Instructions for using Crest Whitestrips®.

- After looking through the product line, we've formulated this set of directions explaining how to use all types of Crest Whitestrips®.

This page outlines how to use Crest Whitestrips® products. We originally wrote these directions for Whitestrips Classic®, a product that has since been discontinued. We've since updated our pages so they include information pertaining to all of the different products that currently make up the Whitestrips® line.

This includes: Crest Whitestrips® 3D White - Vivid, Advanced Vivid, Gentle Routine, Stain Shield, Professional Effects, Intensive Professional Effects, 1 Hour Express, Luxe Supreme Flexfit and Luxe Glamorous White.

Directions for using Crest Whitestrips® -

  1. Which style of strip will you use?
  2. Getting ready.
  3. Placing the strips.
  4. Performing your treatment - How long, how often?
  5. Wrapping up your treatment session.
  6. Treatment frequency.

1) Crest® makes two styles of strips.

Whitestrips® come in two basic forms. The big difference between them is one type stays in place better than the other.

Advanced Seal Whitestrips.

If you want a secure fit, look for Advanced Seal Whitestrips.

a) Sturdy, strongly adherent strips -

The boxes of strips having this design are labeled with the trademark Advanced Seal or FlexFit.

  • The strip itself is made out of a relatively thick, tough plastic.
  • The whitener/adhesive that's been applied is very sticky and is able to hold it tightly in place.
  • Products that have this design are: Crest Whitestrips® 3D White - Advanced Vivid, Professional Effects, Intensive Professional Effects, 1 Hour Express, Luxe Glamorous White and Luxe Supreme Flexfit.
  • The strips in this category are generally intended for longer wear times (30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the product).

There is no question that these strips stay in place well. And if you've had difficulty wearing previous generations of Whitestrips®, this design will likely provide the solution that you need.

They are so adherent that Crest® suggests that you could whistle or drink water while wearing them (which, to us, seems a fairly accurate claim).

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b) Flimsy, less adherent strips -
  • These strips are made out of a lighter weight, flimsier plastic. And the whitener/adhesive applied to them is much less adherent.
  • The consumer product reviews we've read typically contain the words: slippery, slides around, don't stick.
  • Products that have this design are: Crest Whitestrips® 3D White - Vivid, Gentle Routine and Stain Shield.
  • This type of strip construction is reminiscent of the older-style of Whitestrips®.

The Gentle Routine and Stain Shield strips are only worn for 5 minutes, so staying in place isn't much of an issue with them. The Vivid (not Advanced Vivid) is worn for 30 minutes, so keeping them in place may be an issue for some people.

Which style of strip should you use?

It only makes sense that most people probably prefer using the more adherent strips (Advanced Seal®, FlexFit®). And in fact, for just routine whitening (medium length treatments over the course of a week or more), only Whitestrips Vivid® (not to be confused with Advanced Vivid) has the flimsier, less adherent design.

That's not to say this product isn't as good as the others, it's just different. And for people who are more accustom to the old-style strip, this might be the one they prefer.

How to tell which kind you're buying.

We noticed that Crest® does a good job of displaying the Advanced Seal and FlexFit trademarks prominently on their products that have these designs.

It was also our impression that these products come in trapezoidal shaped boxes whereas the old-style strips come in rectangular ones.

Additional product selections are shown at the bottom of this page.

2) Getting things ready for your whitening strip treatment.

A) Cleaning your teeth.

In the directions for all of the products listed above, Crest® specifically states that they will stay in place better if you DO NOT brush your teeth before applying them.

As an additional aid, we've seen several consumer product reviews where the poster stated that they got better adhesion by removing excess saliva from their teeth first (by patting them dry with a towel).

Gum irritation.

As another reason, Crest® suggests that you may notice increased gum tissue irritation if you initiate a whitening session immediately after brushing.

B) Removing the strips from their packaging.

  • Whitestrips® come packaged in pairs (one upper and one lower) in individual pouches.
  • The two strips in each pouch are used for one treatment session and then discarded.

Simply tear open the pouch and remove the thin plastic carrier on which the whitening strips have been affixed. The strip for the upper teeth is the larger one of the two.

The side of the whitening strip that faces its plastic carrier is the side that contains the tooth whitener and is the side that needs to be placed against the surface of your teeth.

Peeling an Advanced Seal Whitestrip from its carrier.

Peeling an Advanced Seal Whitestrip from its carrier.

C) Don't peel a strip off until you're ready to apply it.

Even the sturdier forms of Whitestrips® are relatively flimsy items and generally tricky to handle. So before you peel one off its plastic carrier, make sure that you are all set and ready to go.

  • Be careful that you don't fold them over on themselves.

    If you do you may disrupt the bleaching film as you try to straighten them back out.

A crinkled Whitestrip.

Be careful not to crinkle the Whitestrip.

  • With the flimsier, older-design products (Vivid, Gentle Routine, Stain Shield), it's easy enough to crinkle them up and straightening them back out may take a bit of work.

In general, as you peel the strip off it's carrier just be as careful as you can. You don't want to do anything that will make you have to touch or otherwise disturb the side of the strip that contains the whitener any more than you absolutely have to.

Also, use dry fingers. You don't want excess moisture to get on the whitener (and dilute it), or easily spread onto your fingers.

3) How to place your Whitestrips®.

  • It's the gel (coated, sticky) side of the strip that's placed against your teeth. This is the side of the strip that was face down on the plastic carrier.
  • The longer of the two strips is placed on your upper teeth. (That's because each upper tooth is wider than its corresponding lower one, hence the added length of the longer strip is needed.)

A) The strips need to be aligned properly.

When placing a Whitestrip®, you should align it with your gum line. Of course, its straight edge and your scalloped gum line won't match up exactly, so just do the best that you can.

Position the edge of the whitening strip (Whitestrips) with the gum line.

Place the strip so it fully covers your teeth.

Make sure to cover your teeth.

The idea is to maximize the amount of tooth surface that the strip covers over. Any portion of a tooth that lies beyond the edge of the whitening strip won't receive the same exposure to the whitener.

And yes, this type of positioning means that the strip will lie over small portions of your gums where they come up in between your teeth.


With the thinner, less adherent type of strip, even after you've placed one on your teeth you'll still be able to move it around somewhat to reposition it.

Advanced Seal® and FlexFit® products are much stickier. If you position one incorrectly, you can peel it back off. But you'll feel the strong tug, and wonder how much whitener you're leaving behind as you do. So it's nice if you can get things right the first time.

B) Once positioned, press the Whitestrip® into place.

Gently press the whitening strip (Whitestrips) in place.

Once positioned, gently press the strip in place.

Once you have the whitening strip positioned properly, gently press on it so to secure it in place and maximize its contact with each tooth's surface.

Fold the whitening strip (Whitestrips) onto the backside of the teeth.

Then, fold the remainder of the strip back behind the biting edge of your teeth.


Now that the first strip is in place, all you have to do is repeat the same process on your other arch (upper/lower teeth).

It doesn't really matter which arch you do first. But you'll probably find it easier to start with the lower, and do the upper second.

C) Wash your hands after handling Whitestrips®.

Always wash your hands after touching a whitening strip.

The bleaching agent that's applied to whitening strips is typically hydrogen peroxide. And this compound has the potential to react with any and all surfaces that it comes into contact with, not just your teeth.

Wash your hands ... in every case.

There is no question about this point. You will get some of your strip's whitener on your fingers during the application process, so wash them (soap and water) after you're finished handling them (and their packaging).

Signs and symptoms.

If you don't wash up, you may notice that your fingers start to tingle, or even burn. That's the peroxide reacting with your skin. It may even cause white patches to form. In any case, just wash your fingers off and you should be fine.

Be careful though, additional, possibly more serious, complications can occur too.

  • Just like with your fingers, touching areas of skin can cause irritation and/or whitening. (Wash the area immediately with soap and water.)
  • Touching your eyes will result in irritation. (Immediately flush your eyes with water for 15 minutes as a first step. Seek medical attention if the irritation persists after rinsing.)
  • The whitener may bleach your hair (on your head, eyebrows, beard or mustache) if you touch it.
  • These same types of accidental harm can occur with your child or pet too if you touch them before washing your hands first.

Permanent damage may occur with clothing or any other possessions or objects you touch (towels, purse, furniture, etc...). So be careful and always wash your hands after handling whitening strips or the pouch they came in.


Last revision/review: 9/4/2018 - Minor revision. / Content added.


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