Teeth Whitening Gel: Use, Side Effects and More

teeth whitening gel

Do you want a brighter smile but can’t afford to get professional treatment? A teeth whitening gel is a much cheaper solution.

These gels usually contain about 6 to 44 percent bleaching agent.

However, it is best to only use up to 22 percent concentration of carbamide peroxide.

These gels can be used on their own or put inside a teeth whitening pen, strips or mouth trays.

They are the main ingredient to whiten your teeth hence, doctors also use them in professional whitening provided that the concentration of the active ingredient is much higher.

This article discusses how you should use these gels and their benefits. Keep reading to know more.

teeth whitening gel use


Using a Teeth Whitening Gel

The gel is one of the main products to whiten teeth for dramatic results.

It is present in other products as well except for whitening toothpaste and rinses.

Whitening toothpaste usually contains abrasives such as baking soda that can whiten teeth up to one shade.

Whitening rinses do contain the active ingredient i.e. hydrogen peroxide but that is not in the gel form.

Other products usually use whitening gels. These include:

Mouth Trays 

You need to wear a mouth tray for 30 minutes once or twice a day for tooth whitening.

However, you need to put the gel inside the trays and then wear it.

This is how they will whiten your teeth when the gel gets in contact with your tooth surface.

Furthermore, the LED light in mouth trays activates the bleaching agent so that it reaches deeper into the dentin.

Regular use for 4 weeks can give lasting whitening results for 4 months or longer.


The transparent strips are filled with a gel that contains active ingredients to whiten teeth.

Usually, the gels contain a peroxide base and the teeth whitening strips are completely coated with it.

As they come in contact with your teeth, the active ingredient begins to work to make your teeth whiter.

The results can last for up to 4 months.


A teeth whitening pen contains a gel inside.

Once you twist the pen enough to squeeze out the gel, you can apply the brush tip of the pen directly to your teeth.

Actually, you are applying the gel in the design of the portable and small pen.

However, the concentration of the gel in the pen is much lesser than in other whitening systems.

Therefore, the results are quick but subtle and short-lived.

You can also apply the gel on its own. More on this later!


Teeth Whitening Gel Ingredients

The main ingredients for whitening are peroxide bases, carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide.

They remove surface stains and well deeper stains by bleaching them.

Reacting with the structure of the stains reduces their visibility and decreases discoloration.

Carbamide peroxide is made of urea and hydrogen peroxide.

It works comparatively slower than hydrogen peroxide that can also act on deep discoloration.

Hence it is usually used in at-home kits(over the counter whitening).

If your dentist suggests you to use a mouth tray then they will preferably recommend carbamide peroxide gel.

Whereas the ones they use in the clinic is hydrogen peroxide with 15 to 38 percent concentration.

Hence, the results are faster but the sensitivity is also greater.

To counteract the sensitivity caused by the bleaching agent, the gels contain ingredients that significantly decrease tooth sensitivity.

Amorphous Calcium Phosphate and Potassium Nitrate reduce the sensitivity resulting from the whitening process.

Some amount of sensitivity is expected after bleaching however, it does not last as long and usually goes away on its own.

You will not get the same results from home whitening kits as you you will from professional teeth whitening.

The concentration of the bleaching gel and is much less, especially in pens.

Therefore, the results are slower and while they are visible in a few days, you need to apply the gel for 10 to 14 days on average.

Now that you are aware of the ingredients inside the gel, let’s find out how to use and apply it.


Application and Usage

If you see visible stains and discoloration on your teeth, you may have begun to look into whitening treatments.

Gels are available over-the-counter however, it is better to consult your dentist regarding the best choice.

They will recommend you to use a gel placed in the mouth trays.

This ensures even and consistent whiteness as the trays cover your entire teeth.

Your dentist can make you custom trays that fit exactly on your teeth.

This prevents the gel from leaking and in return hurting your gums as well as posing the risk of swallowing.

They will instruct you on using the trays, tell you about best practices and prescribe an effective gel.

1. Firstly, Brush and Floss Your Teeth 

Begin the procedure by brushing and flossing teeth so that they are completely clean.

The gel will work properly on clean teeth.

You will get best results when your teeth are already cleaner.

2. Check the trays 

Make sure that they are clean before putting in the gel.

Also, try them on without the gel to see if they fit properly and are neither loose nor tight.

Also, ensure that the trays are totally dry.

Any moisture inside can reduce the efficacy of the gel hence, you will not get as good results.

3. Apply a Small Drop 

It is time to apply the gel inside the trays.

You may think it is best to fill it up.

Wrong! You only need a small drop. 

Use a syringe to insert about 0.5 ml of gel for one arch.

Place the drop in the front of the trays.

There is no need to spread it.

This amount is more than enough.

If there is more gel remaining in the syringe then recap it to use next time.

gel injection

4. Wearing the Trays 

When the gel is inside the trays, it is time to finally insert the trays.

Make sure that the trays are firmly in place and in contact with your teeth.

Wipe off any gel coming out of the tray using a cotton swab so that it does not touch your gums.

Wear the trays for 30 minutes once a day or as your dentist recommends.

You may have to wear them for 4 weeks or more depending on the results.

5. Post Whitening

Once you remove the tray, wipe off any gel remaining on your teeth and gums with a cloth and by brushing.

Rinse thoroughly- the trays and your mouth.

Continue with brushing and flossing as regular. Maintain good oral hygiene.

Also, refrain from eating and drinking foods that can stain your teeth throughout your whitening process.

Avoid, coffee, tea, berries and balsamic vinegar as they can all heavily stain your teeth again rendering the procedure useless.

You may also see a few white spots right after you remove the trays.

This is due to the dehydration when teeth are in contact with the trays.

However, these disappear in an hour.

6. Storing The Gel 

After you are done clean your trays with water and a toothbrush.

Next, store them in their container whereas place the gel in the refrigerator.

This helps to increase the shelf life of the gel by a year.

However, do not freeze it and follow the instructions of the manufacturer to store the gel.

You can also directly apply the gel onto your teeth without having to place it in a tray.

With the help of a small brush cover each tooth individually and repeat the process twice daily.

Apply it regularly for 10 to 14 days to see lasting results for 4 months.

However, the gel also has some side effects.

other options

Side Effects and Options

  • Irritation in gums
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Swallowing the gel

Whitening products can cause irritation if they come in contact with the gums.

Gels inside the strips and mouth trays can seep out especially if they are not fit.

Hence, when they get in contact with the gums, the peroxide base is bound to cause irritation.

Sensitivity is also a concern for any whitening treatment.

However, if there are Amorphous Calcium phosphate and other anti-sensitivity ingredients in the gel then it is less likely to happen.

Also, it is worth noting that sensitivity and irritation just occur during the whitening process and rarely last afterward.

As the gel can seep out then you need to be extra careful to not swallow it.

Peroxide-based ingredients in the gel are not for consumption so it is better to let a dentist apply the gel and treat you professionally.

A dentist can ensure that no gel touches your gums neither do you swallow it.

Good options in the market include AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Kit, Crest 3D White Whitestrips and Snow Teeth Whitening Kit.

Consult with your dentist to know which gel and teeth whitening kit is best for your use.

Remember that you cannot whiten crowns, veneers or fillings.

Thus if you have previous dental work then whitening gels are not suitable for you.


If you hope to get whiter teeth in order to have a bright smile then you can try using a teeth whitening gel.

Regularly using it will start showing results in a matter of days.

However, getting treatment from a dentist is a safer way to achieve whitening.



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