Why is it the best things in life stain your teeth? Coffee, red wine, fresh summer berries — they all leave their mark. The good news is that you can fight back, and you don’t even need to visit a dentist to do it. At-home whitening kits like Opalescence Go lift out those set-in stains, letting you smile bright while still indulging in all your favorite treats.
But choosing a whitening treatment is an important decision, and there are a ton of options out there. That’s why we’ve done the research on Opalescence Go, compiling all the essential info here so you can decide if it’s the right option for you.
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Opalescence Go at a Glance
Opalescence is one of the biggest names in professional teeth whitening. Dental practices across the country have used and sold their award-winning products. They’re particularly known for their proprietary gel, which is formulated to stick to the teeth and oxidize stains while avoiding soft tissues.
Opalescence Go was originally designed as an at-home treatment accessible through dental offices. Now, it’s a direct-to-consumer product. It takes the professional formula you’d get from a professional treatment but makes it safe and easy for at-home use. Rather than measuring out the gel, you get pre-filled trays that contain the exact amount of whitening solution you need. You just open the package, place the top tray on your teeth, suck it into place, remove the outer green tray, then repeat with the bottom tray.
Opalescence is a subsidiary of Ultradent, a dental manufacturing company that makes everything from dental bonding materials to bone crafting plugs for jawbone surgery. They’ve been in business since the 1970s, so they have a lot of experience and research behind them. That’s why you can trust their Opalescence Go trays to meet or exceed industry standards.
Pros & Cons of Opalescence Go
Opalescence Go stands out from most of the competition in plenty of ways. However, they’re not perfect. Here are the biggest benefits and drawbacks to keep in mind as you evaluate the system.
Pros of Opalescence Go
- You don’t need to measure gel or clean the trays, making this one of the easiest tray-based kits to use. All you need to do is open the package, insert the trays, form them to the teeth, and remove the outer shell. Then toss them when you are done.
- The hydrogen peroxide concentration is high, so it is a powerful treatment, delivering results for a vast majority of users.
- The formula was created as an in-office treatment, so dental professionals trust it. You can truly feel safe when using this product.
- You get to choose from two flavors, mint and melon, making the experience more pleasant.
Cons of Opalescence Go
- The price tag is a bit high — around $60-75 per ten-pack — and the trays are not reusable, so the cost adds up over time.
- You cannot buy the tray sets individually, so doing touch-ups means buying another whole kit.
When you think about over-the-counter teeth whitening, you probably picture pens and strips. However, professional at-home kits almost always use trays because they are incredibly effective at keeping the gel in place. And Opalescence Go is one of the most effective, powerful whitening trays available.
Opalescence Go pre-filled trays contain either 10% or 15% hydrogen peroxide, depending on the kit you choose.
Hydrogen peroxide is the top active whitening agent in teeth whitening products, and for good reason — it works! The higher the percentage, the more powerful its effects will be. Most at-home products have a concentration of 6.5% or less, so Opalescence Go’s strength surpasses the industry standard.
Opalescence Go doesn’t make claims about how white your teeth will get, but dentists who sell it say it can brighten smiles by an average of eight shades.
That’s a big difference, especially considering you only use Opalescence Go for ten days; most kits require 14 days of use. However, it isn’t exceptional; most at-home teeth whitening trays achieve an average difference of around seven shades.
Like all whitening products, it works better on certain types of stains than others. It’s best on yellow stains, so-so on brown stains, and not all that effective on others.
As a professional formula, Opalescence Go has proven effective in clinical settings.
Not only does it get results, but they often last longer than with other formulas — one year or more, compared to the usual six months. However, it is a good idea to complete maintenance treatments once a year, doing half a standard course of treatment or less.
The primary reason to go for an at-home kit over in-office whitening is the price. Even the most expensive at-home kits are hundreds, even thousands less than in-office whitening. Compared to professional treatments, Opalescence Go is a highly affordable alternative, but compared to other at-home options, it’s around average.
Opalescence Go costs $60-75 per package, which is a little steep for a single-use product.
However, it offers a lot of value for that price. Sure, many of their competitors are cheaper, but they aren’t offering professional-level whitening gel, and their products aren’t backed by the expertise of Ultradent.
You shouldn’t just be comparing its price to other home treatments either — you also need to look at Opalescence’s in-office options. Their two-hour in-office whitening procedure can achieve a slightly brighter smile than Opalescence Go — and in a lot less time — but it costs an average of $500 per treatment.
Each Opalescence Go whitening session costs $6-7.50.
When you break down the cost in this manner, Opalescence Go represents an even better value. Its most similar at-home competitor, Auraglow, has a price tag of $45, but costs $6.43 per session, which is pretty similar.
Because each tray comes pre-filled, your kit is simple — just the trays and nothing else. And since you only use them once, you don’t need any cleaning solutions or refills. Opalescence backs their at-home products with a 60-day satisfaction guarantee, and if you purchase them from a dentist, they might come with additional warranties.
Quality of Ingredients
A whitening product is only as good as its ingredients. All reputable kits will have an active whitening agent and inactive ingredients that help ensure it works. Opalescence Go combines a powerful whitening agent with a variety of other safe, dental-grade ingredients to deliver an effective and comfortable experience.
Opalescence Go uses hydrogen peroxide — the most common active ingredient in teeth whitening kits.
It’s highly effective, so you can feel pretty confident that it’ll eliminate most types of tooth stains. And since you can choose your strength — 10% or 15% — you can even tailor the results it delivers.
All the ingredients in Opalescence Go are vegan, gluten-free, and kosher.
They are all standard, dental-grade ingredients, including:
- Glycerin: Dehydrates the enamel, making it easier for the peroxide to penetrate the pores of the teeth and break up stains.
- Water: Keeps the gel hydrated so it can coat the teeth.
- PVP: Helps dislodge surface stains on the teeth.
- Carbomer: An adhesive agent that keeps the gel on the teeth so it does not cause chemical burns on the gums.
- Potassium Hydroxide: A pH conditioner, it helps boost the peroxide’s whitening effects.
- Silica: Remove surface stains with its slight abrasiveness.
- Dipotassium Phosphate: A buffering agent, it helps maintain the gel’s pH.
- Xylitol: Fights plaque to prevent stain build-up.
- Citric Acid: An accelerator that helps to open the enamel’s pores.
- EDTA: Helps enhance absorption, getting the gel into the enamel’s pores faster.
- Flavor and Fragrance: Helps to mask the flavor of peroxide with either mint or melon flavors and fragrances.
- Potassium Nitrate: Reduces tooth sensitivity.
- Sodium Fluoride: Reduces tooth sensitivity.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: A foaming agent that helps the gel get into the crevices between your teeth.
- Sucralose: An artificial sweetener that helps mask the taste of peroxide.
That’s a pretty lengthy list of ingredients. However, this is a formula backed by lots of research and use in professional environments.
In terms of convenience, it’s really hard to compete with pre-filled trays. You don’t have to measure gel or boil and bite the tray for a custom fit, and you don’t need to hold an awkward smile while painting gel on with a pen. But even among other pre-filled whitening trays, Opalescence Go is a fairly convenient option.
Opalescence Go’s prep time is 30 seconds or less.
The first step is to open the package and identify the upper and lower trays. The upper tray is marked with a “U” and the lower one has an “L.” Place one on your teeth (it doesn’t matter which). Bite firmly and suck the tray against the teeth for two seconds, then remove the colored outer tray. After you’re finished, repeat this process with the other arch.
Each whitening session with Opalescence Go is under one hour — and in some cases, as little as 15 minutes.
Your weartime depends on your smile goals, which peroxide concentration you choose, and how sensitive your teeth are. For the 10% solution, each season is 30-60 minutes, and for the 15% solution, each session is 15-20 minutes. Either way, you should only use it once per day and your treatment is typically 5-10 days long.
You can use Opalescence Go while going about your daily routine at home or while traveling.
These trays are individually packaged, so they are easy to take with you on the go. Your whitening treatment won’t interfere in your typical routines at home or at your hotel. The only thing they might affect is your speech. However, if you don’t mind having a bit of a lisp, you can still carry on conversations.
When you’re done whitening, just remove your trays, throw them in the trash, and rinse out your mouth. Don’t eat or drink anything for at least 30 minutes.
All whitening trays can feel slightly awkward. Lisping and extra saliva production are pretty much par for the course. But some kits offer greater comfort than others, and Opalescence takes measures to make the process as comfortable as possible.
Opalescence Go can cause sensitivity, but the company takes steps to prevent this.
As a general rule, the higher the peroxide concentration in a whitening treatment, the greater the risk of tooth sensitivity. And Opalescence Go has one of the highest concentrations of hydrogen peroxide you can get without a prescription. However, they also have ingredients in their formula that help prevent sensitivity: potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride.
Plus, their wear schedules are flexible. You can shorten your whitening sessions, shorten your treatment length, and even take days off between sessions. Some professional guides from dentists even suggest those with pre-existing sensitivity should whiten just once per week, so there’s some wiggle room to figure out exactly what works for you.
You can choose from two flavors: mint and melon.
Most whitening tray kits don’t give you an option, so this is pretty great, and the melon is pretty unique. The gel itself is slightly gooey, but you don’t really notice it thanks to the trays.
The trays are thicker than custom ones, so you will notice them. However, they aren’t as bulky as the ones in kits with LED lights. Once you get used to sucking the trays into place, the entire process is fairly comfortable.
What Are Customers Saying?
Overall, customers love Opalescence products and Opalescence Go in particular. The fact that it’s a professional formula inspires confidence, and many of the reviewers were dentists and dental hygienists.
We found that customers most often appreciated Opalescence Go’s convenience, amazing results, and flavoring options. We also found a lot of reviewers who said Opalescence Go is one of the best options for those with sensitive teeth.
Not everyone loves it though. Some customers reported that it burned their gums, and a few even said it made them bleed. However, if you wear the trays correctly, they shouldn’t contact the gums at all.
If you want a brighter smile without a lot of inconvenience, Opalescence Go might be the perfect option for you. There’s no measuring gel or rinsing out trays, and you get all the benefits of a professional formula from the comfort of home.
Of course, it isn’t your only option. Check out our review of the best at-home whitening kits to compare the top products available.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the primary benefits of using whitening trays instead of strips and pens?
It is more common to find over-the-counter whitening pens and strips because they’re specifically designed for at-home use and most people find them easier to use. However, whitening trays always hold certain advantages. Specifically:
- They don’t slip out of place like strips can.
- They keep the gel in place so it can work, unlike pens.
- They cover all the teeth — something strips rarely do and isn’t possible with pens.
Why should I choose pre-filled trays instead of reusable ones?
It’s ultimately a matter of personal preference. However, pre-filled trays eliminate the risk that you might measure out the gel wrong, require no extra cleaning, and if you lose a set of trays, it won’t throw off your whitening efforts.
What can I do to make whitening trays more comfortable for me?
Apply a good lip balm before inserting them, since some people find that using the trays can make their lips dry and cracked. Second, dab a fragrance you like under your nose so you won’t smell the peroxide, since smell and taste are linked. Aside from this, just find something to do while you wait for your session to finish.
How fast will I see results from my whitening trays?
For most people, it will take about 1-3 sessions to notice a difference. Full results depend on the kit but usually take around 7-14 days.
Is it risky to whiten your smile at home?
Not when you purchase authentic products from reputable manufacturers and follow their directions correctly. The biggest risk is placing the trays wrong or using too much gel, allowing it to overflow and burn your gums and other oral tissues.
Can I combine Opalescence Go with other whitening products, like toothpastes or pens?
It is better to use a sensitive toothpaste than a whitening one. As for pens and other stronger whitening products, avoid them until several weeks after you complete your treatment.
I am diligent about brushing and flossing. Why are my teeth stained?
It’s likely a combination of habits and the natural aging process. Things like coffee, red wine, and heavily pigmented foods stain the teeth over time. And as we age, our enamel steadily wears down, allowing the yellow dentin below it to show through. Whitening products can address food stains but not discoloration from aging.
Is it safe to use whitening trays when you have braces?
Ask your orthodontist. The answer is usually no since the trays can pull on the braces and damage them. Plus, the gel cannot get under the brackets, so your teeth will still have stains once your brackets come off.
Is it safe to use whitening trays when pregnant?
There isn’t enough research on this to give a firm answer. Talk to your doctor to figure out the best route for you.
Can I use whitening trays to improve the color of my veneers?
They can remove surface stains but won’t alter the color of the veneers themselves.