How To Use Teeth Whitening Gel for At-Home Use

Teeth whitening gel is a popular product within the world of teeth whitening. It’s an effective method that can be purchased over the counter or from your dentist for at-home use. While popular, there are many different types of teeth whitening gel on the market and each has its own use. Below, we cover the basics of how to use teeth whitening gel for an at-home solution to a whiter smile, as well as some of the most common questions that surround this solution.

Does Whitening Gel Work?

Teeth whitening gel works well on natural, permanent teeth that are discolored due to normal staining. A tooth that has suffered injury and is now discolored, or any restorative dental repair (like a bonded filler added to repair a tooth), will not whiten with whitening gel. Other over the counter whitening products will also not whiten these teeth. With that being said, normal tooth enamel typically responds very well to whitening gels. Depending on the strength of the whitening gel and application method, you could notice whiter teeth within a week. No matter which product you purchase, read the instructions to know how often and for how long to use. The guidelines are there for a reason.

While we can’t speak for other brands, clinical studies with Smileactives products have shown great results with teeth whitening gel. Our Advanced Teeth Whitening Pen provided patients with teeth an average of 6 shades whiter in a 7 day period when used two to four times a day.


How to Use Teeth Whitening Gel

Whitening gel doesn’t come in a one-fits-all format. Gel could be put in generic trays which you place over your teeth, or you could buy custom fit trays from your dentist. There are also teeth whitening gel options that you add to your toothpaste, whitening strips, and there are products that allow you to brush whitening gel on your teeth with a small applicator brush. Regardless of the method, the same basic rules apply: whitening gel is applied to your teeth per manufacturer’s instructions and left to sit there for a recommended amount of time to remove stains from your teeth. Each product will require a different wear time, so make sure to read the instructions that come with your specific product.

Determining the best way to apply or use teeth whitening gel is likely a personal preference. Let’s cover some of the basics with trays, no trays, and whitening gel that you add to toothpaste to help you determine what the best fit for you is.


1. Using Teeth Whitening Gel with Trays?

There are typically two methods for using teeth whitening gel with trays:

  • 1. You could buy a kit at the store that comes with a generic-sized whitening tray. The whitening gel is applied into the base of the tray before being placed over your teeth. Over-the-counter products tend to be weaker in whitening potency so some of these products may need to be left on your teeth for several hours, some even overnight.
  • 2. Some dentists can sell you a teeth whitening kit which includes taking a mold of your teeth so that you will have a custom-fit tray. If the whitening tray molds perfectly to your teeth, whitening results will be more uniform. The potency of these products is often stronger as well, leading to quicker results.
  • 3. When using a tray for whitening, you will want to rinse your mouth following treatment. Use a toothbrush with no toothpaste to remove any gel that remains on your teeth.

2. How to Use Teeth Whitening Gel Without a Tray

Whitening your teeth with gel trays can get a little messy so you might want to experiment with other options to find your best match.

  • 1. Aside from putting whitening gel into trays, there are strips and brush-on applications. Whitening strips are quite common and can be found at a variety of price-points. Each strip is pre-gelled for convenience. Simply peel the protector off and place the strip over your teeth. Try hard not to get the gel on your gums as this can cause irritation, and try your best to press each part of the strip on your tooth, especially where teeth may be out of alignment, to allow for more even whitening. Rinse teeth following treatment to remove any remaining gel.
  • 2. Brush-on applications are another way to apply teeth whitening gel. They come in a teeth whitening pen form or bottle and brush. This is one of the easiest, most convenient, mess-free methods. When you apply the whitening gel with a brush, you gain more control over placement, which allows you to get the whitening gel where you need it and avoid areas (like your gums) where you don’t. Ofcourse, every product will have different requirements for the amount of time you leave it on, frequency of use, and level of whitening achieved.
  • 3. For brush-on applications, ensure you are applying a thin and even layer to each tooth for best results.
  • 4. Teeth whitening pens also have another advantage since they are portable. This allows you to use them throughout the day. After application, we recommend you wait 20 minutes before eating or drinking for best results (you don’t need to rinse off the gel from most teeth whitening pens).

3. Teeth Whitening Gel to Add to Toothpaste

One of the easiest methods for using teeth whitening gel surrounds products that you add to your toothpaste. These products can be used as your only whitening method or to maintain whiter teeth following whitening sessions. This method for teeth whitening gel tends to take longer to see results, but may be the best fit if you have a busy schedule since it works with your current routine and doesn’t require you to add any additional steps.

Now while we are aiming to educate with this information, Smileactives does carry a teeth whitening gel that you add to your toothpaste. Our Power Whitening Gel uses Polyclean® technology which boosts stain removal while generating an ultra-fine textured foam designed to whiten the whole tooth, even those dreaded nooks and crannies that are so hard to reach. In an average of 30 days, you could see whiter teeth up to six shades. You’re already going to brush your teeth twice daily, so add equal parts of toothpaste and whitening gel on your toothbrush, brush for two minutes, rinse, and done.


What if You Swallow Teeth Whitening Gel?

Fortunately, swallowing small amounts of the whitening gel solution won’t cause adverse effects. However, if large amounts are accidentally swallowed, you may experience stomach upset, vomiting, or throat irritation. If an excessive amount is consumed, you risk burning your mouth, esophagus, or stomach, as explained by Poison Control. All in all, if small amounts are swallowed while using teeth whitening gel, you’ll be ok; however, be mindful not to consume in excess.

How Long Should You Whiten Your Teeth with Gel?

If you suffer from sensitive teeth, you will want to use teeth whitening products less often. If you use the product too much, your tooth sensitivity could escalate. Depending on the product and type of application, some gel whiteners are used for 14 consecutive days while others are safe to use daily, like whitening gel that’s added to toothpaste. Each product has different instructions so follow the directions closely.

What is the Main Ingredient in Teeth Whitening Products?

Most typically, hydrogen peroxide has been the whitening agent used in teeth whitening products. However, carbamide peroxide and phthalimidoperoxycaproic acid (PAP) are also being used.

How Long to Leave Whitening Gel on Teeth?

This varies greatly depending on the product and your teeth.

  • 1. Products the dentists use will be much stronger and stay on for a shorter amount of time than over-the-counter products. Typically, peroxide is the effective whitening agent—dentists use 20-30% while at-home kits begin about 3.5%. Depending on this factor, the gel may stay on for 30 minutes or several hours.
  • 2. Tooth sensitivity and gum irritation matters. If your gums feel irritated during treatment, you may need to limit your whitening time. Same for tooth sensitivity: if you experience sensitivity after whitening, you’ll want to limit your usage time in following sessions, and even spread sessions apart.
  • 3. Degree of tooth staining plays a role in session times and frequency, too. If your tooth staining is milder, your sessions may be shorter than someone who has more discoloration.