9 Best Teeth-Whitening Products For Sensitive Teeth

Diamond-level brightness without irritation is right this way.

Tooth sensitivity isn't uncommon, but to a degree, it can limit whitening options — but that doesn't mean you can't easily find the best teeth-whitening products for sensitive teeth. "The sensitivity with whitening is mostly

correlated with the percentage of the whitening gel, not the product itself," says Marc Sclafani, DDS, a board-certified dentist and co-founder of One Manhattan Dental in New York City. "Factors that may influence the

development or extent of tooth sensitivity associated with bleaching include the concentration of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide and baking soda." The higher the level of these whitening agents in the formula, the more

likely teeth are to experience sensitivity.

Kevin Sands, DDS, a board-certified cosmetic dentist in Beverly Hills, further explains what causes pain after a whitening procedure. "The ingredients essentially clean out the enamel pores where stain can deposit," he says.

"In doing so, the pores can dry out for a few hours in which air or temperature fluctuations can flow easily through the pores to the nerves of the teeth," Dr. Sands explains. "This is pretty much inevitable in most effective

whitening procedures."

Dr. Sclafani says that these most commonly whiten teeth with ingredients that scrub away surface stains — they don't penetrate or bleach teeth. He says that this method isn't truly "whitening" your teeth, but it's a worthwhile

daily solution for diminishing discoloration over time. Keep in mind, however, that these surface-level cleaners aren't designed for prolonged use as they can exacerbate sensitivity. "The abrasiveness can irritate your gum

tissue and abrade the surface of your tooth," Dr. Sclafani points out. "This irritation can result in sensitivity on both the hard and soft tissues of your mouth." So prepare to cycle your whitening toothpaste out every few

weeks for a non-whitening formula.

Sensitive teeth sufferers may be thinking that neither bleaching nor brushing sounds like a worthwhile whitening risk. Luckily, there are alternatives that can get teeth looking brighter with little to no sensation. We asked a

few dentists to share their picks for the most effective at-home teeth whiteners and stain removers that should keep lingering pain to a minimum.

Best Overall: Crest 3D Whitestrips Sensitive White Kit

Most dentists, including the ones we asked here, agree that Crest Whitestrips are pretty much the gold standard for at-home stain fading. The regular version of the bleaching strips may be too intense for those with sensitive

teeth, but board-certified cosmetic dentist Gregg Lituchy, DDS, of Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor in New York City says that the 3D Whitestrips Sensitive White Kit, which uses a lower concentration of peroxide, work really well on

beneath-the-surface discoloration and won't cause sensitivity. Place the non-slip strips on teeth for 30 minutes each day for the full 14-day treatment that comes in the kit.

Best Teeth-Whitening Strips: Lumineux Whitening Strips The beauty of Lumineux's Whitening Strips is that each treatment only takes 30 minutes. Rather than utilizing sensitizing whitening ingredients like peroxides (which most whitening strips contain, according to the American Dental Association), Lumineux's strips give you a whiter, brighter smile and a fresher, cleaner feel through a combination of essential oils like antimicrobial lemon peel and coconut oils along with tooth-polishing sea salt. The results: whiter teeth by the time you empty this whitening treatment's 28-strip box. Best Teeth-Whitening Trays: Opalescence Go 15% Mint Teeth Whitening Tray As its name suggests, the Opalescence Go 15% Mint Teeth Whitening Tray does contain 15% hydrogen peroxide, but New York City-based board-certified dentist Michael J. Wei, DDS says it's a still suitable whitening solution for sensitive teeth. "This pre-filled whitening tray is perfect for those with sensitive teeth, providing superior whitening results with minimal sensitivity," he says. Each box comes with 10 pre-filled, single-use daily whitening trays that'll make your teeth noticeably sparklier within 10 days. Best LED Light Teeth Whitener: Colgate Optic White ComfortFit Teeth Whitening Kit We'll say it: The Colgate Optic White ComfortFit Teeth Whitening Kit is the one LED whitening kit to rule them all. This two-piece set comes with the brand's beloved Optic White overnight teeth whitening pen, which is formulated with a low dose of hydrogen peroxide, and a purple LED light mouthpiece to intensify the whitening process without causing an uncomfortable reaction in the process. To use this daily, over-the-counter teeth whitener, simply brush on the formula, pop the LED light piece into your mouth for 10 minutes, and you'll see noticeable results by day 10. Best Teeth-Whitening Duo: Supersmile Professional Teeth Whitening System Dr. Wei says Supersmile's Professional Teeth Whitening System is one of the best duos on the market for its mild yet impressive formulation. "This system uses a gentle whitening accelerator to provide fast, safe, and effective whitening results without any sensitivity," he says. The whitening agent that Dr. Wei is referring to is the brand's proprietary Calprox, which is a silica-free derivative of calcium peroxide. Best Teeth-Whitening Gel: Go Smile Professional White Teeth Whitening Gel Mix a dab of Go Smile's Professional White Teeth Whitening Gel with your sensitive toothpaste and the peroxide-based formula will help fade stains over time. The combination of the two products simultaneously bleaches and scrubs teeth while preventing sensitivity. It's also worth noting that this gel is sulfate-free. This may sound like an odd call out for a teeth whitening product, but Dr. Sclafani explains that sulfates are actually a common ingredient in both shampoo and toothpaste. "It is essentially the soap-like agent in many toothpastes," he says. “For many people, this is not an issue but for some, it can provoke an auto-immune response and cause irritation." He adds that sulfates can also strip oral tissues of their natural oils and hydration, resulting in localized irritation and inflammation. So check ingredient labels before you buy. Pro-Level Teeth-Whitening Set: Smile Brilliant Professional Teeth Whitening Kit The Smile Brilliant Professional Teeth Whitening Kit will get you the closest to professional-level brightening without having to leave your home. Start by choosing either the sensitive or regular formula. From there, decide which of the three kit options you need based on your preferred level of stain-lifting: heavy, which comes with 27 applications, average (18), or light (9). Once your kit arrives, use the impression trays and paste that's included to create a mold of your teeth — the same way you would in the dentist's office. Ship the impressions back (postage is covered) and your custom whitening trays will be created. Once your trays arrive, fill each with the whitening and desensitizing gel, and place them on the teeth for around 30 minutes. Dr. Sclafani says that this type of customized tray is the best option for at-home whitening. "These custom trays properly fit the teeth and allow for better contact of the bleaching material with the tooth." As for the gel itself, Dr. Sclafani also notes that it's the level of peroxide that determines how potent the treatment will be and its potential to irritate teeth. "The highest, typically [have] 40 to 50% peroxide and requires to be worn 30 to 45 minutes per day." He notes. The lowest are typically 8 to 15% and require six to eight hours of use per day, or overnight. Dr. Sclafani says that as long as you wear the trays for the suggested time, both concentration options are equally as effective. Best Teeth-Whitening Powder: Moon Dust Teeth Whitening Paste Booster Similar to Go Smile, the Moon Dust Teeth Whitening Paste Booster can be added to your regular brushing routine to scrub away stains. Dr. Sclafani recommends it, but with caution. He says to use this type of product sparingly since the kaolin and bentonite clays in the powder may be too abrasive if used too often. The brand suggests using the treatment one to two times per week, however, if you have sensitive teeth, consider use every few weeks or when you have deep, set-in stains. To use, add your toothpaste to your brush and then dip the brush head into the powder to coat. Not into the grittiness of a powder? Don't sweat it, because Moon also has a new gentle serum you're bound to love. The Luminous Shine Teeth Serum is a favorite amongst Allure editors (just ask our Shopping Market Editor Angela Trakoshis) for its brightness-boosting blend of urea peroxide and hydrogen peroxide and tooth-soothing ingredients like hydrating hyaluronic acid and anti-inflammatory aloe vera extract. Best Whitening Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth: Native Sensitive Soothing Mint Toothpaste Pair your pre-treatment fluoride rinse with a toothpaste that can help alleviate sensitivity to other products. Those who prefer more natural ingredients from their oral care will appreciate the gentle but effective ingredients in Native's Sensitive Soothing Mint Toothpaste. "It has a great balance of ingredients that will help to support oral health like xylitol, fluoride, and potassium nitrate," says Dr. Sclafani. The formula also uses hydrated silica to gently whiten and potassium nitrate to prevent sensitivity.

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