How To Whiten Teeth Instantly

Written & Reviewed by Dr David Chen

The closest that you’re going to get to instant teeth whitening is by having it done professional in-office with your dentist. The products that they use can only be purchased with a valid dental license, which means they’re not for sale OTC. Consequently, they’re a lot more potent and effect.

Your dentist can whiten your teeth in as little as a single treatment session, which lasts about a grand total of one hour. This is in comparison to all of the other types of whitening products which require days if not weeks for you to even finish the treatment in order to see results.

  • The Crest 3D white strips with the LED light specifically says to use it once a day for 30 minutes. For the best results you should complete all 16 treatments, which means it takes a total of 16 days to finish.
  • The SNOW teeth whitening kits specifically says to use it for 9-30 minutes a day for 21 days total. After that you’re suppose to do touch ups at least twice a week to maintin the best results.
Original SNOW teeth whitening kit

These DIY teeth whitening treatments all require a substantial amount of time to complete the entire treatment. It seems like they require at least 2-3 weeks minimum for you to see good results. That is significantly slower than a single day whitening session at your dentist. Therefore the fastest way to get whiter teeth would require you to make an appointment and get ready to spend some money.

After all everything that comes faster always cost more just like same day delivery right? Whiter teeth is no exception.

How your dentist is able to whiten your teeth instantly

Your dentist is able to whiten your teeth in the the quickest way possible because they have access to professional grade whitening products. Basically what that means is their bleaching gel comes in a significantly higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide or a derivative of it.

These gels are a lot more potent and thus require direct supervision by a healthcare professional. The concentration will be about 2-3x as potent as what you can buy online without a dental license. According to a study by JERD, the recommendation was to have a dental health professional supervise the whitening process.

Popular in-office treatments that can speed up whitening

The most common and well known in-office whitening treatment would probably be the ZOOM whitening by Philips. They were one of the first ones to utilize a blue LED light, which they helped popularize. In case you were wondering where all of these take home DIY products came up with a LED light, it was thanks to ZOOM.

zoom whitening light

Aside from using a LED light, there are plenty of other professional whitening systems which do not rely on the light. These other systems use chemically activating whitening gels in lieu of the blue LED light.

Does the light make a difference in whitening speed?

The products with a light claim that it activates the whitening gel and speeds up the process. On the other hand, the ones that don’t use a light claim that their advantage lies in the fact that they can whiten your teeth without an uncomfortable LED light.

So, who is right and does the light make a difference?

The answer is actually unclear because the studies have shown mixed results.

  • This study found that there was a significant difference when utilizing a light.
  • Another study found no significant statistical differences between the groups using only hydrogen peroxide vs those using the LED light.

Overall, there wasn’t a clear cut winner for which system was more effective. Nonetheless, in our opinion we believe that all of the systems definitely do work so just go with which ever one works for you! If you like the light then use one with it but if you don’t like how it gets hot then choose one without it.

The effect of hydrogen peroxide concentration on whitening speed

The concentration of hydrogen peroxide affects the speed of whitening but it does not affect the potential end result. According to a study by the British Dental Journal, a more concentrated product would whiten the teeth more expeditiously than a less potent one.

However the potential end result of how white the teeth get have nothing to do with the concentrations. Both the lower strength whitening gels can potentially achieve the same level of whiteness but they do require a longer treatment time in order to get there.


  • More concentrated whitening gels require less treatment time.
  • Less concentrated whitening gels require more treatment time.
  • Potential end results are identical when given enough exposure time.
opalesence boost in-office

The results of this study is consistent with what we have observed in clinical practice. It explains why professional whitening sessions at your dentist’s office only takes a single session as opposed to a DIY solution which takes weeks. The slowest way would be to use a whitening toothpaste!

Is faster whitening better than a slower one?

The only advantage to whitening your teeth faster is that you get to see the results faster. It is not as if faster whitening will give you whiter teeth. As per the studies above, the less potent and slower whitening method can still achieve the same level of whitening as the more potent one. It simply requires a longer treatment time in order to achieve the same result.

The reason why it doesn’t affect the whiteness level is that all concentrations of hydrogen peroxide whiten teeth via the same mechanism. They all diffuse through the tooth and oxidize intrinsic stains from the enamel and dentin. It just takes the less potent gel more time to complete the job.

Is whitening faster harmful?

Whitening your teeth faster with a higher concentration can potentially be more harmful to your tooth. According to a study by the Journal of Dentistry, all products with peroxide were cytotoxic to the tooth pulp. However the damages were mostly reversible because the pulp recovered.

The only exception was the treatment group which used a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide along with a long treatment time. That group did demonstrate harm.

Nonetheless, what they found was that if you simply reduced the concentration or the treatment time, you can bring it back down to a safe level. Perhaps that is the reason why all of the DIY products come at a lower strength so that you can use it without dental supervision.

This is probably also the reason why your dentist does not use professional strength products on you for multiple days straight. Your tooth can’t handle the consequences of high strength and long treatment time whitening products!

So yes, whitening your teeth faster with a stronger product can be potentially harmful if the instructions are not followed. You must abide by the manufacturer’s instructions!

The Verdict – Can you whiten your teeth instantly?

Well, it is impossible to whiten your teeth instantly but you can do it in about an hour if you get professional in-office whitening. The concentration of the gel has a big influence on how quickly you can change the color of your teeth. A less concentrated product will require a longer treatment time in order to achieve the same results.

Would we still use the OTC products from Crest and SNOW? Of course we would because not everyone wants to spend the amount of money that an in-office whitening session at the dentist requires. The DIY products offer an affordable option for all budgets.

Don’t forget that even the lowest strength peroxide product will still whiten your teeth to the same whiteness as a more potent one if you give it enough time.


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