Are teeth whitening pens worth the hype? Let's break it down. (2024)

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In the battle for a whiter smile, the teeth-whitening pen is growing in popularity. These are over-the-counter products that look like a ballpoint pen or lipstick. They’re also sometimes called brush-on whiteners.

Like other at-home whitening products, whitening pens typically contain bleaching gels like carbamide peroxide, hydrogen peroxide, or other peroxide compounds. The peroxide in the gelsbreaks downwhile applied to teeth, which allows oxygen to enter the enamel of your teeth and lighten them. But what really sets these pens apart from other at-home products is how convenient they are. They are easy to carry around and use and don’t take long to apply.

In order for any tooth-whitening product to work, the bleaching agent needs to stay in contact with the teeth. Other at-home products manage this through the use of devices like trays or plastic strips. Teeth-whitening pens, on the other hand, don’t require this contact.

Do teeth whitening pens work?

Teeth-whitening pens can be effective, yes. You can often see a visible difference in the color of your teeth as soon as you use the pen. However, the effects aren’t permanent.

A teeth whitening brush or pen works by essentially applying a layer of bleaching gel to your teeth. Once applied, this gel becomes solid and creates a film over each tooth that you apply it to.

It is this film that produces the lightening effect that makes your teeth appear whiter. However, over time, this film will dissolve in your mouth and wash away.

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Teeth-whitening pens are most effective when used immediately before you want whiter teeth, like meetings or other events. They can also be particularly useful when used after meals.

This is because many colored foods like berries, coffee, tea, red wine, and more can leave stains on your teeth. A whitening pen is easy to apply and has relatively quick results.

If you’re prone to tooth sensitivity, we recommend consulting your dentist before trying any at-home whitening options. Teeth whitening pens only tackle surface-level stains, and dentists can provide you with more effective whitening methods.

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How to use a teeth whitening pen

Depending on the pen, the application instructions may differ. While there are some general guidelines, you should always make sure to read the specific instructions.

However, using teeth-whitening pens tends to be simple, with the following instructions:

  • Remove the cap and twist the back end of the pen.
  • Once you see the whitening gel protrude from the pen, apply a thin layer of gel to your tooth.
  • Make sure to apply between your teeth.
  • Let the gel dry. It can take up to 10 minutes.

When applying the pen, make sure to paint all the surfaces on your teeth. The areas that have the most staining should be given more focus. Make sure to stop application just short of the gum line. This will help reduce gum irritation as a side effect.

Related: Teeth-whitening strips: All about them

Be sure not to rinse away the gel before the end of the treatment session. It needs to sit on your teeth in order to be effective. Once the gel dries, you should make sure to leave it in place for 20-30 minutes in order to be most effective. To help this process, reduce any activities that can cause the whitener to dislodge from your teeth. This includes rinsing your mouth and eating or drinking.

After the film dries, it tends to wash away on its own. However, you should still brush your teeth after to get rid of any remnants.

How often should you use a teeth whitening pen?

The recommended frequency of use for a whitening pen is dependent on the brand in question. However, most pens can be used 1-2 times a day or more. For the best results, make sure to check the instructions for your particular pen. It will provide a suggestion for how frequently you should make use of the pen.

Are teeth whitening pens safe?

As an over-the-counter product, a whitening pen is typically very safe to use. However, it should be used as per the instructions. If used haphazardly, you can face some side effects and issues. Some of the common side effects of using these products cause include:

  • Tooth sensitivity, which can last between 24 and 48 hours after the use of the pen.
  • Gum irritation. In order to avoid this, stop the application just before your gum line.
  • Damage to the enamel of the teeth. Depending on the strength, the peroxide compounds in the pen can damage your teeth if the pen is overused.

Make sure to use a pen that has gentle ingredients, so you can reduce the chance of side effects. You should also make sure to use these products only when necessary, as overuse can increase the chances of enamel damage. For more detailed information, consult your dentist.

What are the best teeth-whitening pens?

The right whitening pen for your teeth depends on things like how sensitive your teeth are and how often you want to use it. Here are some good choices to try if you’re not sure which one to get.

Smilebriter pens are some of the most popular whitening pens on the market. They come in a refreshing peppermint flavor, so you don’t need to worry about a medicated taste in your mouth when using.

Featuring a gentle formulation, this whitening pen works while you sleep, so you don’t need to worry about waiting for it to dry during the day. Just apply before sleeping and rinse in the morning, and you’re good to go. Each pen includes 35 nightly treatments, so you can be confident you’re getting your money’s worth. The pen is also gluten-free and sugar-free.

Related: How much does teeth whitening cost?

Comes in a natural mint flavor, so you don’t need to worry about a medicated aftertaste. The formula is safe and gentle to use, and the pen can be used up to two times a day. This well-reviewed product can remove even years of accumulated stains on your teeth.

An all-natural alternative to more traditional brands, this fluoride-free pen is available in a subtle, coconut-mint flavor. It takes inspiration from the oil pulling method of teeth whitening and not only helps whiten your teeth but also helps provide healthier gums.You can also consult a dentist for personalized suggestions. They can help guide you based on the sensitivity of your teeth, as well as how strong a product you need.

Other benefits of teeth-whitening pens

Pens are really convenient and easy to use where you need them. You can apply them only to areas or teeth that need the treatment, instead of being forced to apply to all your teeth as a whole.

Related: Bad breath: Why preventative care is the best way to treat it

They can also be less irritating to your gums than other at-home whitening products. The lack of a complicated and cumbersome application apparatus also means you don’t have to worry about triggering excess saliva or the other side effects that trays and strips produce.

Finally, whitening pens are some of the most affordable whitening options around. They’re also available over the counter at most drugstores.

Final thoughts

So, are teeth-whitening pens worth a try? Yup! They may not offer permanent results, but for their convenience and affordability, they’re one of the better options available. If you’re in doubt, you can always check with your dentist.

Get $50 when you see a top-rated dentist.

Ask a dentist about teeth whitening options. Book your check up now!

Book now

If you’re prone to tooth sensitivity, we recommend consulting your dentist before trying any at-home whitening options. These only tackle surface-level stains, and dentists can provide a much more effective whitening.

Are teeth whitening pens worth the hype? Let's break it down. (2024)


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