Shopping The 8 Best Teeth Whitening Pens for Your Brightest Smile Philips Zoom Whitening Pen promises fast results at an affordable price point. By Audrey Noble Audrey Noble Twitter Audrey Noble is NYC-based contributing beauty commerce writer. She covers all things beauty, hair products, and makeup. InStyle's editorial guidelines Updated on October 12, 2022 @ 02:08PM Pin Share Tweet Email In This Article Expand Jump to a Section Our top picks Reviews What to Keep in Mind Your Questions, Answered We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more. Nordstrom / Sephora / InStyle The best way to truly whiten your teeth is by seeing your dentist and getting it done professionally. But for those times you want to brighten your smile and fight off those pesky surface stains (yes, the ones sadly caused by coffee, wine, etc.) in between office treatments, a teeth whitening pen can be a great add-on to your daily brushing routine. We’re lucky that there are so many options out in the market, but how do we know if a pen is legit or not? That’s where we turned to the experts. We asked cosmetic doctor of dentistry and founder of TruGlo Modern Dental, Rhonda Kalasho, M.D., cosmetic dentist at Lowenberg, Litchy & Kantor, Brian Kantor, M.D., and doctor of medicine in dentistry at Wally, Melineh Issayans, M.D. to break down how teeth whitening pens actually work, what to look for, and a few of their recs. Our best overall option is Philips Zoom Whitening Pen because of its high concentration of hydrogen peroxide. Keep reading to find the best teeth whitening pens, according to dentists. Our Top Picks Best Overall: Philips Zoom Whitening Pen at Amazon Jump to Review Best Natural: Lumineux Ultra-Bright Pen at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Surface Stains: AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Pen at Amazon Jump to Review Best Overnight: Colgate Overnight Whitening Pen at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Sensitive Teeth: Tarte Vegan Teeth Whitening Pen Jump to Review Best Value: VieBeauti Teeth Whitening Pen at Amazon Jump to Review Best Splurge: Go Smile GLOW on the GO Jump to Review Best Flavored: Moon Teeth Whitening Pen at Ulta Jump to Review Best Overall Philips Zoom Whitening Pen 5.25% HP (1 Pen) Amazon View On Amazon What We Love: It’s an easy application that promises fast results for a reasonable price. What We Don’t Love: Reviews read that it does go on super thick, which may be unpleasant at first. Dr. Kantor says it’s all about personal preference when picking the best teeth whitening pen, but if he had to pick a favorite it would be the Philips Zoom Whitening Pen. Despite its low concentration of hydrogen peroxide, it’s extremely effective in whitening teeth. “Its quality 5.25 percent hydrogen peroxide formula is usually quite effective on yellow stains if you use it continuously for 10 to 14 days,” he says. As an added bonus, he says that it fits right in your bag so you can take it with you wherever you go without worrying if it will leak. A strong teeth whitener that won’t cause sensitivity and is super easy to use at a decent price point — this can’t be beat. Price at time of publish: $22 Active Ingredient: Hydrogen peroxide | Number of uses: Pen lasts for 30 days | Treatment Length: 30 minutes Best Natural Lumineux Oral Essentials Ultra-Bright Pen 2-Pack Amazon View On Amazon View On Lumineuxhealth.com What We Love: It is non-toxic and microbiome safe.What We Don’t Love: Reviews read that the gel slips from teeth easily. Dr. Issayans calls Lumineux Oral Essentials Bright Pen a standout. She explains that it doesn’t use any concentration of hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth, instead it uses naturally derived ingredients such as dead sea salt, aloe vera, and coconut oil to remove stains and yellow color without harming teeth. “The benefit of opting for the natural ingredients is a lower chance of tooth sensitivity,” she says. “For those wanting to be more ingredient-conscious, it's a great choice." Price at time of publish: $50 Active Ingredient: Vegetable glycerol | Number of uses: 20 | Treatment Length: 30 minutes Best for Surface Stains AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Pen 4.2 Amazon View On Amazon View On Walmart View On Auraglow.com What We Love: It’s a quick whitening treatment that uses carbamide peroxide to gently brighten teeth.What We Don’t Love: Some reviews say the product gets used up quicker than it claims. For a fast-acting teeth whitening pen to get rid of surface stains, turn to the Auraglow Teeth Whitening Pen. It uses carbamide peroxide to gently whiten teeth without causing irritation on even the most sensitive teeth. It works in as little as one minute and can start to whiten teeth in just seven days. Be aware that the pen claims to contain 20 applications, but users say it goes quicker if you’re not careful with the amount you apply. Price at time of publish: $26 Active Ingredient: Carbamide peroxide | Number of uses: 20 | Treatment Length: One minute Best Overnight Colgate Optic White Overnight Whitening Pen View On Amazon View On Target View On Walmart What We Love: It contains a low concentration of hydrogen peroxide, so it’s less likely to harm even sensitive teeth.What We Don’t Love: It may take longer to see results due to the low concentration of hydrogen peroxide. Dr. Issayans likes Colgate Optic White Overnight Whitening Pen because it’s safe enough to use overnight for even the most sensitive teeth. It only contains three percent hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth (most other whitening pens go up to at least 10 percent), but even with that low concentration, it is still effective at whitening teeth (it just may take a bit longer to see results). Simply put it on before bed and let the gel work overnight for a brighter smile in the AM. Price at time of publish: $23 Active ingredient: Hydrogen peroxide | Number of uses: 35 | Treatment Length: Overnight Best for Sensitive Teeth Tarte Pearly Girl Vegan Teeth Whitening Pen View on Ulta View On Sephora What We Love: It’s made with gentle ingredients.What We Don’t Love: It is recommended that you use it four times a day, which can be tedious if you’re looking for something low-maintenance. Tarte Pearly Girl Teeth Vegan Whitening Pen is Dr. Issayans’ pick for sensitive teeth. “[It’s] formulated to be a highly ingredient-conscious option,” she says. “It also has a balanced pH level and desensitizing ingredients to be sure it’s the most gentle teeth whitening option.” Along with hydrogen peroxide, it is made with a vegan compound that gently whitens teeth while also protecting the enamel. The downside to a super gentle formula is how often you need to apply it — it's recommended to apply it four times a day to see results. Price at time of publish: $24 Active Ingredient: Hydrogen peroxide | Number of uses: Over 20 | Treatment Length: 15 minutes Best Value VieBeauti Teeth Whitening Pen Amazon View On Amazon What We Love: You get three pens for under $15.What We Don’t Love: This whitening pen has a strong mint taste that might be off-putting to some. For a budget-friendly option, try VieBeauti Whitening Pen. It uses a more gentle whitening ingredient, carbamide peroxide, to brighten teeth. The ingredient is a great choice if you have any sensitivity. Plus, you get three pens for less than $15 — now that's a steal. While most teeth whitening pens are flavorless, this one has a strong mint flavor, similar to toothpaste. We like the fresh mouth feeling, but others may find it to be overpowering. Price at time of publish: $14 Active Ingredient: Carbamide peroxide | Number of uses: Over 30 | Treatment Length: 15 minutes Best Splurge Go Smile GLOW on the GO View on Ulta View On Nordstrom View On Target What We Love: It’s a set that contains both a whitening pen and a LED device to deliver maximum brightness.What We Don’t Love: It’s one of the higher maintenance options. For a really powerful whitening set, turn to Go Smile Glow On The Go Teeth Whitening Device & Pen. This two-step process makes it easy for you to whiten your teeth. First, you apply the hydrogen peroxide-based gel and then you lock it in with the LED device, holding it for 30 seconds on each row to set it. LED light has shown to activate the hydrogen peroxide; it breaks apart the gel faster and quickly lifts any stain, resulting in a brighter smile. Price at time of publish: $79 Active Ingredient: Hydrogen peroxide | Number of uses: Twice a day | Treatment Length: 1 minute Best Flavored Moon Kendall Jenner Teeth Whitening Pen View On Ulta What We Love: The flavor is a sweet but subtle mix of strawberry, honeysuckle, lavender, and vanilla mint. What We Don’t Love: The whitening ingredient is not as strong as other options on this list. If you’re looking for a pen that won’t deliver a medicinal or overpowering mint flavor, Dr. Issayans recommends Moon Kendall Jenner Teeth Whitening Pen in Vanilla Mint. It mixes strawberry, honeysuckle, lavender, and vanilla mint for a very lovely flavor that isn’t too sweet or overbearing. Plus, it uses clean ingredients to whiten teeth without irritation. Because the ingredients are natural, they are also more gentle. You’ll need to use it for a longer amount of time — up to 30 minutes twice a day — to see results in two weeks. Price at time of publish: $20 Active Ingredient: Propylene glycol | Number of uses: Two times a day for two weeks | Treatment Length: 10 to 30 minutes What to Keep in Mind Ingredients Dr. Kantor says that the most important ingredient to look for in a teeth whitening pen is hydrogen peroxide. This ingredient is one of the most well-known and powerful for teeth whitening. While many whitening options contain up to 10% of hydrogen peroxide, Dr. Issayans adds that it has a higher risk for sensitivity because of its strength and quickness in getting rid of stains. If you are sensitive or looking for something more gentle, he says to look for carbamide peroxide, which is a derivative of hydrogen peroxide. Other ingredients that can help prevent tooth sensitivity and improve oral health include potassium nitrate and xylitol. The whitening ingredient you choose and the concentration can also impact how quickly you see results. Lower concentrations or less effective ingredients will need to be used over more days and weeks (and possibly for longer time periods each day) to get the whitening you are looking for. Whitening Strips vs. Whitening Pens The main difference between whitening strips and whitening pens, says Dr. Issayans, is how fast whitening strips use a hydrogen peroxide base. She explains that the physical strips create a barrier between the teeth and lips, which allows for the hydrogen peroxide to quickly whiten teeth. With whitening pens, the gel comes into contact with the lips and cheeks. While it’s safe and still effective, it becomes weaker without a barrier. Dr. Kalasho agrees and adds that teeth whitening pens have such low levels of peroxide because you end up swallowing the gel as opposed to having it stick on your teeth. While this is still safe, the pens won’t be as effective a method as other teeth whitening options. “A whitening pen will remove surface stains, but will not really whiten your teeth because it does not stay isolated on your teeth.” “Whitening pens are not a substitute for strips, but they do reach tricky spots, like where crooked teeth overlap,” says Dr. Kantor. Whitening pens can also be useful for those who dislike the feeling or time commitment of strips. Or who want a product they can use in-between their professional whitening sessions. Your Questions, Answered Are teeth whitening pens safe? Generally yes, whitening pens are safe. You just have to use each product as instructed. “Since this whitening method does not create a barrier between the gums and cheeks and the gel, it is purposely gentler than some other whitening products,” says Dr. Issayans. “However, if used outside of the manufacturers’ instructions, such as wearing it for extended periods of time or using it too often, it could lead to issues like tooth sensitivity or irritation of the gums or cheeks.” How do teeth whitening pens work? According to Dr. Issayans, teeth whitening pens disperse a whitening gel through a brush tip directly on the tooth when you twist or push a dial at the bottom. You then paint on a thin layer of gel over your teeth, allowing it to dry and set for the recommended time. Once it sets, you can brush off any excess gel. Dr. Kantor says that they are most effective when used right before a meeting, special event, or an instance where you want whiter teeth. He also says that they can be useful right after meals as many colored foods (berries, coffee, tea, red wine, and more) can leave a stain. Dr. Kalasho adds that for a teeth whitening pen to be its most effective, it should stay on your teeth for upwards of 30 minutes. But be sure to read labels on the formula you choose on the recommended length of time.