The 7 Best Teeth Whitening Pens of 2023

The Auraglow Teeth Whitening Pen whitens teeth without sensitivity

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Best Teeth Whitening Pen

Health / Jaclyn Mastropasqua

When you think about teeth whitening, you might picture hours spent at home with uncomfortable gel trays or whitening devices—or, even worse, thousands in medical bills and hours of discomfort getting a professional whitening treatment with your dentist. But if you’re looking for quick, convenient whitening options, you don’t want to worry about any of that—and, thankfully, there are plenty of options to choose from: especially whitening pens.

Teeth whitening pens are touted for their convenience and are an effective whitening option for quick results, Shahrooz Yazdani, DDS, CEO and director of Costello Family Dentistry in Carleton Place, Ontario, tells Health. Dr. Yazdani notes that while teeth whitening pens are great on the go if you’re looking for more drastic results, you might not get them with just a pen. “Results will be less optimal than in-office treatments as the concentration of the bleaching agent is usually lower in pens, so the process is gradual,” he says.

If you are looking for a quick touch-up or maintenance option—or even a way to prevent further staining from wine and coffee—teeth whitening pens are easy and effective. When shopping for a pen, keep an eye on the ingredients list. Both Dr. Yazdani and Bianca Velayo, DMD, dentist at Green Valley Smiles Dentistry in Henderson, Nevada, agree that hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are the most effective whitening ingredients, no matter what method you use.

While whitening pens begin to work immediately, we’ve also noted each pen’s expected time to full results—meaning the number of days, generally, that you’ll need to use it for longer-lasting whitening, along with its ingredients and the total number of applications each pen contains.

How We Selected

To choose the best teeth whitening pens, we researched the top options, including a few we tested in our lab tests. We considered each pen for its ingredients, wear time, number of applications, and time to results for touch-ups and full whitening treatments.

We also spoke to experts to determine what shoppers should know about teeth whitening pens, including the results they can expect, how they work, and who teeth whitening pens are best for.

Our experts included:

What to Know About Teeth Whitening Pens

Key Ingredients to Look for in Teeth Whitening Pens

“The most effective bleaching agents are hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide,” says Dr. Yazdani. “These are the most common chemicals used for in-office treatments.” He notes that you should keep an eye on your peroxide percentage. “Up to 10 percent peroxide content is considered safe for teeth; any higher, and you increase the risk of damage to your enamel.”

How to Use Teeth Whitening Pens

How you use a teeth whitening pen depends on the kind of results you’re expecting. You can use a teeth whitening pen as a full teeth whitening treatment, using a pen once to twice a day—or more, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions—for a week to see higher-level results.

If you’re just looking for a quick touch-up or maintenance between whitening treatments, you can use a pen any time you notice your teeth starting to look a little less white. Many teeth whitening pens also function as stain barriers, like the Lumineux Ultra-Bright Whitening Pen, meaning that you can apply them before eating or drinking something that might stain your teeth to avoid damage.

How Much to Expect to Pay for a Teeth Whitening Pen

Whitening pens are generally under $50. The picks on our list range from $20 to $50, with one pick over $100 thanks to its device and whitening pen combo. Our least expensive pick, the Arc Teeth Whitening Pen, was just $20.

Your Questions, Answered

How do teeth whitening pens work?

Teeth whitening pens work the same way as other whitening products, but they use a serum to apply whitening ingredients to your teeth. Most teeth whitening pens use a peroxide formulation—either hydrogen or carbamide—to break down stains. “Peroxide gels break down into water, oxygen, and reactive oxygen molecules,” explains Dr. Velayo. “These reactive oxygen molecules treat both the enamel and the dentin, oxidizing the bonds of discolored stain molecules. By changing the stained molecules, the tooth becomes lighter.”

Teeth whitening pens work best for quick touch-ups because they spend less time on your teeth, explains Dr. Velayo. “The most effective teeth whitening treatments involve a combination of the high peroxide concentration and wear time/interaction,” she says. “Typically, teeth whitening pens and other at-home treatments have a lower peroxide concentration and therefore require a longer wear time to achieve a visible result.”

Are teeth whitening pens safe?

Teeth whitening pens come in various strengths and with peroxide-free formulations so that most people can use them. While their lower peroxide percentages may not get you the drastic results you want, this makes them safer to use, as Dr. Yazdani explains that “because they usually have a lower concentration of the bleaching agent, there is little risk for enamel damage.”

Dr. Yazdani does note that you should be careful when applying teeth whitening pens, since they do require a little more free-hand work than most other whitening treatments. “Ensure you brush or rinse your mouth after directed use to help lower the risk of irritating your gums,” he says, because “if applied incorrectly, there is the possibility of irritating the gums.”

What results can I expect from a teeth whitening pen?

If you’re using a teeth whitening pen for touch up, you can expect results almost immediately after the first use, but they won’t be as extreme as with other teeth whitening treatments. If you’re using the teeth whitening pen for a fuller whitening treatment—like for several days—you can expect results comparable to other whitening treatments, like strips or gel trays.

Who We Are

Jaylyn Pruitt covers teeth whitening products for Health and Verywell Health. She uses the Crest Whitening Emulsions Pen for quick touch-ups in between whitening treatments. She has a Master of Library and Information Science with a focus on health information. Her goal is to provide easy-to-understand information with a patient perspective in mind.

Best Overall

AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Pen

AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Pen


Why We Like It: This comfortable, easy-to-use pen didn’t provide any tooth sensitivity or discomfort during testing

It’s Worth Noting: The carbamide peroxide might not get you the same results as a hydrogen peroxide pen

When we tested teeth whitening products, the Auraglow Teeth Whitening Pen was our top pick for whitening pens. “Very convenient to use…you can bring it with you anywhere,” our tester said. “It is easy for this to become a part of your routine after brushing your teeth since you can’t eat or drink afterward for an hour.” Our tester also loved that the pen didn’t cause any burning or sensitivity, giving it a 4.5 out of five for comfort.

The application takes under a minute. Just brush the applicator onto each tooth one to two times a day, then wait one hour before eating or drinking. You should see results after just one use, but use consistently for one week for a longer-lasting whitening treatment.

Price at time of publication: $37

Product Details:

  • Active ingredients: Carbamide peroxide
  • Number of applications: 20
  • Time to full results: One week
 Auraglow Teeth Whitening Pen

Health / Jessica Juliao

Best Value

ARC On-The-Go Teeth Whitening Pen

ARC On-The-Go Teeth Whitening Pen


Why We Like It: This budget-friendly whitening pen goes on quickly and offers high-level results

It’s Worth Noting: Full results take longer than with most other whitening pens

Teeth whitening can be expensive, especially when it comes to teeth whitening pens—thanks to their powerful whitening in a convenient package. But the Arc Teeth Whitening Pen offers a budget-friendly solution to on-the-go whitening. 

You can apply the Arc Teeth Whitening Pen twice daily for full results in two weeks. To apply, just brush onto teeth, smile for 60 seconds, and wait an hour before eating or drinking. You should see full results in two weeks.

Price at time of publication: $20

Product Details:

  • Active ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide
  • Number of applications: Not specified
  • Time to full results: Two weeks

Best Peroxide-free

Lumineux Oral Essentials Ultra-Bright Pen 2-Pack

Lumineux Oral Essentials Ultra-Bright Pen


Why We Like It: The pen works to both whiten teeth and repel future stains for longer-lasting results

It’s Worth Noting: The results may not be as dramatic as other pens that use peroxide

Peroxide—either hydrogen or carbamide—is the active ingredient in most whitening products, but it can lead to tooth sensitivity. “Whitening can also induce tooth sensitivity, as peroxide can pass through the enamel to the dentin layer of the tooth and irritate the pulp (nerve) of the tooth,” explains Lucy Hovanisyan, DDS, of ProHealth Dental in New Jersey. Lumineux, a fan-favorite whitening company, makes all its products without peroxide. Instead, they use a combination of essential oils to provide results—without any chemical taste you get from most whitening products.

The Lumineux whitening pen works like your standard teeth whitening pen, geared toward on-the-go results. Because the pen serves two purposes, it comes with two sets of instructions. If you’re using the pen primarily as a stain repellent—especially before that cup of coffee or glass of red wine—just apply two coats to your teeth and wait 60 seconds before eating or drinking. If you’re looking for whitening results, follow the same directions but wait 30 minutes before you eat or drink. You should see results after one application.

Price at time of publication: $45

Product Details:

  • Active ingredients: Coconut oil
  • Number of applications: 20
  • Time to full results: Not specified

Best for Sensitive Teeth

Crest Whitening Emulsions Pen

Crest Whitening Emulsions Pen

Courtesy of Amazon

Why We Like It: This pen uses a hydrating formula to take the sensitivity out of teeth whitening

It’s Worth Noting: It may be more prone to spills or leaking because of its tube design

Teeth whitening can be tough on sensitive teeth, even if you’re just using a whitening pen. Fan-favorite whitening brand Crest has the solution, with a whitening pen geared towards those worried about extra tooth pain while trying to brighten their smile. How’s it work? The Crest Whitening Emulsions Pen uses a hydrating whitening formulation. So while most whitening treatments dry out teeth during use—leading to that dreaded tooth sensitivity—the Crest whitening pen uses a hydrogen peroxide suspension that coats and rehydrates dried-out teeth before whitening. Even with that process, the whitening application only takes a few seconds.

The Crest Whitening Emulsions Pen looks slightly different than most other pens requiring clicks to get serum onto the brush. The Crest whitening pen instead uses a tube, making it easier to get to the gel, while many other pens can take as many as 20 clicks for the serum to get to the applicator. Just squeeze the tube, wait for your desired amount of serum to coat the applicator, and apply. Crest says you can expect full results after 14 treatments, but you can also use the pen as needed if you’re not looking for full whitening results. You can use the pen up to four times daily, meaning you may see optimum results in just four days. You should wait 30 minutes before eating or drinking.

Price at time of publication: $40

Product Details: 

  • Active ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide
  • Number of applications: Not specified
  • Time to full results: 14 treatments; may be applied up to four times per day

Best for Stains

SmileDirectClub Bright On Premium Teeth Whitening Kit

SmileDirectClub Teeth Whitening Kit with LED Light - 8 Pack Gel Pens - Professional Strength Hydrogen Peroxide


Why We Like It: The SmileDirectClub whitening gel was one of our favorites during our whitening kit lab test

It’s Worth Noting: The dispenser cap can sometimes get blocked

SmileDirectClub was one of our favorite brands during our teeth whitening products lab test, with its teeth whitening kit earning our top overall spot. Now, you can experience the whitening power of SmileDirectClub’s products in a quick, convenient package. While the whitening kit comes with an LED light for faster results, the SmileDirectClub kit uses the same powerful whitening gel you can take for quick touch-ups. During our test, our tester saw results of 10 shades whiter.

SmileDirectClub recommends using the whitening pen twice daily for fuller results, which should take just one week to see. Application takes five minutes—and the cool mint flavor makes the wait even easier. We also like that this kit includes lip balm as teeth whitening can sometimes chap lips during treatment—so you can freshen up both simultaneously.

If you’re looking for an even faster solution, SmileDirectClub’s stain barrier is great for using just before potential teeth staining—like that coffee or red wine—to keep your teeth fresh.

Price at time of publication: $25

Product Details:

  • Active ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide
  • Number of applications: Not specified; each kit lasts for one week of treatment
  • Time to full results: One week

Best LED

Colgate SuperNova Rechargeable At-Home Teeth Whitening Kit

Colgate SuperNova Rechargeable At-Home Teeth Whitening Kit
Verywell/Jhett Thompson

Why We Like It: This pen-LED kit offers a full whitening treatment in a shorter time frame

It’s Worth Noting: You can’t eat or drink for four hours after using the LED, so it’s not great for  a quick brighten.

If you’re looking for a whitening treatment that falls between committing to an hour-long LED treatment and a standard whitening pen, combining the two might be just what you want. Colgate SuperNova offers the results of a full whitening treatment with a shorter application. LED treatments work by breaking down peroxide faster, leading to whiter teeth sooner.

To use Colgate SuperNova, just apply to top and bottom teeth and wait 15 seconds. Follow up with the SuperNova LED tray for 10 minutes, and you should see full results in 10 days. The tray comes with a built-in timer, beeping once when you’re five minutes in and twice when you’re done with treatment. If you’re looking for a quick treatment process, note that you shouldn’t eat or drink for four hours after using the LED tray, and you’ll need to follow up with a brush after the waiting period.

When looking at whitening pen-LED combos, we also considered another option. The Go Smile Glo On the Go—a fan-favorite on TikTok—uses a similar process with less effective results.

Price at time of publication: $109

Product Details:

  • Active ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide
  • Number of applications: 30
  • Time to full results: 10 days
SuperNova Rechargeable At-home teeth whitening kit

Health / Jessica Juliao

Best Overnight

Colgate Optic White Overnight Whitening Pen

Colgate Optic White Overnight Whitening Pen

Why We Like It: Its increased wear time leads to longer-lasting whitening

It’s Worth Noting: It’s a much more time-consuming process than other whitening pens, so it’s not great for touching up teeth

While teeth whitening pens are typically a shorter-term solution, they can also work well if you want longer-lasting, overnight application without the fuss of an LED mouthpiece or whitening trays. Enter the Colgate Optic White Overnight Whitening Pen, designed specifically as a more effective, longer-term solution to whitening. Plus, this pen has one of the highest applications available, with more than 35 treatments available in one pen.

Colgate recommends drying your teeth before applying. To apply, apply to each tooth—top and bottom—applying more gel to the brush with every few teeth. Wait about 15 seconds for the gel to dry and leave overnight—that’s it! Thanks to its longer application time, you’ll see more dramatic results than a standard pen due to the extended contact period. “Whitening pens that have a higher peroxide concentration plus have the added benefit of increased wear interaction between the teeth and ingredients are the most effective products,” explains Dr. Velayo.

Price at time of publication: $25

Product Details:

  • Active ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide
  • Number of applications: 35
  • Time to full results: Full results in one week

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  1. Gasmi Benahmed A, Gasmi A, Menzel A, et al. A review on natural teeth whitening. J Oral Biosci. 2022;64(1):49-58. doi:10.1016/j.job.2021.12.002

  2. Bersezio C, Pardo C, Miranda S, Maran BM, Jorquera G, da Silva Jr A R, Fernández E. Evaluation of the effectiveness in teeth whitening of a single session with 6% hydrogen peroxide Laser/LED system. Photodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy. 36(2021);102532. doi:10.1016/j.pdpdt.2021.102532

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