Directions for wearing Crest Whitestrips® - Part 2

- How long are they worn? / How often? / Post-treatment wrap up.

This is the second half of our instructions for using Crest Whitestrips® products. On this page we cover:

  1. How to perform individual treatments. - How long are the strips left on? How often are they used? What activities can you do while wearing them?
  2. Steps to take when terminating a treatment session.

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

4) Performing treatments using Crest Whitestrips®.

A) How long should you leave your strips on?

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

!! The recommended treatment time varies with each Whitestrips® product.

While the way you use all Whitestrips® is essentially the same, the application times for the various product versions are entirely different. As you can see in the table below, times range from 5 minutes all of the way up to 2 hours.

A part of this difference is due to the fact that whitening strip products can vary substantially in the concentration of peroxide that their whitener contains. And that means staying within your product's guidelines is not just a "best results" but also a safety and side effects issue too.

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

Application times for different Whitestrips® products.

5 minutes, once a day strips.

Crest 3D White Whitestrips® Gentle Routine Teeth
Crest 3D White Whitestrips® Stain Shield

30 minutes, once a day strips.

Crest 3D White Luxe Whitestrips® Glamorous White
Crest 3D White Whitestrips® Professional Effects
Crest 3D White Whitestrips® Advanced Vivid
Crest 3D White Whitestrips® Vivid

1 hour, once a day strips.

Crest 3D White Luxe Whitestrips® Supreme Flexfit
Crest 3D White Whitestrips® 1 Hour Express

2 hours, once a day strips.

Crest 3D White Whitestrips® Intensive Professional Effects

Note: Products, as well as product names and versions, can change so be sure to check your instructions.

You can always wear your strips for less time.

The treatment times stated above are the maximum duration your strips should be left on. You can always wear your strips less. For example, you might do so as a way of managing side effects.

The trade-off is that you'll get less whitening effect per strip. And that means to reach the same whitening endpoint, you'll have to purchase additional product.

Number of treatment sessions.

The number of applications per day shown above seem to be Crests® standard recommendation for use. Information on their website states that their 3D White Whitestrips® Vivid, Advanced Vivid, and Professional Effects products can be use up to twice a day (30 minute application time each session).

This same page also states that 3D White Whitestrips® Stain Shield and Gentle Routine are only once-a-day products. We don't have information on other types of Whitestrips®. We discuss this topic in greater detail below.

B) What activities can you do while performing your treatments?

You can do pretty much anything you want while your strips are in place, so long as it doesn't dislodge them. And if you chosen one of the Advanced Seal® or FlexFix® style of strips, you may not be limited much at all.

  • For obvious reasons, you shouldn't smoke or eat while performing treatments. Drinking doesn't make a good choice either. Even if the strips stay in place, the liquid might dilute the whitener to some extent.
  • Wearing your strips during times when you'll need to do a lot of speaking, especially in public, might be problematic. You'll just have to experiment.

No matter what you decide to 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, for reasons discussed previously, if you do find that you need to touch your whitening strips, make sure that you rinse your fingers off afterward.

C) Excessive salivation can be a nuisance.

Anytime you place something in your mouth, your body will respond by increasing its flow of saliva. (Your mouth gets confused, it anticipates that the item is food.)

Wearing whitening strips is no exception to this rule, and the increase in saliva can be a nuisance. The build up of liquid tends to make treatments a bit yucky. It can also make it difficult to keep the less adherent style of strips in place (especially the lower ones).

What can you do?

There aren't a lot of solutions for this problem. But the good new is that your response should tend to diminish over time.

Focusing on some other task (rather than the fact that you have strips in your mouth) can help to make things more tolerable. So, maybe your treatment time would also be a good time to balance your checkbook, wash the dishes or mow the yard.

5) Terminating a bleaching session.

A) Removing teeth whitening strips.

At the end of its allotted time period, a treatment session is terminated simply by removing your whitening strips. And that's easy enough to do, just peal them off. (With the Advanced Seal® and FlexFix® strips you may be surprised by how firmly they're anchored.)

You'll want to discard your used strips with some care. It's likely that at least some of the hydrogen peroxide whitener (bleaching agent) on them is not totally depleted.

  • Dispose of your strips where they are unlikely to come into contact with anything that they might irritate, mar, stain or blemish. (This includes you, other people, pets and objects.)
  • Always wash your hands after handling teeth whitening strips.
You should brush your teeth after removing your whitening strips (Crest Whitestrips).

Residual whitener can be brushed away.

B) Clean your teeth and gums.

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

  • When doing this you may notice that you experience some post-treatment sensitivity. If so, making sure the water you use is at least lukewarm will help.
  • Wash off your fingers, toothbrush, etc... after you've finished cleaning.

6) Treatment frequency.

A) Multiple applications.

As mentioned above, information on Crest®'s website states that their 3D White Whitestrips® Vivid, Advanced Vivid, and Professional Effects products can be use up to twice daily, 30 minutes application time each session.

The advantage of performing more than one session per day is simply that your whitening process will occur more rapidly. The tradeoff is if you do, whitening side effects are more likely to occur.

B) Spreading your sessions out can help to minimize side effects.

There can be good reason for you not to perform multiple whitening treatments each day, or even treatments on consecutive days (when allowed by your product).

A person's potential to experience whitening 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 extra time between sessions can be beneficial.

C) Is it OK to wear teeth whitening strips longer than their directions state?

It's never a good idea to 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 whitening strips is that it's the manufacture that dispenses the quantity of whitener, not the end-user.
  • That implies that 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 side effects.

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 complications.



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This is a great site! Thank you for all the info that I couldnt find on the Crest website.

But I'm still not sure how long (# of days) I'm supposed to use the strips, and how often. I understand less frequent may help avoid side effects. But do I use it say every other day for a week? A month? Until I feel my teeth are white enough?

The instructions included with the strips said "use up to two kits per YEAR". The kit I have has 14 sets of two strips each. So that means 2 kits per year would be a total of 28 treatments per year. Can I use it every day, once a day for 28 days? I have the Glamorous White strips.

I got this from Costco so it came with 4 treatments of the one hour express strips. Can I use this in addition to the 28 max per year?

Hope I wasn't too confusing. Thank you for your advice! Aloha!


This would be our biggest concern with your post, the statement: "Until I feel my teeth are white enough?"

That's the problem with at-home products, the potential for over use, either accidental or when seeking unrealistic results.

Our response would simply be: What's the rush?

Here're the facts:

a) Whitening results generally correlate with the total exposure to the whitener (strips), whether that exposure is stretched out or compressed in time.

b) The exception to the above is the fact that for everyone only a certain level of lightening improvement is possible. Beyond that point, using more strips will not create further results but will still have the potential to cause side effects.

c) The potential for side effects correlates directly with the amount of exposure to whitener within a timeframe. Extending the time frame, reduces the potential.

If you're trying to avoid side effects, using strips every other day until all 14 sets in your kit have been used can make a good plan. If side effects crop up and you want to continue, let things settle down first and then try wearing the remaining strips even less frequently.

If with your first kit problems did occur, it makes no sense to continue treatment with a second kit immediately.

With dentist supervised treatments, using the equivalent of two kits back to back would likely be tolerated uneventfully by most people. But when on your own, you should error on the side of safety. Wait some weeks (at least until any residual sensitivity has disappated) before starting up again.

In regard to the express strips, the concentration of whitener on them will be greater than with your others. So, expect more potential for side effects when wearing them.

It seems to us the way the 4-treatment express kit is marketed, it's intended to be roughly equivalent to the 14-strip Glamourous kit that you have. So consider the express kit as your second annually-allowed kit.

Beyond that, tell your dentist what you've been up to at your next check up and let them help you decide if using more kits seems a reasonable choice.

Thank you for a very complete and quick response. I'm not in a rush at all but am anal about following directions and reading the fine print when using any new product. Except the fine print and directions for this weren't very clear IMHO. So I really appreciate your help. All my questions have been answered now. Thank heavens for your website! Mahalo and aloha! ☺️

It says it creates more saliva so can you swallow your saliva during the treatment or do you have to spit it out?

Best practice would be to spit it out. Swallowing bleaching compounds will tend to create the side effect of throat irritation.

The only difficulty I have had is the amount of saliva produced, which I did not want to swallow. And the more you think about this, the more you produce. So, what worked for me was, once the strips in place, folding a square of absorbent kitchen paper into a pad, placing it over my lower teeth with my tongue resting on this, and replacing the pad from time to time. This absorbed any saliva and removed the problem for me. Not an attractive look, so obviously only useful in fairly solitary confinement!

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