Colgate Optic White Overnight Teeth Whitening Pen Review By Dentist

Written & Reviewed by Dr David Chen

This is my review of the Colgate optic white overnight teeth whitening pen after having used it.

  • Personally, I’ll be giving you my thoughts and my experience on what it’s like to use this whitening pen.
  • Objectively, I’ll give you my professional opinion as a dentist on the efficacy of the colgate overnight whitening pen.
colgate optic white pen - view on bench
The whitening pen by colgate

I know that there are a lot of concerns about whether OTC whitening products even work so we’ll definitely be addressing that.

Disclosure: If you make a purchase after clicking one of our links, we may receive a commission.

The whitening pen by Colgate is from their optic white line of teeth whitening products. Everything in this product line is packaged in a bold red theme that is easily identifiable so that you know it can brighten your smile.

colgate optic white pen - in medicine cabinet
I store it in my medicine cabinet


  • Price = $20
  • Weight = 0.08 oz (2.5 mL)
  • Number of treatments = 35 nightly treatments
  • Whitening agent = 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Other ingredients = alcohol, acrylates/octylacrylamide copolymer, water

What is it

The colgate whitening pen is a product that contains whitening material (hydrogen peroxide) in a pen form. One end has a clicker which you press on to dispense the whitening gel onto the other end which has soft bristles.

It literally looks like a pen with a brush which you can use to paint the bleaching gel onto your teeth. Once painted on, you can go to sleep with it and let it whiten overnight. That is why it is called the Colgate optic white overnight whitening pen because you do it while you sleep!

How’s it work

The instructions on how to use the pen are simple. The pen or rather the bristles is what you use to deliver the bleaching gel onto your teeth.

colgate optic white pen - directions to use

How to use it:

  1. Click the end of the pen until gel dispenses onto the brush.
  2. Dry your teeth.
  3. Paint the gel all over your teeth.
  4. Go to sleep and let it whiten.
  5. Brush your teeth when you wake up to remove residue.


According to Colgate, there are a plethora of benefits and advantages to using their pen.

Hydrogen peroxide

Designed for no tooth sensitivity

Precision application

Enamel safe

Whitens inside and out

Vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free


My first impression upon receiving the optic white pen was that it came in a very bold packaging. It was in a semi-lunar shaped box that was colored red with bold lettering on it.

Upon unboxing, the whitening pen was securely nestled in cardboard within. It also came attached to a plastic stand for the pen which helps it stand upright. The stand was made of a solid piece of red plastic. It feels hefty and sturdy in my opinion.

Contents of the package:

  • Whitening pen x1
  • Stand for pen x1
  • Instructions booklet
  • QR scan code for how to use it
colgate optic white pen - contents all unboxed

Overall, I did like how it was securely packaged. It always impresses me when companies take the extra step to make sure that your product doesn’t come damaged or dented. It’s annoying when you open a product only having to exchange it due to damage.

Impression of the pen

The pen is bright red and looks more like a tube of mascara. I think if it was placed next to all of your makeup, you probably wouldn’t even know that it was for your teeth unless you read the label closely.

The pen tube itself is plastic but it looks and almost feels like it was made of aluminum. The inside is definitely plastic but maybe it has a coating of aluminum on the outside? I’m not quite sure to be honest. If they told me it was metal I may actually believe them.

Nonetheless, the pen does have some weight to it and feels like it was made with good quality materials. Ultimately, I view it favorably since it comes with a stand because otherwise it would just roll around when you’re storing it.

Thoughts on using it

It’s definitely a more unique whitening experience when I used the colgate overnight whitening pen since the way you whiten is totally different. With the pen you literally have to paint or color each of your teeth individually. The clicking function of the pen would probably make those with a fidget habit very happy though.

The color of the whitening gel after you dispense it on the brush is clear. I say that because sometimes you can’t really tell if the liquid has dispensed onto the bristle since it is colorless.

I’ll usually try lightly brushing the back of my hand to see if liquid is coming out or not. If it isn’t, you have to give the pen an extra click or two.

However, once you’ve painted the whitening gel onto your teeth, it will shortly form a film over them. This film does seem to turn slightly white which you can see in the photo below.

colgate optic white pen - applied on teeth

If you’re not careful with painting it only on your enamel and get it on the gums, the gums can turn slightly white.

The smell is nothing to take home about, it has a slight hint of chemical-ness to it. Colgate did not bother to add any scent to it at all.

It has an ever so slightly minty taste to it with a hint of chemicals. That’s the best way that I could describe it. It wasn’t off putting or anything of the sort but you can definitely tell that it’s not food you’re putting on your teeth.

The whitening gel for the optic white pen is in liquid form. Although shortly after being painted on your teeth (1-2 minutes) it forms a film over the enamel.

The film is mildly white looking but still mostly clear/colorless. When you wake up in the morning you can sometimes see the film peel off of your teeth like in the photo below.

colgate optic white pen - residual whitening gel film over teeth

You can also definitely feel the film over your teeth. Not so much with your lips but if you run your tongue over the surfaces of your teeth, you can feel a layer of something on them.

The good news is that the residue brushes off very easily the next morning.

Overall, I did not have any problems using it because it was easy enough. The whitening process is simpler than others in my opinion because you don’t have to “wait” for it to whiten your teeth. You can go to sleep with it on your teeth and let it whiten overnight.

In my opinion, I think the fact that you can whiten while you’re sleeping makes it incredibly convenient. At the end of the night, you brush, floss, and then use the whitening pen right before you go to bed. You don’t have to sit around waiting for it to finish. In other words, it doesn’t take additional time out of your day.

Does the colgate whitening pen work?

Yes, the colgate whitening pen does work in making your teeth whiter because it contains hydrogen peroxide. That is the same exact ingredient that your dentist uses in professional products. The only difference is that their concentration of peroxide (30-35%) is higher than the pen’s (3%).

If you wanted evidence that it can bleach your teeth, look no further than when you accidentally get some of the gel on your gums. You’ll notice the gums become bleached white. If it can turn your gums white, you know for certain that it can bleach your teeth.

Research has repeatedly shown that all concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can whiten your teeth to the same level of whiteness. It’s just that more concentrated products get you white faster. Less concentrated products require more applications and a longer whitening duration.

However, how well it works may vary from individual to individual. Some people may get great results while others may not see too much of a difference. We’ll explain why it may not work so well in the pros and cons section.

Common concerns

We’re going to be addressing a couple of common concerns in regards to using the colgate teeth whitening pen.

Concerns when using this whitening pen:

  • Bristles cake up after awhile.
  • Teeth may start getting sensitive.
  • Can whiten your gums if you put too much.

Bristles caking up

There have been some reviews online about how after a few uses, the bristles of the whitening pen will harden up. The caked up brushes make the next application process much more difficult.

While it may be true that residual whitening gel when left on the pen’s bristles can harden it… It simply means that you DID NOT follow the directions. Colgate specifically says that you’re supposed to wipe away excess gel from the brush after you finish using it.

colgate optic white pen - cleaning instructions

If you clean the bristles as instructed you shouldn’t get the hardening problem of the brush.

Teeth sensitivity

This whitening product is marketed as having been designed for “no tooth sensitivity”, that isn’t quite true. The first couple of uses may result in no teeth sensitivity but if you use the product enough times, you will start experiencing some mild sensitivity.

colgate optic white pen - Ingredients & warnings

If you read the warnings, they still have a section about potential irritation of the gums or mouth. If it truly had no sensitivity, there would be no warning label.

With that being said, teeth sensitivity isn’t unique to whitening pens. That is a common side effect for ALL whitening products whether it be OTC or professional.

Whitened gums

If you brush the gel on haphazardly, you can accidentally get it on your gums. If you do, you’ll notice the gums turn a bit white.

Don’t be alarmed by the whitened gums because it will turn back to normal later on. I haven’t had any major discomfort while using this but if it does turn bad, there are ways to heal it.

Pros & Cons

There are advantages and disadvantages to using the colgate optic white pen for bleaching your teeth.


  • Whiten while you sleep.
  • Contains 3% hydrogen peroxide.
  • Very easy to use.
  • Can whiten in between teeth.
  • Can whiten a single dead tooth.
  • Very affordable ($20).
  • Does not require additional time out of your day.


  • Peroxide concentration on the lower end.
  • Requires long whitening time (overnight).
  • May not be right for everyone.

Unique uses

Unbeknownst to many, there are two unique use cases for whitening pens. This unique capability stems from the fact that the gel is applied via the brush which gives precision applications. Essentially you can whiten in between your teeth and a single dead tooth.

Interproximal whitening

Sometimes stains can develop in between the teeth (interproximal) and the whitening pen is wonderful for reaching that area. The bristles can directly apply the bleaching gel in between the teeth. You can compare that to the whitening strips which may not reach the in between area that well.

Whiten a dead tooth

A dead tooth will begin to discolor over time but when it comes to whitening them, the objective is different than if you didn’t have dead teeth. For these situations you only want to whiten a single tooth so that you can make the color match the adjacent teeth.

The colgate whitening pen works wonderfully in this situation because you can brush the whitening gel on a single tooth. You can compare that to the strips which forces you to whiten all of your teeth at once.

Why it may not work so well

The two main reasons as to why the optic white pen may not work so well would be due to the low peroxide concentration and the lack of a saliva barrier.

  • Low hydrogen peroxide. The peroxide concentration is on the lower end. You can even compare the optic white pen (3%) to the colgate pro series toothpaste which has 5%.
  • No saliva barrier. Saliva contains salivary peroxidase which are enzymes which breakdown hydrogen peroxide. In other words, saliva inactivates your whitening gel.

Despite saying that there is no saliva protection with the colgate pen, in my opinion it is still better than using a product where you are awake. When you’re awake, you tend to salivate a lot more. However when you go to sleep, saliva flow typically slows down.

Of course, all OTC products pale in comparison to in office whitening because your dentist has a saliva suction. You really can’t beat that.


The colgate optic white teeth whitening pen is certainly an interesting product, especially since you can use it overnight. I also like that it has two unique use cases such as whitening in between the teeth and also the ability to whiten a single dead tooth.

For these three reasons, I would recommend keeping this product around. It’s great for “lazy” whitening since you can do it while you sleep and that also makes it great for touch ups in between more intense whitening sessions.

Although if you feel like you’re not getting the whitening result that you’re looking for, I would give a higher concentration product a try. After you achieve the results that you want then you can just use this whitening pen for color maintenance.

Overall, I do recommend giving it a try to see if it works for you and that concludes the colgate optic white overnight whitening pen dentist review.


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