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 gel is. 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.
Well, there are plenty of whitening kits available, as well as whitening gel refill pods and syringes. 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 US?
- 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 summarizes all of the products that we will discuss in this article:
Where to buy
Snow Extra Strength Whitening Serum
Price per session: $1.4
Price per session: $8.3
Smile Brilliant whitening gel
Price per session: $2.5
Smile Avenue whitening gel
Price per session:
Sporting Smiles whitening gel
Price per session: $4.75
Table of contents
What is teeth whitening gel?
Teeth whitening gel is a solution that contains a bleaching ingredient — typically carbamide or hydrogen peroxide, but in some cases hydroxyapatite or alternative ingredients. This gel is then either brushed onto your teeth, or inserted into trays and used to whiten your teeth.
Does tooth whitening gel work?
Teeth whitening gels can be quite effective, as long as they contain an active ingredient that whitens teeth, such as carbamide or hydrogen peroxide, as mentioned above.
You can get tooth whitening gel from the dentist, or you can get it for use at home, but the concentrations are likely to be different.
- If you get a gel from the dentist, the percentage could be anywhere between 25 to 40% peroxide. This is a very strong solution that requires a short treatment time to see drastic results.
- If you decide to purchase a gel over the counter, then it will contain between 5 and 10% hydrogen peroxide (carbamide peroxide is typically used in professional whitening) and will typically need to be used as part of a multi-day course of treatment.
Why do you need whitening gel refills?
If you have had your teeth professionally whitened, 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 with at-home whitening treatments after professional 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 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.
And if you had in-office whitening treatment with a dentist, you will likely be able to buy refills from them if you still have your whitening trays. Or you may be able to buy refills online to use with your whitening trays, but check with your dentist first.
Can you whiten your teeth with Invisalign using whitening gel? Many dentists say it's OK but check with your Invisalign dentist before you try it.
What are the different types of white teeth 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 tooth 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 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, anywhere from 20 to 40%. Over-the-counter whitening gels have less peroxide in them, starting around 3.5%, but they can contain as much as 22%.
Some whitening gels are peroxide-free. For example, Hismile uses phthalimidoperoxycaproic acid (PAP), which is much safer for teeth. These products also utilize ingredients like hydroxyapatite, which can help to remineralize 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, 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, including painting gel on teeth or applying it to trays. 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, which 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.
Check out the video below where a dentist shows how to properly fill whitening trays with gel:
What is the best whitening gel in the US?
The best teeth whitening gel in the US in terms of safety and effectiveness is probably one provided by your dentist for 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, then at-home whitening kits and gels can provide a safe and effective solution as well.
So let’s jump in with our top picks for the best whitening gels in the US.
We have also included whitening kits for those of you that don’t already have one at home.
Snow Extra Strength Whitening Serum
Snow's Extra Strength Whitening Serum is a whitening gel that you can purchase separately from the whitening kit, and it's twice as big and twice as potent as the regular gel.
It's still designed for sensitive teeth, but it removes deep stains in just minutes. The active ingredients are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, and each unit comes with .14 oz of gel.
You use this gel by brushing it directly on your top and bottom teeth, leaving it on for 30 minutes.
Hismile is another company that uses peroxide-free whitening gel for teeth. The main ingredient in their whitening gel is PAP.
But, instead of just hydroxyapatite to remineralize your teeth while you whiten, they utilize 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.
Hismile’s whitening kit comes in the form of pods, which you put into the LED mouthpiece to use. You can purchase a set of six refill whitening pods for just $59, or if you are interested in their whitening kit it costs $129 in the US.
You can read more about Hismile's complete whitening kit in our full review here.
One of our top recommended tooth whitening gels is Smile Brilliant. With Smile Brilliant, you get the same professional results that you get from a dentist. How? Because this gel is professional strength, and made with 22% carbamide peroxide.
It comes in syringes and is meant to be used with custom whitening trays, which you can get from Smile Brilliant or elsewhere.
Another thing that sets Smile Brilliant apart is that they seal their whitening gel in special foil bags that prevent light from breaking down the peroxide into water — meaning a longer shelf life and greater potency.
Your options for buying these gels are:
- 9 syringes: 3ml each; 27 whitening sessions (top & bottom); $69
- 6 syringes: 3ml each; 18 whitening sessions (top & bottom); $55
- 3 syringes: 3ml each; 9 whitening sessions (top & bottom); $35
Find out more about Smile Brilliant in our review.
Smile Avenue offers whitening gel refill packs that come with three whitening pens. The pens are used to brush the gel directly onto your teeth, and are meant to be used with an LED whitening mouthpiece, ideally, in this case, the Smille Avenue Whitening Kit.
The gel contains 34% carbamide peroxide to whiten teeth, and the full list of ingredients are:
Carbamide peroxide (34%), Glycerol, Propylene Glycol, Deionized Water, Carbomer, Carboxymethyl, Triethanolamine, Poly Vinylpyrrolidone, and Menthol.
You can order gel refills for Smile Avenue and get 15% off your order when you use code DENTALY15.
Find out more about Smile Avenue in our Smile Avenue review.
Sporting Smiles teeth whitening gel has a concentration of 35% carbamide peroxide.
You can purchase the gel in large syringes containing 10 ml of their whitening gel. They come in packs of 4, and have a shelf life of 2 years.
This gel is made to be used with whitening trays, which you can purchase as part of a kit from Sporting Smiles if you want.
Opalescence tooth whitening gel
Opalescence is another popular teeth whitening gel that you can purchase on Amazon. It whitens with 35% carbamide peroxide whitening gel that comes in syringes.
You can choose from three flavors — mint, melon and regular — and you can also choose between different concentrations of peroxide if 35% is too much for you. The other options are 10%, 15% and 20%.
This gel doesn't come with whitening trays — these you will need to order custom-made from your dentist.
Here's what one customer had to say:
“I've used this a few times over the past couple years and haven't had problems. I also don't liberally use it each time. I follow directions and just put a drop of it at the base of each tooth's tray molding, and sometimes a bigger drop for my front teeth, cuz they're huge. Then you put the tray on, tap it a bit on each tooth so it spreads, and you're done for now. When you use an excess amount, the gel reaches the gums and burns them. I personally wipe away any excess that pops out of the tray and onto my gums with a finger or cotton swab. I've had good results with these!”
Teeth whitening strips
Whitening strips come pre-gelled for your use, and both Snow and Hismile have them available. Or, if you want to check out some other whitening strip brands, you can check out our article on the best whitening strips in the US.
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 the 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 with a dentist, you can buy refills from them. However, our top pics for best whitening gels in the US are Smile Brilliant, Snow, Hismile, and Sporting Smiles.
If you are interested in whitening kits then any of these three would be a good place to start. Or, if you are just looking for whitening gel then 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 US?
You can buy teeth whitening gel from your dentist so you can whiten your teeth at home and still get professional results. This gel is stronger than the type you can buy over the counter.
Raconteur.net: Lure of the all American super white smile. Consulted 7th January 2022.