How a teeth whitening pen works (2024)

How a teeth whitening pen works (1)

How a teeth whitening pen works (2)

Having a brighter and whiter smile doesn’t just improve our appearance—it improves our confidence, too. So it’s no wonder we have so many over-the-counter whitening products beyond just whitening toothpaste. One such product is a teeth whitening pen, which could be added to your oral care routine to enhance the brightness and whiteness of your teeth. Here, we’ll discuss what they are, how to use them, and their effectiveness.

How a teeth whitening pen works (3)

Colgate® Optic White®

Overnight Whitening Pen

Easy, effortless and effective teeth whitening while you sleep. Just click, apply and let the power of the enamel safe, hydrogen peroxide-based gel formula work overnight.

How a teeth whitening pen works (4)

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What Is a Teeth Whitening Pen?

Teeth can be stained from colored foods, such as berries, red sauces, coffee, tea, red wine, dark-colored sodas, and cigarettes. Likewhitening toothpaste, a teeth whitening pen fights these common stains—but it differs from toothpaste because of its size, portability, and general convenience.

Structurally, they are thin, plastic tubes that house a whitening gel and are designed to be small and portable. These pens can help improve your teeth' color by removing leftover stains on each tooth's surface. These whitening products often produce visible results quickly—sometimes, even after your first round of use.

Teeth whitening pens are ideal if you want to add a last-minute touchup to your teeth’s whiteness, perhaps because you have a special event coming up or want to add some sparkle in a short amount of time. And don’t be ashamed of wanting to brighten up your smile; frustration with teeth color is quite common; according to a2016 article in Operative Dentistry, over one-third of Americans are dissatisfied with the color of their teeth. So if you’re looking for a quick and simple method for brightening your smile, a teeth whitening pen could be a great option.


So, how do teeth whitening pens work? Like most over-the-counter teeth whitening products, teeth whitening pens typically contain one of two bleaches: hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. According to theAmerican Dental Association, these tooth bleaches break stains into smaller pieces. That, in turn, makes the stain less concentrated and make your teeth look brighter. It’s worth noting that, according to a 2016 study in Operative Dentistry, there is no significant difference in these two bleaches’ effectiveness, so a pen containing either bleach should be a good option. If you’re interested in using a teeth whitening penor are curious about other types of teeth whitening methods, chat with your oral care provider first to discuss the best option for your needs.


The main benefit of teeth whitening pens is convenience—unlike whitening trays and strips, a whitening pen is portable and small enough to fit in your pocket or purse so that you can take it on the go. Another benefit of teeth whitening pens is that they’re relatively quick and straightforward to use. While instructions may vary from product to product, the application mainly involves a few seconds of twisting and applying—that’s it!

How Effective Are They?

When it comes to these pens' effectiveness, it really depends on your type of discoloration and the application process. First,not all stains are created equal: these bleaching agents will likely whiten yellow stains but probably won’t whiten brown or grey stains. Also, this whitening method will not work on crowns, veneers, or fillings. It’s also important to closely follow the instructions, as the bleaching agents must remain on your teeth for a certain amount of time for the peroxides to interact with your stain, so you’ll have to avoid eating, rinsing, and drinking after you apply. This can be hard—but stay strong; it’ll be worth it!

That being said, if you’re using your teeth whitening pen correctly on yellowing teeth, you should see quick results. If you’re looking for a more significant boost to your teeth’s brightness, your dentist may have more powerful options, as these over-the-counter products typically contain a less concentrated amount of bleach than you would receive at the dentist’s office. Again—talk to your oral care provider about the best type of teeth whitening method.

How to Use

Instructions will likely have you use it twice daily. Here’s how a teeth whitening pen typically works:

  1. First, start by brushing your teeth with a soft-bristle toothbrush.
  2. After a thorough brushing, remove the top cap of the pen and twist the bottom of the pen until you see the gel on the brush tip.
  3. Then, apply a thin layer of whitening gel to each tooth’s surface, making sure the entire tooth’s surface is in contact with the whitening gel.
  4. Finally, don’t rinse. The product needs to stay on your teeth to work.

Side Effects

Sometimes, you may experience tooth sensitivity due to peroxide in the whitener pushing through your enamel and making contact with dentin, which may irritate your tooth’s nerve. But fear not—because teeth whitening pens have low doses of bleach, this type of sensitivity is typically mild and temporary. But if the sensitivity feels like too much to handle, talk to your dental care provider.

You deserve a whiter and brighter smile, and teeth whitening pens can make it easy to achieve. If quick and convenient teeth whitening is your goal, then this might be the right choice for you. To make regular improvements that stay with you, follow the directions of the product you use, and you should be on your way to a brighter, sparkling smile.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.


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2.3 billion

people worldwide suffer from tooth decay


What's behind your smile?

Take our Oral Health assessment to get the most from your oral care routine

Start Now


2.3 billion

people worldwide suffer from tooth decay


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How a teeth whitening pen works (2024)


How a teeth whitening pen works? ›

Teeth Whitening Pens are usually gel or serum based. Gels are usually a viscous consistency – much like a tooth whitening gel syringe refill. The serums set to form a thin coating which cannot be removed as easily and are more saliva resistant.

How does a teeth whitening pen work? ›

So, how do teeth whitening pens work? Like most over-the-counter teeth whitening products, teeth whitening pens typically contain one of two bleaches: hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. According to the American Dental Association, these tooth bleaches break stains into smaller pieces.

How does a whitener pen work? ›

They work as bleaching agents, breaking down the concentration and strength of surface stains. The Hydrogen Peroxide and Carbamide Peroxide contain a water-resistant base with active peroxide particles that chemically whiten your teeth without causing much irritation or sensitivity.

How does teeth whitening actually work? ›

Teeth whitening can make teeth whiter. The bleaching agent used for teeth whitening is peroxide which, in turn, breaks down the tooth enamel and makes it porous. This exposes the dentine below the enamel, and the bleaching agent penetrates deeper into the tooth's core to rebuild white tooth tissues from the inside out.

How many times a day should you use a teeth whitening pen? ›

Wait 60 seconds before closing mouth. Avoid eating or drinking for 1 hour after application. Apply 2 times per day for at least 14 days.

Do I rinse my mouth after using a whitening pen? ›

Don't rinse. Q: Do you really only leave this on for 30 seconds? Yes, just set a timer and it goes by fast!

What is the best whitening pen for your teeth? ›

Colgate Overnight Whitening Pen

Out of all the formulas we tried, this one received the highest praise for its value, effectiveness, and ease of use. It's comfortable enough to use on sensitive teeth and gums, which isn't always the case for whitening pens.

Do whitening pens work better than strips? ›

Quality Of Ingredients

An important factor to consider when deciding between whitening pens and strips is the quality of the ingredients present. In general, whitening pens contain higher-quality ingredients than strips. This means that a pen provides better coverage and more effective results in an easier way.

Can you drink water after teeth whitening pen? ›

A: We recommend a minimum 4-6 hours of contact with teeth and not eating or drinking 30 minutes post- treatment.

Can yellow teeth become white? ›

2. Can yellow teeth be bleached? Yellow teeth can be completely whitened with teeth whitening technologies at the dentist or at home. Depending on the status of your yellow teeth as well as your needs, the doctor will advise and prescribe the appropriate method.

Can baking soda whiten teeth? ›

Baking soda can be used with some water to remove the stains on the surface of the teeth. It can also be used with hydrogen peroxide to enhance its whitening effects. Baking soda can be used by individuals with regular toothpastes too. It is also used commercially in some teeth whitening products and toothpastes.

How to whiten teeth after 70? ›

Professional Dentistry for Seniors

If you want to whiten aging yellow teeth, you should make an appointment and head to your dentist's office. This option is a bit more expensive than purchasing tubes of toothpaste and packages of whitening trays from the store, but it is safer and more effective overall.

Does a teeth whitening pen really work? ›

Teeth Whitening Pens are a great way to achieve a whiter smile at home. They are easy to use, convenient and affordable. If teeth whitening pens are not for you, there are plenty of other whitening options to explore. Be sure to speak with your dental professional to discuss your options.

How fast do whitening pens work? ›

It takes only a few seconds to use them, and only about 15-30 minutes for them to do their work. While their whitening effect won't last indefinitely, it will hold for several hours, lasting long enough for business or social engagements. And if they're applied correctly, nobody will even realize you've used them.

Do teeth whitening pens go bad? ›

Most teeth whitening agents are good for approximately a year after it they have been manufactured.

How long does it take for a whitening pen to work? ›

It takes between two and seven days for whitening pens to work. Their results are usually temporary.

Are teeth whitening pens better than strips? ›

Ultimately, it depends on your goals and budget. If you're looking for fast results with precision whitening, a tooth whitening pen might be the way to go. However, if you want an easy-to-use solution that won't break the bank and still offers decent results, then teeth whitening strips may be a better choice for you.

Do teeth whitening pens work on dead teeth? ›

Using whitening treatments to whiten a dead tooth works well for some individuals, while for other people, the results are not quite so successful.

Are whitening pens permanent? ›

No, whitening pens don't make your teeth whiter for good. The effects of whitening pens are temporary, so you'll need to use them often to keep your teeth at the level of whiteness you want.

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