At-home teeth whitening has helped millions of people reclaim their smiles and their confidence. The problem is that millions more have stains too deep for at-home kits to handle. Even most professional systems can’t touch deep, dark stains like those caused by tetracycline.
But KöR can. Using a unique refrigerated and tri-barrel storage system, a proprietary hydremide® peroxide, and a hybrid treatment approach, this system reduces or eliminates even the toughest set-in stains from your teeth. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the perfect option for you. Let’s dive into everything you need to know about KöR whitening.
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KöR at a Glance
KöR launched in 2007, the realization of Dr. Rod Kurthy’s long-term dream. He first started his teeth whitening research in 1977, and after decades of struggling to deliver effective whitening to all of his patients, he was determined to help each one smile with confidence. The result: KöR Professional Whitening.
Over the years, KöR became one of the most widely used professional whitening systems. At the moment, KöR has four distinct offerings:
- KöR HOME: This is the fully at-home system you can get from your dentist. There are two KöR Home options: Day and Night. Both require one treatment per day for two weeks.
- KöR MAX: This system is designed for stains that are slightly deeper than what purely at-home treatment can address. It uses an in-office treatment to kick things off, then the patient switches to two weeks of at-home whitening.
- KöR ULTRA: When treating deeper stains, most doctors will go for KöR ULTRA. It starts with an in-office treatment, segues into 3–4 weeks of at-home whitening, then finishes with a final in-office treatment.
- KöR ULTRA-T: For tetracycline stains, KöR ULTRA-T is the best system. It bumps up the at-home whitening to 6–8 weeks of overnight sessions and also includes the start-up and wrap-up in-office session.
Pros and Cons of KöR
KöR is one of the best whitening systems available today. It’s incredibly effective, even in cases previously thought untreatable. But it isn’t perfect. Here are the biggest advantages and disadvantages of KöR Professional Whitening.
Pros of KöR
- Whitens Even Deep Stains: All professional treatments are powerful, but most cannot touch deep, dark stains. KöR even improves or eliminates tetracycline stains that were previously thought untreatable.
- Treatments Tailored to You: Because KöR has multiple treatments, your dentist can select the option that best suits your case. They also have some flexibility in setting how many weeks you whiten and if you use the day or night at-home systems.
- Easy to Find: KöR is one of the most widely available in-office systems.
- Comfortable at-Home Whitening: KöR at-home treatments use custom-made mouth trays that fully seal around the teeth. They’re smooth, fairly thin, and prevent the gel from touching the gums or tongue.
Cons of KöR
- Wide Price Range: Doctors charge anywhere from $800 to $3,500 for KöR, with most patients paying around $1,250. This makes it one of, if not the most, expensive whitening treatments.
- Whitening at Home: For many people, the appeal of in-office whitening is getting significant results in a single visit. KöR doesn’t work this way, requiring multiple weeks of at-home treatment (and usually an extra in-office session).
- Session and Treatment Length: In-office sessions take a minimum of one hour, but can last up to two hours. And from start to finish, it can take almost two months to finish treatment.
Is KöR Whitening a Good Choice?
If you’ve got dark stains that other whitening products can’t treat, or you want multiple options for your treatment strength — and don’t mind a slightly longer time commitment and higher price tag— KöR is a great choice.
The one feature everyone wants in a whitening system? Effectiveness. And here, KöR really delivers. Its scope of treatment exceeds industry standards, addressing stains previously thought untouchable.
KöR works by not just removing stains, but restoring the enamel’s ability to absorb oxygen.
This lets their formula penetrate deeper, breaking up stains that other formulas cannot reach. The results are dramatic —KöR claims their treatment can lighten teeth up to 16 shades or more.
That’s a bold claim, but KöR has the evidence to back it up. They feature over 400 before and after photos of actual patients, showing the incredible difference real people have seen after their whitening treatments. You should check it out for yourself; it’s genuinely impressive.
To measure the treatment’s effect, your dentist first needs to define your tooth’s starting shade. They’ll use a shade guide to find the option that most accurately represents your smile, then use the same guide after treatment to determine your new shade. Not all dentists use the same reference for tooth shade, but many use the VITA shade guide — which features 26 or 29 different shades.
Much of KöR’s power stems from two features of its in-office treatments: continuous refrigeration and a tri-barrel syringe.
Other systems do not continuously refrigerate their gel. Even though many suggest dentists refrigerate gel syringes after delivery, they use a standard truck for shipping. KöR refrigerates their gels constantly — at the factory, in the delivery trucks, and at the dentist’s office — ensuring they don’t degrade from heat exposure.
But what about that tri-barrel syringe? Basically, it’s about preventing chemical reactions until the ideal moment — as the gel hits the teeth. The syringe has three isolated chambers, keeping the various ingredients separate until application, at which point your dentist or dental technician mixes them inside the syringe. This lets the formula produce more free radicals, helping the chemicals diffuse into the microstructure of the teeth.
Online reviews for the KöR system are overwhelmingly positive, from patients and dentists alike.
Reviews consistently note that this system is more effective than others on difficult stains. Many patients talk about how no other treatment worked for them in the past, and dentists say this is their go-to whitening for tetracycline and other difficult stains. In fact, we didn’t come across any negative reviews in our research.
The active ingredient in their in-office treatment is hydremide® peroxide — an ingredient KöR created.
The percentage, however, varies based on the specific system and whether it’s the initial or wrap-up session. The treatments’ at-home portion uses either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, once again with varying strengths. Each treatment also varies in how long it takes to achieve maximum results. To make it easy to understand, here’s a chart:
|KöR HOME Day||X||9% hydrogen peroxide||2-3 weeks|
|KöR HOME Night||X||16% carbamide peroxide||2 weeks|
|KöR MAX||34% hydremide peroxide||16% carbamide peroxide||2 weeks|
|KöR ULTRA||13% hydremide peroxide for conditioning visit; 34% hydremide peroxide for the wrap-up visit||16% carbamide peroxide||3-4 weeks|
|KöR ULTRA-T||34% hydremide peroxide||16% carbamide peroxide||6-8 weeks|
KöR says their results are for life, but you need to do maintenance treatments at home. Keep this in mind before you dive in.
KöR whitening might be highly effective, but it’s also pretty expensive. To get its incredible results, you’ll need to contend with one of the highest prices for any whitening treatment.
The price range for KöR, according to founder Dr. Rod Kurthy, is $800–$3,500, with most people paying about $1,250.
These are steep prices. However, you get a lot for the price: 1–2 in-office treatments for most of their systems plus the at-home component. Remember that you’re ultimately paying for the results, and KöR gives you some of the best in the industry.
Your dentist might offer financing plans to make the price more manageable.
If you aren’t ready to drop $1,000+ all in one go, ask your dentist about financing. Many dental offices have payment plans for expensive treatments, which break the price down into bite-sized chunks. Just know that these plans may require a credit check to qualify and often include interest, so you could end up paying more in the long run.
While it might offer an excellent value for you, KöR is among the most expensive whitening systems available.
In some cases, for just one treatment with KöR, you could purchase two with its competitors. However, other systems can’t match KöR’s power.
Quality of Ingredients
A whitening system is only as good as the ingredients that power it. Like most professional systems, KöR doesn’t disclose all of its ingredients, but it’s at least transparent about its active whitening agents.
KöR uses three different active whitening agents, depending on the product — hydrogen peroxide, carbamide peroxide, and hydremide peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide is the most common whitening agent you’ll find in teeth bleaching products. It both oxidizes stains, breaking up the molecules so they can be lifted out, and alters their color. The result is highly effective teeth whitening in most cases.
Carbamide peroxide is the second most common teeth whitening agent. Also called urea-hydrogen peroxide, it is about one-third the strength of hydrogen peroxide. Once applied to the teeth, it interacts with the saliva to create free hydrogen peroxide that is gentler than the chemical on its own.
Hydremide peroxide is more of a mystery. As a proprietary ingredient created by Evolve, KöR’s parent company, the only information on it comes from the company itself. We know it uses hydrogen peroxide as its base and that it breaks down into water, oxygen, and free radicals. And according to KöR, it deeply and rapidly cleanses the internal microstructures of the teeth.
Here’s how the peroxide concentration of KöR compares to other professional whitening formulas:
|KӧR||34% hydremide peroxide, 16% carbamide peroxide|
|Opalescence Boost||40% hydrogen peroxide|
|Philips Zoom||25% hydrogen peroxide|
|Invisalign||45% carbamide peroxide (the equivalent of 15% hydrogen peroxide)|
You would expect KöR’s whitening agent concentrations to be higher than at-home treatments, but that isn’t always the case.
A carbamide peroxide concentration of 16% is roughly half of what you’ll commonly find in at-home whitening kits. However, you wear KöR’s at-home products overnight, allowing them to achieve better results.
Professional whitening isn’t exactly easy on your schedule. At the very least, you’ll have one office appointment, but KöR places even more demands on your time than some of their competitors.
Aside from HOME, all KöR products require at least one in-office session, plus multiple weeks of at-home whitening.
KöR MAX has the lowest time commitment. It requires just one office visit paired with two weeks of at-home treatment, all of which is overnight. KöR ULTRA requires two office visits paired with 3–4 weeks of at-home overnight treatment. KöR ULTRA-T is the most demanding, with two in-office treatments and 6–8 weeks of overnight whitening at home.
KöR is far from the only company that uses the hybrid treatment approach, and in truth, most whitening systems require multiple treatments to achieve maximum results. So this alone doesn’t make it less convenient than the competition.
KöR’s in-office sessions, however, are longer than other whitening treatments.
First, there is the prep. The dentist places a desensitizer on your teeth and applies a gum barrier to prevent the gel from burning your gums. Not all systems require this, but most do. However, sessions last between one and two hours, and the dentist will reapply the gel every 20 minutes. An hour-long session for deep whitening isn’t shocking, but two hours exceeds the industry standard.
The good news is that KöR’s results last a long time. In fact, the company says their whitening will last for life as long as you occasionally use their at-home system to maintain it. It might be a time investment, but it pays off in the end.
We’ll be honest: in-office whitening can get a little awkward. The gel can be goopy, you might drool a little, and your dentist and their technicians will be watching the whole time. That said, KöR treatments are as comfortable as any other in-office treatment, and sometimes even more so.
Dr. Kurthy formulated KöR to reduce the amount of sensitivity people experience after treatment.
Essentially, KöR’s whitening gel has desensitizing agents built in that cover the dentin tubules in your teeth. Most sensitivity from whitening occurs because the bleaching agent enters the tubules, so this can help stop zingers and aching teeth.
However, it doesn’t eliminate sensitivity completely. Most dentists who use KöR say their patients have significantly less sensitivity, but it can still occur. Your dentist should apply a desensitizing gel first, which will cut down on any discomfort you experience.
In-office treatments can be more awkward than at-home ones, but this isn’t unique to KöR.
Your dentist will use a bite opener combined with a cheek retractor for the entire treatment to keep your lips and cheeks off away from your teeth. It feels — and looks — a little weird, but it’s essential to getting excellent results.
Wearing those appliances for two hours can get uncomfortable. After whitening, you might find that your face is slightly sore, your jaw feels strained, and your lips are chapped. The good news is that KöR doesn’t require LEDs, so you don’t need to wear special glasses or deal with a bright light in your face.
KöR HOME is more comfortable than most at-home kits thanks to its mouthpiece design.
The trays are custom made for each patient and form a seal against the teeth. This keeps the gel in and the saliva out, so the gel can’t get on your gums and your saliva can’t dilute the formula. All their hybrid systems require overnight wear, so you can just start treatment and then go to bed.
Is KöR Whitening Right for You?
It’s one of the most powerful whitening treatments available, and they have four different treatments of varying strengths — so if you have stains other treatments failed to whiten, or you want to tailor your experience to your needs, try KöR.
But it isn’t your only option. You can find some of our top recommendations below and explore at-home alternatives in our guide to the best at-home whitening options.
What Are the Best Alternatives to KöR?
Not sold on KöR just yet? Don’t worry! There are many alternatives to consider — both professional treatments and kits you can use at home. Here are a few of our top picks.
Opalescence is the biggest name in teeth whitening, and for good reason: their products are versatile, effective, and affordable. Boost is their most popular in-office product, delivering bright white smiles thanks to 40% hydrogen peroxide concentration and a dual-barrel syringe that stops the chemical reaction from occurring until the dentist has placed the gel on your teeth.
Zoom is the most frequently patient-requested professional whitening treatment. It’s widely available, effective, and affordable. Philips claims their treatment can deliver an 8 shade difference in a single 45-minute session. This difference isn’t as significant as KöR, but Zoom boasts a much lower price point — just $300–$700 on average.
GLO originated as an in-office system — but we recommend their at-home version. In addition to their effective whitening gel, GLO includes a special light that combines blue waves and heat to speed up and enhance results. It’s more affordable than in-office whitening and the light is reusable, so you can keep your smile bright for years to come.
If you have deep teeth stains that other systems cannot treat, KöR can brighten your smile and boost your confidence. It’s highly effective and quite comfortable for an in-office treatment. Just be prepared to pay a premium for its incredible results and deal with a little inconvenience.
Not sold on KöR? Not to worry; there are plenty of other professional and at-home whitening systems to consider. No matter which way you go, you’ll be loving your smile in no time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are my teeth stained?
There could be a few different reasons. Some of us naturally have darker teeth than others. Others lose enamel, letting the yellow of the dentin show through. For most people, teeth staining comes from things like drinking coffee, smoking, and taking certain medications.
What makes tetracycline staining so difficult to treat?
The stains caused by tetracycline strongly bind to hydroxyapatite, a naturally occurring element in your teeth that gives them their strength. These stains penetrate deep and turn darker than most, making them harder to treat.
How does professional whitening compare to at-home options?
Strictly in-office treatments deliver more significant results and take less time. Hybrid systems like KöR aren’t any faster, but they can be more effective. The trade-off is that in-office treatments cost significantly more and require trips to your dentist.
What are the benefits of getting my teeth whitened in-office?
There are a few primary benefits to in-office whitening. First, they’re more powerful, since in-office whitening options can use formulas with higher peroxide concentrations. Second, trained professionals supervise everything; at-home kits are safe to use, but professional oversight offers extra peace of mind. Finally, most require just one visit to get results, though full results can take more.
What’s the difference between bleaching, stain-lifting, and whitening?
Most people use these terms interchangeably, but technically, there are notable differences. Stain lifting can refer to removing surface stains and those set into the teeth. Whitening is about changing the color of the teeth themselves — even without staining — and works to restore them to a natural white. Bleaching is more about stain removal but can also whiten and often achieves results beyond a natural white.
Will my teeth go too white with professional teeth whitening?
When people think of unnaturally white teeth, they are usually picturing false teeth, like dentures. These are typically opaque, while the enamel is somewhat translucent. So even when they’re very white, the natural teeth still look, well, natural! But with in-office treatments, you can communicate your goals to your dentist and they will check your tooth color every 20 minutes and stop treatment when you have the color you want.
How will the dentist protect my gums during treatment?
The dentist will cover your gums with a protective gel barrier that hardens over them. This prevents the whitening gel from touching the gums, which would create chemical burns. However, not all whitening systems incorporate gum protection. Be sure to ask your dentist before signing on for treatment.
Should I get a dental cleaning before or after teeth whitening?
Before! In fact, many people schedule their professional whitening to coincide with their twice-yearly cleanings, going straight from the exam and deep clean into the whitening.
Are there things I can do to make my smile stay whiter for longer?
Yes. You can use whitening toothpastes, brush your teeth multiple times a day, avoid staining foods and drinks as much as possible, and if you smoke, kick the habit.
How long do professional teeth whitening treatments take?
It all depends on the system. Some require just 30 minutes per session, while others take two hours. Plus, hybrid treatments like KöR have an at-home component, which extends the timeline.