How many Crest strips until I see a difference?

Whitening your teeth with Crest whitestrips can make a noticeable difference in the brightness and color of your smile. However, the number of treatments needed to see results can vary based on the individual and the type of whitestrips used. In general, most people start to see some improvement after 3-5 uses, but may need up to 20 treatments to get their maximum whitening potential.

How Crest Whitestrips Work

Crest whitestrips contain a teeth whitening gel with hydrogen peroxide as the active ingredient. When the strips are applied to the teeth, the hydrogen peroxide penetrates the enamel and breaks down stains and discoloration. With repeated applications, the whitening effects become more pronounced.

Some key factors that influence results include:

  • The concentration of hydrogen peroxide – Higher concentrations produce faster results
  • Contact time – Longer wear times allow more whitening to occur
  • Adhering correctly to teeth – The whitening gel must remain in contact with teeth to work
  • Starting color of teeth – Whiter teeth show improvements faster

Seeing Initial Results

Most Crest whitestrips instruct users to apply the strips once a day for 30 minutes to an hour. When used as directed, you can expect to see the following general timeline:

  • 3-5 treatments – Some minimal improvement in tooth shade. Results are often most noticeable on front teeth.
  • 7-10 treatments – Moderate whitening and brightening of smile. Friends and family may start to notice a difference.
  • 14 treatments – Significant whitening effect achieved. Stains are greatly reduced and teeth appear several shades lighter.
  • 20+ treatments – Teeth are dramatically whiter and have reached their maximum whitening potential.

However, results can vary based on the type and concentration of the Crest whitestrips used:

Crest 3D White Whitestrips

Crest 3D White is one of the most popular whitestrip options. The standard 1 Hour Express treatment contains 10% hydrogen peroxide and can produce noticeable results in 3-7 uses. The Gentle Routine strips have a lower 6% hydrogen peroxide concentration and may take 5-10 treatments to see an initial difference.

Crest Professional Effects

Crest Professional Effects provide faster whitening with higher peroxide concentrations up to 20%. The 20% Professional Effects strips deliver dramatic results in just 1-3 treatments. However, the higher peroxide levels can also increase sensitivity.

Maximizing Whitening Results

To get the best whitening with Crest strips, it’s important to use them correctly and consistently. Here are some tips to optimize your routine:

  • Follow package directions carefully and wear the strips for the full recommended time.
  • Apply strips to clean, dry teeth. Avoid eating, drinking or rinsing mouth for 30 minutes after.
  • Use the strips consistently each day until you achieve desired level of whitening.
  • Pay attention to hard-to-whiten areas like backs of teeth and near gums.
  • Use touch-up treatments as needed if stains reappear.

It also helps to practice good oral hygiene and limit staining foods and beverages like coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco between treatments.

How Long Do Results Last?

Like any teeth whitening product, Crest whitestrip results are not permanent. Without additional treatments, your teeth will gradually darken over time.

On average, the whitening results from Crest strips can last:

  • 3-6 months with proper oral care
  • 1-3 months if using staining foods/drinks regularly

To maintain brightness, you may need touch-up treatments every 1-3 months. Using Crest whitestrips for shorter durations (e.g. 5-10 minutes) a few times per week can help keep teeth whiter longer.

When to Expect Dramatic Whitening

For most people, it takes approximately two weeks of consistent Crest whitestrips use (14-20 treatments) to achieve dramatic whitening results. However, the actual number of strips needed for a dazzling white smile depends on:

  • Your tooth sensitivity – Higher peroxide concentrations cause more sensitivity but whiten faster. You may need more treatments with lower concentration strips.
  • Stain level – Heavily stained teeth require more treatments to see a significant change in shade.
  • Tooth structure – Teeth with thinner enamel whiten faster. Those with thicker enamel require more treatments.
  • Age of stains – Long-standing tetracycline stains or fluorosis respond slower than new stains.

The 20% Crest Professional Effects strips can produce dramatic results in as little as 3-5 days when used according to directions. But even milder formulas can deliver a noticeably whiter smile in 1-2 weeks with diligent daily use.

Should I See My Dentist?

While Crest whitestrips are generally safe when used as directed, professional teeth whitening from your dentist can lighten your teeth faster with stronger peroxide gels. It also allows your dentist to evaluate your teeth and gums first to determine if you are a good candidate for whitening treatment.

You should see your dentist first if you have:

  • Sensitive teeth or gums
  • Gum disease or cavities
  • White spots, cracks, or defects on enamel
  • Dental restorations like veneers, crowns, or bridges
  • A history of allergies to peroxide products

Professional in-office whitening can provide dramatic results in a single visit, though touch-up treatments may be needed annually to maintain brightness.

Other Home Whitening Options

While Crest whitestrips are very effective, there are some other over-the-counter teeth whitening products that can produce good results. These include:

  • Whitening trays – Custom fitted trays are filled with peroxide gel and worn 1-2 hours a day.
  • Whitening rinses – Peroxide solutions are swished around teeth to remove stains.
  • Whitening toothpastes – Contain mild abrasives and chemicals to polish away stains.
  • Whitening gels – Brushed directly on teeth and allowed to sit for a short time.
  • LED lights – Accelerate the whitening process when used with peroxide products.

However, Crest whitestrips are generally the most convenient, effective, and affordable home whitening option for most people trying to make their smile whiter.

Risks and Side Effects

When used correctly, Crest whitestrips are safe for most healthy adults. However, some people may experience minor side effects like:

  • Tooth or gum sensitivity
  • Irritation of the gums, lips or inner cheeks
  • Dry mouth or increased salivation during treatment

These symptoms are generally mild and resolve quickly when treatment is stopped. To minimize discomfort:

  • Follow directions carefully and don’t overuse the strips
  • Trim strips if they overlap gums
  • Interrupting treatment for a few days if you experience sensitivity

You should stop using Crest whitestrips and contact your dentist if you have pain, redness, bleeding, or other problems that persist.

Who Should Not Use Crest Whitestrips?

Crest whitestrips are not recommended for certain people, including:

  • Children under age 18
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Those with significant gum disease, cavities, or other oral health issues
  • People with allergies to hydrogen peroxide or other ingredients

You should also avoid Crest whitestrips if you have dental restorations like crowns, veneers, or tooth-colored fillings, as the peroxide gel can damage these surfaces. For safer whitening, consult your dentist.

How to Use Crest Whitestrips

Follow these simple steps for effective whitening treatment with Crest strips:

  1. Brush and floss your teeth thoroughly before applying strips.
  2. Make sure teeth are clean and dry. Moisture will reduce whitening effects.
  3. Peel strip from backing and apply to front surface of teeth, avoiding the gums. The whitening gel side should adhere directly to teeth.
  4. Use your fingers to mold strip to the tooth’s shape and smooth out any bubbles.
  5. Repeat process for the upper strips on the opposite arch of teeth.
  6. Leave strips on for the full treatment time as specified on the package.
  7. After the treatment time has elapsed, remove strips and discard.
  8. Rinse mouth thoroughly with water.
  9. Brush teeth to remove any remaining gel residue.

Always check package directions for the exact recommended usage and wear time for the Crest whitestrips product you are using.

Crest Whitestrips vs Professional Whitening

Crest Whitestrips Professional Whitening
– Lower strength peroxide gels – Stronger concentration peroxides
– Wear 30 mins to 1 hour daily – In-office visit for 15-60 minutes
– Gradual lightening over days/weeks – Dramatic results in one visit
– More affordable cost – Higher treatment cost
– Done at home on your schedule – Requires dental office visits
– Moderate sensitivity possible – Higher likelihood of sensitivity
– Generally safe for most people – Customized to your dental condition
– Minimal touch ups needed – Annual touch ups often recommended


For most people, noticeable whitening with Crest strips takes about 14-20 treatments used consistently over 2-4 weeks. However, results can vary based on the type of whitestrips used, individual tooth sensitivity, and starting level of staining. To maximize whitening, follow directions closely, use the strips daily until satisfied with shade, and touch up periodically to maintain brightness.

While Crest whitestrips effectively whiten teeth over time, professional whitening yields faster dramatic results. Discuss the best teeth whitening options with your dentist to achieve your desired outcome with maximum safety.

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