Bleach, infiltrate and restore

Shadeguides - Cases - Active Care - Bleaching

Bleaching is not a vanity procedure anymore: since many years, the benefit of non-invasive techniques has been put to proof and given amazing results when the indications are followed correctly. The bleaching therapy to diminish and treat white spots has been subject to controversy, rejected by many and adopted by many others.

The Infiltration technique has been widely proven to eliminate unaesthetic enamel spots, if the depth is correctly evaluated and the indications followed correctly; in other words, in deep lesions infiltration will not be very effective alone.

In the author's experience, bleaching of white and amber spots before its treatment has been a winning strategy with the following affirmations:

Amber spots: Generally turn into white spots which are more subject to the acid treatment of the infiltration therapy

White Spots: Two phenomena happen, the first is the reduction in their opacity due to a balance in the refraction index of the disarranged prisms. And the second, little or no bleaching happen to the white spot, blending better due to the low contrast between the newly bleached surrounding tissues and the white spot itself.

Fig. 1

Img. 1 – Initial evaluation of the patient. 23 year old woman, very dissatisfied of the present situation and the aggressive treatment optioned shed had been proposed.

Fig. 2

Img. 2 – A CROSS-POLARIZED picture is taken to better asses the extent of the lesion. On the other hand, TRANSILLUMINATION is used to estimate the depth of the lesion (not in pictures). It is decided to start a bleaching therapy to try to minimize the contrast between the spots and the tooth and to bleach the amber spots which are generally not attackable.

Fig. 3

Img. 3 – Bleaching trays must be extremely precise, cervical sealing should be perfect in order to keep the bleaching product in place and safe of intraoral moisture. Construction of the bleaching tray will be deeply discussed in upcoming articles.

Fig. 4

Img. 4 – Fitting of the bleaching tray. The selected bleaching therapy was Carbamide Peroxide 10% during 20 days (White Dental Beauty, Optident, UK) during the full sleep time. No sensitivity was reported, and we are seeing this phenomenon more often with this new generation products.

Fig. 5

Img. 5 – After 20 days bleaching. Picture with lateral flashes.

Fig. 6

Img. 6 – Cross polarized image showing the new situation of the spots, some of them vanished, the amber turned into white and other spots softened its saturation.

Fig. 7

Img. 7 – Side to side comparison, note the amber spot.

Fig. 8

Img. 8 – Mirror like comparison

Fig. 9

Img. 9 – Mirror-like comparison of before bleaching (low) and after (up) with Deep-view contrast

Fig. 10

Img. 10 – After bleaching evaluation, the patient starts the treatment with resin infiltration. The first step, rubber dam isolation.

Fig. 11

Img. 11 – 15% HYDROCHLORIC acid application for 2 minutes (ICON ETCH, DMG, Germany), this step can be repeated up to 4 times. Applying it more times comes with the risk of deeply eroding the teeth.

Fig. 12

Img. 12 – Air drying, note how the spots become tremendously white.

Fig. 13

Img. 13 – Preview with alcohol (ICON dry, DMG, Germany). Manufacturer suggests a 30 seconds application of this agent. This is the result after 30 seconds.

Fig. 14

Img. 14 – In the author's experience, this product applied for 2 minutes gives a better penetration and thus a better preview of the real outcome. Is in this step where the clinician should decide if repeating the full erosion cycle or starting the resin infiltration.

Fig. 15

Img. 15 – Air dry of the alcohol is very easy and, if the last step was succesful, is time to infiltrate.

Fig. 16

Img. 16 – Many times erosion is even visible, especially when doing 4 cycles or more.

Fig. 17

Img. 17 – Resin infiltration. This resin of extremely low density and solvent free is able to penetrate as much as the alcohol did. It is advisable to keep the lights low and allow the infiltrant to penetrate for about 3 minutes; failure in doing so may end up in an incomplete infiltration and a different result than the one obtained in the preview with the ICON dry.

Fig. 18

Img. 18 – After infiltration, a small layer of enamel is placed to cover up the erosion caused during therapy.

Fig. 19

Img. 19 – Polishing is mandatory with or without the use of a final composite layer.

Fig. 20

Img. 20 – Final result after 3 weeks

Fig. 21

Img. 21 – Cross polarization image, shows a good result, which is not excellent, but not visible to plain sight.

Fig. 22

Img. 22 – Deep-view contrast of the final situatuion (contrast increase, brigtness dicrease of the digital image) help very much in the picture analysis and true estimation of the remaining lesions.

Fig. 23

Img. 23 – Deep-view contrast of the initial situation

Fig. 24

Img. 24 – Mirror-like comparison of before (low) and after (up)

Fig. 25

Img. 25 – A similar case was planned to be treated in the same way, but after 30 days bleaching, all the spots disapeared (digital mock-up, right of the image before the treatment, left side after)


Bleaching should be a mandatory resource before stain treatment and restorative therapy. Some of the benefits are little known by the dental professional and harmless side effects are often feared. Infiltration therapy should be a primary choice together with bleaching for the treatment of these kind of problems.
ICON dry, which is used as a preview of the resin filtration after erosion, should be applied for 2 minutes to obtain proper visual assessment. ICON infiltration resin has to penetrate completely and a 3 minute application is advised.