There are plenty of tooth whitening options on the market, but very few compare to having custom trays created by your dentist. One of the newest options is the whitening pen. These look just like normal pens, but they apply a peroxide bleaching agent using a very small brush. They might be effective in very select situations, but custom dental trays are still a far superior option.
1. Pens Can Be Patchy
As you might guess, custom-fit whitening trays will have been moulded around your teeth. When you put them in, they should slip over like a glove. This means that any whitening gel you apply is going to be pressed against all the exposed teeth surface, creating a uniform appearance. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said when you use a whitening pen. For one thing, it can be very hard to reach all areas of the mouth; doing your front teeth might be fine, but getting to those further back can be a struggle. Additionally, it's possible to apply more to one tooth than another. In either case, you're going to end up with a slightly patchy final look.
2. Pens Aren't Very Strong
No matter what kind of bleaching product you use, peroxide is going to be the main active agent. However, the concentration of peroxide that can be used will vary according to where you picked up the product. The bleaching gel prescribed by your dentist for use with custom-fit trays will almost always boast a higher concentration than you could find in over-the-counter treatment option, including whitening pens. With a higher concentration of peroxide, a bleaching gel can do a much more effective job.
3. Pens Can Irritate the Gums
Whitening trays are made to ensure that as little as possible of the gel you apply gets onto the gums, which can be irritated by the bleaching agents. Any bleaching gel that does get onto your gums from under custom-fit trays will be quickly washed away by your saliva. Unfortunately, using a whitening pen can be more problematic. It can be easy to hit the gum line, but, more importantly, the gel used in whitening pens needs is designed to harden and create a film. This means that it can get stuck against the gums, increasing the likelihood of irritation.
4. Pens Don't Last
The main advantage of a whitening pen is that you can quickly apply the gel and have your teeth looking slightly whiter. However, that whiteness is mainly caused by the hardened film of whitening agent across the teeth; it won't usually stay there long enough to actually provide much bleaching. It washes away very quickly, and then your teeth will be practically back to normal. Custom-fit trays might take a little longer to whitening your teeth, but the effects will last for a lot longer once you're done.