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).


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.

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.


Topic Menu ▶  Using Teeth Whitening Strips


3dwhite strips

i wiah I read this page first,before I purchested this product,I would have
Purchested a more sticker one.
My 3d white strips don't stick like I though

They don't work

Save your $$. Pulling them off the clear plastic strip and placing them is so difficult. And when/if you get it done, they DO NOT STICK. THey do not work. I wasted $72 when I bought from my dentist's office following a recent visit. Save your $$.


Hi there I just read your comment, so did you not continue to use the strips or was it just a one off problem you had?
I am using the Luxe Glamorous White and haven't came to any problems yet :-)


There seem to be a couple of issues being discussed here.

1) As far as staying in place, it would be our opinion that the "Advanced Seal" strips are very sticky and stay in place quite well (and infinitely better than previous generation Whitestrips).

2) "Pulling them off the clear plastic strip and placing them is so difficult" - We absolutely see how this might be a problem for some people. So the first time you do the process have all of your ducks lined up in a row so you have no interferences or distractions.

3) "They do not work" - This technology absolutely can work, and probably does for most people. But there can be a lot of variabillity in types of staining and between different people. There's no way in advance to know what type of results you will get.

Good sensible viewpoints

Thanks, farily reasonable viewpoints. Helps this old guy modernize his tooth care. LOL. I'm guessing I need to update some probiotics afterward to replace intestinal flora killed off by the peroxide?

Jim B.

We're not really going to have an answer for you about intestinal flora. We'd anticipate that the bulk of the peroxide is neutralized in your mouth.

Worked Perfectly

I don't see how anyone can have any problems!.. I use the Luxe Glamorous White and iv not had any problems so far :-)

They worked great for me.

The one problem I had was that they didn't stick well to my lower teeth. I think that was because they were more wet with saliva. So, I eventually started to pat down my lower teeth with a paper towel to dry them before I applied the strips. That seems to take care of the problem. My teeth are much whiter now then when I started.

great instructions!

I purchased a box of Whitestrips Classic months ago, and had never gotten around to using them. Evidently I'd opened the box at some point, though, because I'd lost the instructions! I bumbled my way through, but would have had far less difficulty had I thought to seek out instructions first! I'm sure this will help with tomorrow morning's application, and I can hardly wait to see my bright and shiny teeth in another week or so! Thank you for these excellent and clear instructions.


Thank you for leaving a comment. If you've never used Whitestrips before, on the first two days you might just use one strip each day, just to see how your teeth and gums respond to wearing them (in terms of sensitivtiy), then go from there.

Which side

I recently purchased the crest white strips professional effects. I opened my first strip and I was confused which side goes on my teeth. Is it the side i peeled off the plastic? Or the other side.? There also little patterns on one side of the strip. Need some clarity on which side of the strip goes against my teeth.


The side of strip that faces down on its plastic packaging is the side that is coated with the whitener and is placed against your teeth.

Supreme Flexfit - How often

The instructions say once a day for a strip, but nothing about the timing pattern. The Supreme Flexfit has 21 applications, are they used 21 straight days? Or is it once a week, or some other sequence. Since the instructions recommend only using no more than once a year, it is odd that no instructions on how often to use each treatment. Thanks for any help!


The webpage describing their 'Crest 3D White Supreme FlexFit Whitestrips' product says:
"Usage: Apply once a day for 1 hour. Full results in 21 days."

Especially for new users, it's commonplace to start with a reduced schedule (like every other day, or even more) just to make sure side effects (like tooth sensitivity) aren't going to be a problem for you.

Since teeth whitening is simply dependent upon the total dosage of whitener your teeth are exposed to, doing treatments every day vs. every other day will give the same end result, it just takes longer.

Thanks for your response! I

Thanks for your response! I read the usage part and made the assumption of 21 straight days, but with the advertised results lasting over a year, I questioned the 21 straight day approach. I also appreciate your comments on the reduced schedule, since I am a new user. Your last paragraph was most helpful in setting my expectations. Thanks for taking the time to advise and counsel, I found this extremely helpful!

Kinda confused

So I'm reading all the comments and it looks like these strips only whiten your teeth after a week or more of consisted used. I know it's not gonna whiten my teeth completely after one use but I think it's a little crappie that it takes so long to see any resultimate and that it only keeps them white for as long as you use them. Not to mention that they are painfully expensive. I cold NEVER afford to use thesearch things on a daily basis. Great idea but not a realistic possibility for a middle/lower class person such as myself.


Some of what you state is accurate.

This part is not: "and that it only keeps them white for as long as you use them"
The results you get with whitening strips will last as long as with any other whitening method, because all methods are based on the same chemistry (peroxide tooth whitening).

Also: "I think it's a little crappie that it takes so long to see any resultimate"
There just wouldn't be anyway a user's gum tissue could tolerate the concentration of peroxide that would be needed to produce single-treatment results using a whitening strip method.
If you want same-day results you should investigate in-office whitening (treatments performed by your dentist).

Apply White Strips

Can I apply the Professional effects strips with a pair of latex gloves to avoid the stickiness and finger irriation issue or will this create even more problems?


It would be our thought that wearing latex gloves wouldn't do much to avoid the awkwardness associated with the stickiness of the strips. Also, gloves are often talc coated which would get transferred to the strips.

Wearing gloves could be a way of avoiding skin contact with the whitener. (Dentists routinely wear gloves when working with peroxide whiteners.) But most of the irritation you'll likely notice has to do with prolonged contact (like placing a strip with your fingers and then touching some part of your body or something which then isn't washed off immediately).

3D whitestrips

Question- how soon after you remove the strips can you brush your teeth.


Brushing after a WhiteStrips session is OK. You'll need to keep in mind to use your regular soft-bristled brush and to be gentle.

Which strip for uppers and is the smaller one for the bottom

Confused which strip big or small for what upper or lower teeth a


In this picture, the longer strip is for the front upper teeth, the smaller one is for the front bottom teeth.

Dry strips

I just purchased the Professional Effects strips and I’m noticing the strips are bone dry. You mention there should be stickiness to them so I’m wondering if the strips I purchased are old or defective. The best before date states August 2019. The strips still adhere to my teeth, but are they meant to be sticky with product or dry when first applied?


No, you're all set and we've removed the "stickiness" statements from this page. The current formulation that Crest is using is (as you state) is comparatively dry and therefore less difficult to handle than the old one. Thank you for posting the question.

Line across top two front teeth

1/2 of my upper front teeth are lighter on bottom and darker on top. It’s like a middle line where shades are noticeably different . Not sure what I did wrong except I brushed first and not after. I have never used these before . What happened and how can I get the my top teeth to look one color ? I am freaking out a bit .

There can be a few variables

There can be a few variables involved, so you'd be best served by calling the help number on your product so they can collect all pertinent information and advise you accordingly.

It's not uncommon that teeth initially lighten unevenly due to the make up of the tooth internally. The biting-edge 1/2 of a front tooth may respond to whitening treatments more quickly because this aspect of the tooth is often almost entirely enamel.

The composition of the 1/2 of a tooth toward the gum line is one where an enamel layer covers over a darker center of dentin. This portion of the tooth may take longer to respond to the whitening treatments.

A common scenario is one where the biting-edge side of the tooth reaches a point where it lightens no further. Then due to continued treatments the gum-line portion tends to catch up in color.

Due to this anatomical difference, natural teeth frequently have some shade variation in these two regions. Bleaching treatments may or may not be able to overcome this and make a tooth entirely uniform in color.


So just confirming the professional effects strips are rather dry? I was worried that the gel had dried up and they won't work?


You could touch base with Crest to confirm, but what you describe seems WNL for Professional Effects from our experience.

lost/misplaced instructions

I have 3 foil packets of Crest Whitestrips Advanced Seal whitening formula. I have lost/misplaced the instructions. I'd like to use them but need help on how long to leave them on my teeth. Anyone have info for me, please?


While we don't doubt "Crest Whitestrips Advanced Seal" is stated on your foil package, we're not so sure we can give you a definitive answer just based on that detail alone.

The "advanced seal" reference simply refers to the way the strips adhere to your teeth, and has no bearing on how long you wear them (but this property would be more likely to be a characteristic of strips worn for longer durations, either worn 30 or 60 minutes).

"Crest Whitestrips" is obviously their brand name. In years past that term when used alone typically meant their basic/introductory product, which was worn for 30 minutes. But we don't know if your packaging contains other descriptors that would indicate a different product.

The safest bet would be to contact Crest.

Brush before or after.

I'm confused about brushing before or after using the strips


As this page states, Crest's advice is that you should not brush your teeth before placing the strips. Not brushing first helps to improve strip adhesion and tends to decrease gum sensitivity to the strips.

Then after your treatment, yes, you can gently brush your teeth to remove any whitener that remains on your teeth.

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