Wearing teeth-whitening strips. (Crest Whitestrips) - Part 2

This second half of series outlining the use of whitening strips (like Crest Whitestrips Classic) provides details about: I) How to perform individual strip treatments, II) What to do when terminating a treatment session.

( Part 1 of our directions describes how to get ready to perform treatments and how to place the strips. )

[Crest Whitestrips is a registered trademark of the Proctor & Gamble Company.]

3) Performing whitening-strip treatments.

A) How long should you leave your strips in place?

Once you have your strips positioned, your bleaching session has begun. So, take a look at your clock or watch and start timing.

The recommended treatment time for Crest Whitestrips Classic (the product we've modeled these directions after) is 30 minutes. (Crest also recommends two treatments per day. - See below.)

This stated time period is a maximum exposure. You can always wear your strips less (possibly as a way of managing side effects). The trade-off is that you'll get less whitening effect per strip.

Crest Whitestrips Classic strips are worn for 30 minutes.

Check your product's directions.

Not all whitening-strip products are the same (primarily due to the concentration of peroxide that their whitener contains).

In all cases, you must refer to the directions that have come with your specific product for instructions about how long and how often your strips should be worn.

B) What activities can you do while performing treatments?

You can do pretty much any activity you want while your strips are in place, so long as it doesn't dislodge them. That means eating and drinking are out. And trying to do a lot of speaking, especially in public, might be problematic. You'll just have to experiment.

No matter what you do do, it's a good idea to check your strips every once in a while to make sure that they are still in place. And, as we discussed in Part 1, if you do find that you need to touch your whitening strips, make sure that you rinse your fingers off afterwards.

C) Excessive salivation can be a problem.

Anytime you place something in your mouth, your body will respond by increasing its flow of saliva. That's just nature. It's how things work.

Wearing whitening strips is no exception to this rule, and this elevated flow can cause some problems. For example, it can tend to make treatments a bit "yucky." It can also make it difficult to keep your strips in place (especially the lower one).

What can you do?

There aren't a lot of solutions for this problem. You can let the saliva pool in your mouth (preferably away from the strips so not to hamper the whitener's effectiveness) and periodically spit this excess out (checking the placement of your strips afterward).

The good news is that this increase in flow should diminish over time. Short of that, we've noticed that if you allow yourself to concentrate on another task (anything other than wearing your whitening strips) the salivation thing seems to become more tolerable. So, maybe treatment time would be a good time to balance your checkbook, wash the dog or mow the yard.

4) Terminating a bleaching session.

A) Removing your teeth whitening strips.

At the end of its allotted time period, a treatment session is terminated by removing the whitening strips. And that's easy to do, just peal them off.

You'll want to discard the strips with some care. It's likely that at least some of the hydrogen peroxide whitener (bleaching agent) on the strips is not totally depleted. So dispose of your strips where they are unlikely to come in contact with anything that they might irritate, mar, stain or blemish. And always wash your hands off after handling teeth whitening strips.

You should brush your teeth after removing your whitening strips (Crest Whitestrips).

Clean your teeth and gums.

Once you have removed your strips you should rinse, wipe or brush away any whitener residue that remains on your teeth or gums.

In some cases, a person may notice that their teeth have post-treatment sensitivity. If so, wiping or else rinsing with tepid water might be the gentlest method. Wash off your finger or toothbrush off afterwards.

5) Some whitening strip products recommend twice-daily treatments.

Some strip products (like Crest Whitestrips Classic) are meant to be worn twice daily (two bleaching treatments each day). Doing so speeds up the time frame for the whitening process by compressing your exposure to the same amount of whitener in a fewer number of days.

Can you perform your whitening treatments back-to-back?

With many strips products (like Crest Whitestrips Classic) it's permissible to perform your whitening treatments back-to-back if you so desire. (Refer to your specific product's directions for their recommendation on this matter.)

If you choose to do so, remove and appropriately discard the whitening strips that were used during your first treatment session. Rinse, wipe or brush away any residual whitener that remains. Place your second set of strips and start watching your clock again.

The advantage of back-to-back treatments is convenience.

You may wonder if there is any advantage to performing your twice-daily whitening strip treatments immediately after each other. In short, the answer is no, not really. If doing so allows the most convenient scheduling for you, then that clearly is an advantage. But otherwise, from a standpoint of tooth whitening science, there is no special benefit.

Spreading treatments out may help to minimize side effects.

There may be good reason for you not to perform your treatments consecutively. A person's potential to experience side effects correlates directly with their exposure to the whitener within a specified time frame. As a way of helping to minimize or control side effects, allowing as much time between treatments as is conveniently possible may prove to be beneficial.

B) Is it ok to wear teeth-whitening strips longer than their directions recommend?

It's never a good idea use any tooth whitening product in a manner that lies outside the guidelines specified in its directions, teeth whitening strips included.

An interesting feature of strips is that it's the manufacture that dispenses the quantity of whitener, not the end-user. Think about what this implies. Through testing they have determined what amount of whitener is required to remain effective for the duration of the recommended treatment time, yet not be likely to create complications.

So, if you extend the duration of your treatments you are unlikely to gain any significant whitening benefit (because the whitener has become depleted). But you will be placing yourself at somewhat greater risk (although probably minimally) for experiencing side effects.

Whitening Strips (Whitestrips®)

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