and had their teeth bleached at night with 10% carbamide peroxide in a custom-fitted tray. The bleaching tray was a rigid experimental design for which sensitivity was expected. If tooth sensitivity was experienced, the patient applied a gel containing 5% potassium nitrate and 1,000 ppm sodium fluoride in the bleaching tray for various time periods. Log forms were collected upon completion of bleaching, and patient interviews were used to compare effects of the gel before and after sensitivity treatment. Results: Sixteen out of 30 patients experienced tooth sensitivity. Of those 16 patients, 12 used the gel, and 11 of the 12 reported a reduction in sensitivity. Treatment times ranged from 10 minutes before bleaching to 30 minutes before and after. The number of applications ranged from one to continuous use. Some patients were able to continue bleaching after one gel application with no subsequent sensitivity. Other patients were unable to continue bleaching unless they continued using the gel. The incidence of tooth sensitivity (53%) reported in this study is consistent with sensitivity reported in studies using semi-rigid custom-fitted trays made from stone casts with a nonscalloped, nonreservoir design. Conclusion: The use of a 5% potassium nitrate-fluoride gel applied in the tray as needed for tooth sensitivity associated with nightguard vital bleaching can reduce sensitivity in a majority of patients and allow most patients to continue bleaching to completion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-109
Number of pages5
JournalQuintessence international
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2001


  • Bleaching
  • Carbamide peroxide
  • Potassium nitrate
  • Sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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