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Clin Oral Investig. 2010 Feb;14(1):19-25. doi: 10.1007/s00784-009-0261-9. Epub 2009 Mar 21.

The evaluation of a novel method comparing quantitative light-induced fluorescence (QLF) with spectrophotometry to assess staining and bleaching of teeth.

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School of Dental Sciences, The University of Liverpool, The Edwards Building, Daulby Street, Liverpool, UK.


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 S├Ąckingen, 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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