Morning cups of coffee, afternoon tea, berries, red wine — these might be some of life’s little joys, but they can also leave their mark on your teeth. If you’ve noticed your smile isn’t as white as it once was, you don’t have to accept it. You can fight those stains with whitening pens.
Philips has taken the formula for their professional treatments and scaled it down for safe, easy home use with their Zoom Whitening Pen. But is it the best whitening pen for you? Let’s take a look at all the Philips Zoom Whitening Pen facts you need to know to make your decision.
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Philips Zoom Whitening Pen at a Glance
Philips is a big name in the dental industry — both for at-home products and in-office treatments. In fact, their Zoom line was originally just for dental offices. But after seeing so much success with doctor-directed treatment, they decided to take their products to the masses, and the Philips Zoom Whitening Pen was born.
It was originally conceived of as a way to maintain whiteness in between professional Philips treatments. However, it has one of the highest peroxide concentrations of any pen on the market, so many customers use it as their full whitening treatment. You can use it twice a day for up to three weeks at a time, depending on your level of tooth sensitivity.
While most whitening pens only brighten the smile by two or three shades, the Philips Zoom Whitening Pen can deliver up to a five-shade difference. This puts it on par with whitening strips and trays. Plus, it’s easy to find since Philips products are sold at most pharmacies and superstores.
Pros & Cons of Philips Zoom Whitening Pen
Philips Zoom Whitening Pen is an incredible product, packing a bigger punch than most other whitening pens. However, not every aspect of it is ideal. Here are the biggest pros and cons.
- Can brighten the teeth by up to five shades, while other pens can only make a two- or three-shade difference.
- Cheaper than professional treatment but with the same formulation — just a lower peroxide concentration.
- Has a pleasant minty taste.
- You can use it at any time of the day or night.
- There is nothing in the formula that prevents saliva from washing away the gel.
- It should not be used on restorative or cosmetic dentistry.
There are plenty of features you might want in a whitening pen: vegan, gluten-free, great flavor, etc. But at the top of the list will always be effectiveness. If a pen doesn’t brighten your smile, it’s a poor investment.
Overall, whitening pens aren’t as effective as strips and trays. They typically use lower concentrations of peroxide and there’s nothing to hold the gel on your teeth, so there’s a chance your saliva could wash it away before it takes full effect.
Philips Zoom is the only whitening pen we found that matches the effects of other treatments without the addition of an LED light, largely thanks to its peroxide concentration. Where most pens hover around a 3% hydrogen peroxide concentration, Zoom’s is 5.25%. Unfortunately, saliva might wash it away since the gel doesn’t harden on the teeth to keep it in place.
Luckily, this doesn’t seem to have much of an impact on Philips Zoom Whitening Pen’s effectiveness. Most customers note a visible difference in their smile after about a day of use. Some, who applied it before bed, even stated they could see a difference after a single application. While it only works on natural teeth, Philips Zoom Whitening Pen is highly effective.
With Philips Zoom, you can choose to go with the professional system instead of the pen, and it will deliver stronger and faster results. So why consider the pen over brightening your smile at your dentist’s office?
There are a few reasons, including convenience and comfort, but the biggest is the price. Professional Zoom whitening costs an average of $600 per session. The pen usually costs around $23. With 30 applications per pen, that breaks down to about $0.77 per whitening session.
Of course, it is also important to know how this compares to other whitening pens, and Philips Zoom Whitening Pen’s price is pretty average. Both Moon and Colgate Optic White Overnight Teeth Whitening Pen are cheaper, at $0.66 and $0.71 per session respectively. However, Lumineux is $1.25 per session — with less powerful whitening — and SNOW is $2 per session, but offers better results thanks to their LED light.
Quality of Ingredients
The most important thing to know about a whitening pen is if it works. The next important thing is how it works. This all comes down to the ingredients.
Most whitening products use peroxide to brighten smiles — either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Philips Zoom Whitening Pen uses hydrogen peroxide. Their formula has a 5.25% concentration of peroxide, which makes it pretty potent for a whitening pen.
Although hydrogen peroxide is the only active ingredient in the formula, there are quite a few other elements that support it. Below are the inactive ingredients and their functions.
- Water: This helps keep the gel in liquid form so it’s easy to apply.
- Carbomer: Carbomer is an adhesive agent, giving the gel some staying power.
- Glycerin: Used to dehydrate the teeth, glycerin pulls water from the enamel so the peroxide can more easily enter the pores.
- PEG-60 hydrogenated castor oil: This ingredient helps cleanse the teeth, making it easier to produce even whitening.
- PVP: Polyvinylpyrrolidone helps stop stains from sticking to the teeth.
- Ammonium hydroxide: Adjusts the formula’s pH to make it gentler on the teeth.
- Flavor: While the exact flavor is not specified, this helps mask the taste of peroxide, which can be unpleasant and powerful.
- Sodium saccharin: An artificial sweetener that combines with the flavor to mask the unpleasant taste.
- Etidronic acid: This is a binding agent that strategically suppresses some chemical activity to keep the formula safe.
- Potassium stannate: This is a stabilizing agent that works with etidronic acid to improve safety.
Although the formula is highly effective, not everyone is comfortable with gel that has so many ingredients. If you are looking for a simpler whitening pen, Colgate Optic White Overnight Whitening Pen has just three ingredients. And if you want a more natural option, look into Lumineux.
Whitening pens might be the most convenient way to brighten your smile. There are no strips to apply and remove, no gel to carefully measure from a syringe, and no trays to clean. Philips Zoom Whitening Pen is pretty standard when it comes to convenience.
Before using the pen, brush your teeth and floss. Use a fluoride-free toothpaste, since fluoride forms a film on the teeth, preventing the whitening gel from working. Then, dry your teeth using a washcloth, paper towel, or just by sucking air in through your teeth.
Once your teeth are dry, keep your lips pulled back and open the pen. Click the button until you see a small amount of gel at the end of the brush. Starting at the gumline of each tooth, brush down and into the crevices of the teeth, applying the gel evenly. Once all the teeth you can see while smiling are covered, replace the cap on the pen and keep your lips off your teeth for about 60 seconds.
Once you apply the gel, you need to avoid eating and drinking for 30 minutes. You can use the pen twice a day for up to three weeks at a time. The pen itself is small and has no accessories, so it is easy to take on the go.
Every teeth whitening treatment can feel a little awkward. Whitening pens avoid most of the aspects that can cause discomfort, but three remain: sensitivity, flavor, and the gel’s texture.
Philips Zoom has greater potential to cause sensitivity than most other whitening pens because the formula has a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide. However, since the gel tends to wash away fairly quickly, its chances of causing sensitivity are low. If it does, you can try applying it just once per day.
For the most part, the pen’s flavor is pretty pleasant. While it’s not known for its flavor the way MOON is, it does a good job of hiding the peroxide taste, making it more enjoyable than Colgate’s Optic White Overnight Teeth Whitening Pen.
The gel doesn’t harden into a textured film on your teeth, so it washes away pretty quickly. It does feel a little awkward while in place, but this is so temporary that it hardly causes an issue. Overall, we consider Philips Zoom Whitening Pen to be pretty comfortable to use.
What Are Customers Saying?
On the whole, Philips Zoom Whitening Pen customers are happy with their purchase. The whitening pen veterans tend to be big fans of the extra whitening power it offers and the mild flavor. Unlike other pens, most buyers use Zoom as their primary whitening product rather than for maintenance.
Buyers also love the fact that the formula is essentially the same as Philips’ in-office Zoom whitening. The only change is a lower peroxide concentration, making it safe for at-home use.
The most common complaint about the Zoom Whitening Pen is that the gel washes away pretty quickly. However, this is standard for whitening pens, and only a few have formulas or trays that prevent it.
The Zoom Teeth Whitening Pen takes Philips’ professional-grade formula and makes it safe for at-home use. Affordable and pocket-sized, it is a great way to dip your toe into the teeth-whitening waters, maintain your smile after a more powerful treatment, or even just battle back after particularly stain-heavy beverages and meals.
But is it ideal for you? To know for sure, check out our review of the 5 best whitening pens on the market today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I consider using whitening pens over strips or trays?
Whitening pens aren’t the ideal choice for everyone, but their primary advantages are:
- A decreased likelihood of burning the gums.
- Easy to take on the go.
- No need to carefully measure gel.
- You can target just a few teeth.
How do I keep my lips off my teeth while the gel dries?
You could just smile, but not all smiles keep the lips off the teeth. If yours doesn’t, place cotton balls behind the lips and over the gums.
Is it really safe to whiten your teeth at home?
Yes! People have been whitening their teeth with over-the-counter products for over two decades. To make your experience as safe as possible, we suggest you take the following precautions:
- Buy authentic products; skip the knock-offs.
- Read the instructions for your whitening pen and follow them exactly.
- Ensure you don’t have any allergies related to the ingredients used.
Are whitening pens just for maintenance between more complete whitening treatments?
Not always. For example, SNOW is a complete LED teeth whitening system that just uses pens as the applicator for the gel. Philips Zoom Whitening Pen is also formulated to deliver powerful whitening.
My teeth aren’t as white as they once were. What happened?
Plenty of things could have happened to change the color of your smile. Some common culprits include:
- Drinking coffee, red wine, and other staining drinks.
- Eating pigmented foods like berries.
- Enamel loss (from dental work, damage, and aging).
Can whitening pens correct all types of stains?
No. For example, sometimes teeth look yellow due to enamel loss allowing the naturally yellow dentin to show through. In these cases, no whitening product will make a difference.
Is it safe to whiten my teeth if I have braces?
Whitening products aren’t likely to damage your braces. However, they cannot get below the dental adhesive holding the brackets to the teeth, so you’ll be left with a stain in the shape of your brackets.
Can I use whitening pens on cosmetic or restorative dentistry?
It depends on the product. Some are safe to use on crowns, caps, and veneers. Others aren’t. If your product is safe to use on these, understand that it cannot alter the color of the material, only eliminate surface stains.
Is it dangerous to use my whitening pen more often than the directions state?
It can be. Peroxide opens the pores of the teeth and makes it easier to damage the enamel.