If you have whitened your teeth and want to keep your sparkly new smile, then you might want to know what the best teeth whitening gels used by dentists in the UK are. Or maybe you had your teeth professionally whitened by a dentist, and you want to maintain your smile at home.
Either way, if you've had your teeth whitened you'll want to keep them that way. You may only need to find more teeth-whitening gel for trays, or maybe you need to find a full whitening kit. There are plenty of whitening kits available, as well as whitening gel refill pods and syringes.
The best teeth whitening gels used by UK dentists include Smile White, Opalescence, Philips Zoom, and Boutique Whitening. These gels have active ingredients like carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide and deliver noticeable whitening results. They are sold mainly through dental practices and are not typically available to buy over-the-counter purchase without dentist supervision.
However, you can purchase the Smile White teeth whitening kit online – our #1 recommendation – they give you 2 FREE Dentist appointments with a local teeth whitening expert, and guarantee brighter teeth for 3 years.
This article will discuss all of your options and answer the following questions, so you can keep your smile sparkly and your confidence high.
- Why do you need whitening gel refills?
- What is the best whitening gel in the UK?
- Can you use your whitening kit with a different brand of whitening gel?
- What types of whitening gel refills are available?
- Are there different application methods?
Let’s get started so you can get on top of maintaining those pearly whites!
The following table summarises all of the products that we will discuss in this article:
Best Whitening Gel
Smile Avenue Gel Refills
Hismile Teeth Whitening Pods
Snow Whitening Wands
SmileTime Whitening Gel Refills
Table of contents
What is the best whitening gel in the UK?
The best teeth whitening gel in the UK is undoubtedly one that your dentist can use in-office or supply you with for a mixture of in-office and at-home whitening treatments. You can of course buy refills from your dentist, but they might be a bit more expensive.
Fortunately, if you don’t want to pay dentist prices, quality at-home whitening kits and gels are available.
So, let’s jump in with our top picks for the best whitening gels in the UK. We have included whitening kits for those of you that don’t already have one at home!
One of our top recommended tooth whitening gel and whitening kits is Smile Avenue. Their whitening gel comes in the form of gel pens which you paint directly onto your teeth rather than applying to a mouthpiece or tray.
Smile Avenue whitening gel is a non-peroxide teeth whitening solution that uses the main ingredient PAP instead. PAP has been proven to have instant whitening effects and does not harm your enamel in the process. This whitening gel also has Hydroxyapatite as an ingredient, which helps to strengthen and remineralise enamel as you whiten your teeth.
The whitening gel refills are available to buy separately, and you can buy 3 whitening gel pens for just £39.99.
If you don’t already have a whitening kit, the Smile Avenue whitening kit comes with everything you need for a professional feel at home, including:
- 4 whitening gel pens
- A shade guide
- A mouth tray with built-in LEDs
- Adaptors to fit USB, USB-C and iPhone lightening sockets
This kit comes with 2 full courses worth of treatment, and when you run out, you can easily buy their refills if you wish to keep maintaining your whiter smile.
Hismile is another company that uses peroxide-free whitening gel for teeth. They are similar to Smile Avenue because the main ingredient in their whitening gel is PAP.
But, instead of just Hydroxyapatite to remineralise your teeth while you whiten, they utilise nano-Hydroxyapatite, a nano-synthetic version that replaces minerals in damaged parts of enamel.
Another main ingredient of this whitening gel is Potassium Citrate, which helps to soothe any pre-existing tooth sensitivity you may have. All of these ingredients are safe for teeth whitening and actually strengthen your enamel and improve the health of your smile while they whiten.
You can purchase a set of six whitening pods for just £39, or if you are interested you can explore their full range of PAP whitening products.
One downside to the Hismile pods is that they no longer sell the Hismile kit, so you would need to have alternative trays to use the gels or have bought the Hismile kit previously.
Philips offers two at-home whitening kits. The active whitening ingredient in both is hydrogen peroxide, however you can select the strength of this as they offer a full range of options. You can get your kit from the dentist and they will help you choose the best home option for you.
It is possible to buy Philips Zoom Teeth Whitening Gel online, but they do not come with the trays. It is also strongly recommended that you consult your dentist before whitening your teeth.
Philips offer both a day and night at home whitening gel.
Philips Zoom DayWhite is ideal for those who don't want to spend too much time whitening their teeth. You can get various strengths of whitening, and you wear your custom-made trays for 30 to 90 minutes per day. You should see results in as little as two weeks.
If you'd prefer to do your teeth whitening while you sleep, then the NiteWhite option might be for you. With NiteWhite, you whiten your teeth for two to four hours, or overnight. This option also offers various strengths, and you'll see your results in two weeks.
The active whitening ingredient in Snow’s whitening gel is hydrogen peroxide. Snow is an American company so the percentage of peroxide used in the gel is higher than you can usually buy in the UK.
The whitening gel comes in the form of wands which you use to paint the gel directly onto the teeth before using your LED mouthpiece. In each kit you get 3 whitening gel wands and 1 extra strength whitening wand.
When you run out you can order refills that come in standard and large sizes. The standard refill size gives you an average of 21 treatment sessions and the large, 42 treatment sessions.
If you want to buy Snow’s full whitening kit, here’s what you’ll get:
- 4 whitening gel syringes
- 1 mouthpiece with LED technology
- 3 whitening wands and 1 advanced whitening wand
- 1 tooth whitening progress tracker
- 5-year warranty
- 30-day money-back guarantee
Snow has 2 different kits, the original and the wireless kit, which you can read more about in our full review.
SmileTime's Teeth Whitening Refill Gels have been designed to deliver results in just 15 minutes, over a course of 6 days.
They are formulated with PAP, the active whitening ingredient also present in both Hismile and Smile Avenue that whitens and brightens your teeth without any pain or sensitivity.
Each set includes three 3ml gel syringes of the PAP formula, for six applications over a period of time.
If you want to buy SmileTime's Whitening Kit it comes with the following:
- 6 x Applications of teeth whitening gel
- 1 x LED Light
- 1 x mouth tray
- 1 x results chart
- 1 x instructions
You can read more about SmileTimes Teeth Whitening Kit in our full review, here.
Teeth whitening strips
Whitening strips come pre-gelled for your use, and there are a variety of brands that have them available, including Snow and Hismile.
Crest 3D White strips are the most searched for brand of teeth whitening strips in the UK, even though finding a place to buy them seems to be a hard task. But you're in luck, we have done the hunting for you.
You can also check out some other whitening strip brands by reading our article on the best whitening strips in the UK.
Why do you need whitening gel refills?
If you have had your teeth professionally whitened, or you have whitened your teeth with a kit successfully, then you are probably wondering why bother with refills?
Well, unfortunately, your beautifully white and stain-free teeth are not going to stay that way, especially if you like to drink coffee, red wine or other highly-pigmented food or drinks! But if you maintain your teeth after whitening, then they have a higher chance of staying white for longer.
If you already have a whitening kit at home, getting refills for it is simple. You can simply order some more of the kind you already used. Or you can potentially use another brand of refills with the teeth whitening gel for trays you already own from your kit.
If you had in-office whitening treatment with a dentist, you will likely be able to buy refills with your dentist if you still have your whitening trays. You may also be able to buy refills online to use with your whitening trays, but check with your dentist first.
What are the different types of whitening gels available?
When looking at whitening gel for teeth it is important that you know the different types. Some can cause sensitivity, and some can even damage your teeth enamel and gum tissue if you’re not careful. This can depend on the ingredients, and also the application method.
Whitening gel ingredients
Most people associate whitening gels with including hydrogen peroxide as the whitening agent. However, there are some available with peroxide-free ingredients that are safer for teeth. Some commonly used whitening gel ingredients include:
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Carbamide peroxide
- Phthalimidoperoxycaproic acid (PAP)
Hydrogen peroxide is a well-known and effective whitening agent, but if used incorrectly it can damage your enamel and surrounding gum tissue.
Teeth whitening gels used by dentists tend to have a much higher percentage of peroxide in them, but no more than 6% according to UK regulation. Over-the-counter whitening gels must also abide by UK regulations and can only have 0.1% or less hydrogen peroxide content.
Some whitening gels are peroxide-free: HiSmile and Smile Avenue both use Phthalimidoperoxycaproic acid (PAP) which is much safer for teeth. These products also utilise ingredients like Hydroxyapatite which can help to remineralise your teeth while you whiten them.
Types of teeth whitening gels
Whitening gels not only come with different ingredients, but they can also come in different containers and styles. Some examples include:
The different styles available can make a difference as some are messier than others, and some are safer for your teeth. If you already own a whitening kit you can use the refills with the mouthpiece, trays and LED lights that you already own.
Whitening gels that come in the pen style involve the least mess and are safe for gums as you paint directly onto your teeth. Pods and syringes are simple to use as you just fill up your whitening tray and put it in to use.
Strips aren’t used in conjunction with a whitening mouthpiece and LED light, but they do use a whitening gel that comes pre-applied.
How do you apply the whitening gel to teeth?
Different styles of whitening gel have different application methods; some are better for your teeth and gums, and some are easier to apply.
Pre-gelled strips: These are possibly the easiest to apply as you just dry your teeth and stick on the upper strip to your upper teeth and the lower one to your lower teeth. Then you remove them after the directed amount of time. This can be a messy process and leave gel everywhere.
It can also be difficult to keep the gel from getting on your gums which can cause damage to the tissue and irritation.
Fillable mouth trays: These are a little less simple as they require you to fill them with a pre-measured amount of whitening gel from a pod or syringe. When you put the mouthpiece in your mouth you should get enough gel on your teeth to whiten them. But you may also get some on your gums.
Gel pens: These require you to paint the gel onto your teeth, which is quite possibly the best method as you can make sure to get an even amount on your teeth and none on your gums.
Here's a video on how to fill your custom trays from your dentist with teeth whitening gel:
If you like your confident, pearly white smile after having whitening treatment then it's important to find a way to maintain it. Whitening gels can help you do this, and the good thing is you can buy refills for ongoing maintenance!
There are quite a few different whitening kits and whitening gel types and styles on the market. The gels include whitening pods, pens, syringes and strips with pre-applied gel. There is also a choice of ingredients, some with hydrogen peroxide and others without.
If you got your teeth whitened by a dentist, you can buy refills from them. However, our top pics for best peroxide free whitening gels in the UK are Smile Avenue, and Hismile. Their gels use PAP as the active whitening ingredient and other ingredients to strengthen your teeth as you whiten.
If you want guaranteed results and are happy to use a peroxide based gel then our top recommendation is Philips Zoom.
Snow is another good whitening kit that has gel pens that you use to paint the whitening gel directly on your teeth, or again you can just buy the refills. The whitening agent in this whitening gel contains hydrogen peroxide.
If you are interested in whitening kits then we recommend Smile White whitening kit – you can get 33% off your kit if you buy today. Or, if you are just looking for whitening gel, they all sell refills that you can use with trays or any whitening kit mouthpiece with LED lights.
Can you buy teeth whitening gels used by dentists in the UK?
You can buy teeth whitening gel from your dentist, but it may not be as strong as the one they can use in practice during in-office treatments due to UK regulations.
How do whitening gels work?
Teeth whitening gels contain active ingredients, such as carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, which penetrate the tooth enamel to break down stains and discoloration.
How long does it take to see results with teeth whitening gels?
Results with teeth whitening gels vary based on the product and where you got it from. Professional teeth whitening gels from dentists will have results much sooner than over-the-counter ones.
Can these gels cause tooth sensitivity?
Teeth sensitivity can be a common side effect of teeth whitening gels. However, you can find ones designed specifically to minimise sensitivity during and after whitening your teeth.
GDC. Tooth Whitening Position Statement. Consulted 27st May 2023.