Admit it, if you don’t smile that much, it’s probably because you have gnarly teeth…or a very stoic personality. It could be both. But if it’s just your teeth, literally, coming in the way of your happiness, you need to do something. In such instances, the mind usually wanders towards the easiest, most accessible solution – teeth whitening pens. But do teeth whitening pens work, or is it just money down the drain?
Their convenience and affordability alone can convince many consumers. Even if you’re just looking to sparkle up your teeth for an even more beautiful smile, you can use a teeth whitening pen. A healthy mouth is a sign of good body hygiene, which everyone is attracted towards.
Having food stuck between the teeth is embarrassing enough; imagine having yellow teeth persistently. Other people think of them as “dirty”, and so you do. So, if your eyes end up falling on a teeth whitening pen, you might want to give it a shot. But, before you do that, just read on to find out if it’s the right thing to do.
What Is A Teeth Whitening Pen?
If you haven’t ever, for the life of you, laid your eyes on a pen (the writing one) or used one, you might struggle with the understanding of teeth whitening pens. They are, well, like pens! But you don’t write anything with these, of course. You more or less paint a coat of it on top of your teeth, so it’s basically like writing on your teeth.
These over-the-counter products come in a thin, small plastic tube that contains the whitening gel inside. Depending on the product, the formula of the whitening gel can vary. Also, in some pens, you have to push the bottom for the brush to come out or twist it for releasing the whitening gel.
They are far easier to carry and work with than teeth whitening strips or trays, which can explain their popularity. Moreover, they can give quick results.
Besides, there’s no shame in carrying this handy product. Most of us consume teeth-staining foods like coffee, tea, curry, red wine, berries, and soy sauce, etc. There, a teeth whitening pen can help. However, keep in mind, they only work to make minimal changes to the appearance of the teeth. If you really do have the teeth of an Englishman, you’ll need more than just teeth whitening pens.
What Are the Ingredients of Teeth Whitening Pens?
Teeth whitening pens typically contain either of the two peroxide compounds: carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. These are typical bleaching agents that are found in at-home whitening kits.
It doesn’t matter whether your teeth whitening pen contains hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. According to a study published in the Journal of American Dental Association, there’s no significant difference between the effectiveness of these two bleaching agents in teeth whitening.
How Do Teeth Whitening Pens Work?
According to the American Dental Association, the bleaching agents break down the stains on the teeth into smaller pieces. This lightens the colour and makes the teeth look whiter. You might notice bubbling on your teeth after the application of the gel from the teeth whitening pen.
That’s only because of the breakdown of the peroxide molecule and the release of oxygen. Some say that it means that the teeth whitening pen is working, but that’s really questionable. We can’t say for sure that it’s effective because using teeth whitening pens does not work for everyone.
How To Use A Teeth Whitening Pen?
For using a teeth whitening pen, you only have to do the following:
- Take the pen, remove its cap, and push the brush out (if it isn’t protruded already).
- Twist the pen for the whitening gel to come out.
- Brush it on the surface of the teeth ( and between them) in a circular motion and stop short of the gum line as it can cause irritation.
- Let the bleaching agent dry; it can take a few seconds to a few minutes.
- After the drying of the bleaching agent, let it sit on your teeth for 20 to 30 minutes. Do not do anything, like eating, drinking or nail-biting, as it can dislodge the film.
- Although the film dissolves on its own, you should still brush your teeth to make sure that it’s not remaining there.
How Long Does it Take for Whitening Pens to Work?
That really depends on your teeth. For some people, a few rounds do the job. However, do not expect to see results soon after using it to whiten your teeth. That’s because home whitening works for some and doesn’t work for others at all. If your teeth are too yellow, even the best teeth whitening pens won’t give you immediate results.
How Often Should You Use the Whitening Pen?
For that, make sure to read the application instructions at the back of the product as they can vary. Some recommend using the whitening pen daily, 2-3 times a day to see any results. You may end up using it 30-60 times in 2 weeks. However, make sure that the frequency of usage isn’t more than what’s considered safe. For that, for once, you need to read the instructions.
But, do teeth whitening pens work?
Yes, they do. But they are no miracle cures for yellowing, browning or greying teeth. If the stains are too deep or dark, and teeth have discoloured, no at-home whitening system can help. To see the benefits of the pen, you also need to make sure that you’re following the instructions on the pack. Still, the results of such whitening products are only temporary. Also, keep in mind that these pens won’t work on crowns or veneers.
These pens are useful in maintaining the results of teeth whitening. But they are no substitute for a toothbrush and toothpaste. You need to make sure that you have good oral hygiene. Simply trying to break the stains for whiter teeth and a whiter smile won’t do much.
Are Teeth Whitening Pens Safe?
As the old proverb goes, excess of anything is bad. You can get these whitening products OTC, so they are safe to use. However, some people think that if they use more of it, they’ll end up with whiter teeth more quickly. That’s not exactly how they really work.
If you brush your teeth too much, you can end up damaging the enamel, which can cause cavities and tooth loss. Similarly, if you do overuse these pens, the bleaching agents in the gel can cause permanent damage to your teeth. Therefore, once again, read the instructions and follow them!
Side Effects of A Whitening Pen
You may experience the following side effects of using such at-home teeth whitening products:
Damage to the Enamel
The bleaching agent pushes into the enamel to whiten the teeth. No matter you’re using carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, you need to make sure that you’re not overusing it.
Pushing through the enamel, the hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide in these whitening products can even penetrate the dentin. There, it can irritate the nerves, which can cause tooth sensitivity. Usually, it goes away after a day or two; it is uncomfortable, regardless, since you’re going to eat or drink something during that time.
Irritate the Gums
Many people are not careful about the application process and simply marvel at how convenient it is. When applying it on the surface of the teeth, be very careful around the gum line; do not apply it there. This can cause sensitive gums, teeth, and even lips if the pen touches it. Moreover, it can irritate the gums.
To avoid dealing with these side effects, make sure that you get a whitening pen with gentle ingredients. If you’re experiencing any of these side effects after using a whitening pen, make sure to visit your dentist’s office.
What Are the Downsides of Using Teeth Whitening Pens?
Other than causing gum irritation, sensitive teeth and damage to the enamel, the problem with teeth whitening pens is that they’re just not long-term solutions to teeth stains. Moreover, they aren’t sustainable. You might also have white and yellow patches on your teeth after using them. So, really, their formula can harm your oral health.
Can Anyone Use Teeth Whitening Pens?
Normally, yes. However, the bleaching agents in these whitening products are not considered safe for a woman who’s pregnant. It is not known how these can affect the fetus. Therefore, you shouldn’t use them during pregnancy to be on the safe side.
Other than that, people who have sensitive teeth or have gum disease should also not use these to avoid further irritation. Very rarely, they can cause an allergic reaction, so keep that in mind.
What Is An Alternative Teeth Whitening Treatment?
Teeth whitening pens will only give you short-lived results. Many factors can determine the longevity of the results, such as age, diet, lifestyle, and condition of the teeth. Teeth whitening products’ results usually last between 6 months to 1 year.
The best long-term tooth whitening treatment option is dental crowns. For that, the dental professional will shave your teeth. Since that’s permanent, some people do not want to get dental crowns. In its stead, they can get composite bonding or veneers, whatever suits them best, depending on their needs. These treatments can give you a bright and white smile for a long time.
You’re on the internet; no shame in being lazy, right? So the TL;DR version to do teeth whitening pens work is that yes, they do! But, they only have short-lived results. Moreover, it cannot get rid of deeper stains and tooth discolouration. Crowns, composite bonding, and veneers offer long-term solutions to these problems.