Which teeth whitening pens are best?
If you have light to medium stains on your teeth, a teeth whitening pen can help. By using one as part of your dental hygiene routine, you can remove most surface stains in as few as seven days. Some whitening pens are for those with sensitive gums, such as the Venus Visage Teeth Whitening Pen, which effectively removes tough stains while still being gentle.
What to know before you buy a teeth whitening pen
Teeth whitening pens are easy to use, especially if you want to remove stains on specific teeth. Before using one, brush your teeth and floss thoroughly to remove any food. Then, dry your teeth with a cotton swab or ball. From there, twist the bottom of the pen so that the whitening gel can come out and coat the brush.
Once you’ve covered the brush with the gel, brush your teeth with the whitening pen in vertical strokes. Go slowly so that you don’t miss any areas. This will help ensure even application and whitening. Avoid letting the gel come in contact with your gums as much as possible, especially if you have a sensitive mouth. If it does, use a Q-tip or cotton swab to dab it away gently.
After applying the gel, avoid drinking or eating anything for at least 30 minutes. Try to keep your mouth open for at least a couple of minutes, so no saliva gets on your teeth.
If you need to do a simple touch-up after the initial application, wait at least 10 minutes before using the pen again. If you want to reduce wait time, get a quick-drying whitening pen.
Stain removal and previous dental work
As with other home teeth whitening products, such as teeth whitening toothpaste or strips, these pens don’t work on all stains. In particular, they can’t cut through tough stains that are gray or brown. They also don’t work well on teeth that have been previously treated with things such as fillings, crowns or veneers. Depending on the ingredients, these pens can usually help combat stains caused by:
- Coffee or tea
- Red wine
- Sports drinks
- Tomato-based foods
- Balsamic vinegar
- Smoking cigarettes
Side effects and sensitivity
Using any teeth whitening solution at home, including pens, comes with a few potential side effects. These include:
- Sore gums: This happens when the whitening gel comes in direct contact with the gums and isn’t promptly removed. It’s fairly common wherever your lips come in contact with your teeth since this causes your saliva to move the gel toward the gums. People with sensitive gums are more susceptible to this.
- Stomach or throat irritation: Ingesting large quantities of whitening gel could result in minor throat irritation or an upset stomach.
These side effects generally only occur when using whitening products that contain abrasive ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide. They’re also temporary and should clear up on their own after a day or two.
What to look for in a quality teeth whitening pen
Teeth whitening pens are usually formulated with either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. Both are known bleaching agents, are similarly effective and can break down concentrated stains and remove discolorations, which is why they’re found in most teeth whitening solutions.
- Hydrogen peroxide: This works more quickly than carbamide peroxide but can more easily lead to tooth and gum sensitivity.
- Carbamide peroxide: Although it works more slowly than hydrogen peroxide, this ingredient reduces the risk of tooth sensitivity.
Most whitening pens consist of between 10% and 30% of either active ingredient. The lower the concentration, the less effective the gel is on tougher stains.
Pens for whitening your teeth are generally measured in fluid ounces or milliliters. Most are small at around 2 milliliters or .067 fluid ounces. Some manufacturers list how many uses you can get out of each pen, such as 20 times.
Some teeth whitening pens are more potent than others, meaning you won’t need to use them as often. However, if you consume a lot of beverages or foods that stain the teeth, you might need to use the pen more often. When dealing with more difficult stains, use the whitening pen once in the morning and once at night.
Other teeth whitening options
Consider visiting a dentist for professional treatment if your teeth whitening pen isn’t working as well as you want it to. Some dentists recommend using an at-home solution in conjunction with the professional one.
If you don’t want to go to a dentist, here are some other over-the-counter solutions:
- Teeth whitening strips that use the same active ingredients but stay on the teeth longer for more effective results
- Teeth whitening toothpaste and an electric toothbrush to cut down on food and stains
- Teeth whitening kits with gel and trays you can wear on your upper and bottom teeth to whiten them
How much you can expect to spend on a teeth whitening pen
The price depends on such factors as the number of pens included in the pack and their size, but most whitening pens for your teeth cost $10-$25.
Teeth whitening pens FAQ
Do these pens come in any flavors?
A. There aren’t a lot of options when it comes to flavors. Most come with either a neutral or minty taste.
Can teeth whitening pens do long-term damage to your teeth?
A. Generally, any side effects from using teeth whitening solutions are temporary and disappear once you stop using them. If they do not go away, consult a doctor immediately.
What are the best teeth whitening pens to buy?
Top teeth whitening pen
What you need to know: This reliable pen is great if you want something to help with minor stains or for touch-ups.
What you’ll love: Available in a pack of two, these pens are lightweight and portable. They’re also easy to apply and have enough gel for more than 20 uses. It has a mint flavor. It also contains carbamide peroxide, so it’s ideal for those with sensitive teeth.
What you should consider: It doesn’t specify how long it takes to see results.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top teeth whitening pen for the money
What you need to know: This pack comes with two pens and is formulated with 35% carbamide peroxide, making it ideal for those with sensitive teeth and mild stains.
What you’ll love: The mint-flavored gel can lighten and remove stains caused by coffee, tea, soda and smoking. Each portable pen can be used up to 20 times. Most people see results within seven days of regular use.
What you should consider: Although it’s gentler than hydrogen peroxide-based pens, the gel can still cause sore gums if left on too long.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This pen can whiten your teeth while protecting enamel.
What you’ll love: Free of artificial flavors, it comes with a soft-bristle brush that makes applying it easy. The gel clings well to the teeth, too, making it more effective. The main active ingredients are hydrogen peroxide and calcium. Some people see results after the first use.
What you should consider: It can cause slight gum sensitivity.
Where to buy: Sold by Sephora
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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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