Whitening pens: what to think of this method of tooth whitening?

Updated: November 1, 2022
Tooth Whitening
What about whitening pens?

Do you know the whitening pens? The fashion was launched in big cities a few years ago: just as you go to the manicurist or the hairdresser, you go to a whitening pen where you stay for 20 minutes and come out with a bright smile.

Is it really serious? Is it dangerous for your teeth? Nutrident explains in detail how whitening pens work.

What is the principle of the whitening pen?

Paradoxically, there is one thing you won't do in a whitening pen: drink! The principle is based on the teeth whitening practiced in a dental office. The whitening pen employee will place two trays, one on each jaw, which are impregnated with a hydrogen peroxide-based gel. He then attaches a device that allows you to spread your lips, so that you can expose your teeth to a cold blue light for about twenty minutes.

Once the time is up, you remove the trays, rinse your mouth and you're done.

What is the danger of whitening pens?

whitening pens use a product that was previously reserved for dentists: hydrogen peroxide. The dosage of this product is strictly regulated by law, and rightly so, because any abuse can damage the teeth, sometimes irreversibly.

The European regulation governing the use of hydrogen peroxide gel

The DGCCRF (General Directorate of Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control) ensures compliance with the regulation that must be applied to teeth whitening products, as they fall into the category of cosmetic products defined by European Regulation No. 1223/2009 of November 30, 2009.

This regulation defines the dosage of bleaching gels. They are still available over the counter up to 0.1% hydrogen peroxide. Beyond that, these products are reserved for the exclusive professional use of dentists.

Products used by whitening pens

whitening pens that comply with the law must therefore remain below 0.1%. If so, there is no risk to your teeth.

If abused, too much hydrogen peroxide can affect your teeth and mucous membranes. The gel contained in the mouthpiece always comes into contact with the gums. If the gel is overdosed, you risk at worst a certain irritation which will certainly be unpleasant, but which will not be of any consequence. Your gums will soothe in a few hours.

On the other hand, your enamel may be more or less damaged. Too high a concentration can weaken it and create exacerbated sensitivity in your teeth, as they will be less protected. There is also the risk of damaging your amalgams and composites.

If you overdo the sessions and your gel is overdosed, you risk irreparably damaging the enamel of your teeth.

How do I know if a whitening pen is legal?

Unless you are a chemist, you have no way of controlling the hydrogen peroxide dosage of the gel. You need to be able to trust the staff at the bar you choose.

Customer testimonials

Choose a whitening pen that observes reliable testimonials. Judge by the welcome you receive. A professional will begin by asking you questions to verify that there are no contraindications: are you undergoing a particular treatment, do you suffer from a chronic dental disease, especially periodontal disease, are you pregnant, are you of age, etc.

Hydrogen peroxide dosage

Still, ask about the dosage of hydrogen peroxide, even if you have no way of checking. If the employee tells you about sodium perborate, you should know that this substance releases hydrogen peroxide on contact with saliva, which is the same thing.

Prices and hygiene

Also check the rate. The prices are free, you will pay between 30 and 300 €. This big difference is often only justified by the location of the bar, not by the difference in service.

The dosage of hydrogen peroxide complies with French standards

Pay attention to hygiene. A whitening pen must be gleaming, its employees must be impeccable and the wearing of gloves is highly recommended.

We are in a very controlled country, but zero risk does not exist. Only go to a whitening pen after taking all these precautions.

What results can I expect after a session at a whitening pen?

First, you should know that your teeth cannot become whiter than the natural shade you inherited. The whitening pen has an impact on the whiteness of teeth, but it is still less than that of in-office whitening. See also our review of at-home teeth whitening, which also offers superior results.

However, if you go to a serious establishment, you will see a noticeable difference that will put a little sparkle back into your smile.


whitening pens attract. And for good reason! These places promise to whiten teeth in 20 minutes, while observing strict hygiene rules. But behind the dream image of a cheap whitening method, many doubts remain.

Before trying this method, it is important to be well informed about it. Regularly denounced by health professionals, dentists warn of the dangers of these quick whitening solutions.


Which professional can perform a teeth whitening?

Tooth whitening is not a medical procedure, but a comfort procedure for aesthetic purposes. Beauticians can offer whitening solutions. However, only dentists are authorized to apply products in the mouth to whiten teeth.

What is American teeth whitening?

American teeth whitening is distinguished by the use of a gel with a higher dose of hydrogen peroxide. This allows for a brighter whitening by going from 2 to 9 whitening shades.

What people cannot benefit from teeth whitening?

Tooth whitening is not recommended for certain specific profiles such as pregnant people, people with hypersensitive teeth or with lesions on their teeth

Medical Sources

Paris Dental Surgeons Union: Smile Bars