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Last year before our holidays myself and my partner wanted our teeth whitened. We both had quite white teeth as we don't smoke and rarely drink cola, our downfall was drinking a lot of coffee which had lead to slight staining on our teeth. I was looking at getting this done professionally but my friend told me to try the Crest Whitening Strips first. After using a home whitening kit before I was a bit reluctant to try these as my previous kit was a hassle, tasted vile, and had no real effect on my teeth. But she reassured me that these actually work and are very easy to use.
Crest is a global toothcare brand, producing toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc. Although we can buy Crest toothpaste/brushes in the UK, the whitening strips are only available to buy over the counter in America, therefore these have to be ordered online. Type 'crest whitening strips' into google and you will come across hundreds of distributors in the UK. These are available in different strengths including professional effects, vivid, and gentle strips. We chose the professional strips and paid £35.99 for 20 strips. I have looked online today and you can currently pick up 20 strips for around £25, we bought ours in June 2012.
The strips arrived in a blue cardboard box and contained an additional leaflet on how to use the strips. Inside the box were 20 sets of strips, each sealed in an individual blue foil packet. The instuructions show that you need to open the packet, which will contain 2 strips; a longer one for the top teeth, and a slightly smaller one for the bottom teeth. Line the strips up with your teeth, making sure the strip is covering all of the surface of your teeth and fold over the top. Leave for 30 minutes and the remove. Easy.
We went on two summer holidays last year, and decided to use these in the 2 weeks running up to our first holiday. I found the application very easy, it is as simple as the instructions. Peel the strips off the backing. They have a gel attached to them which is a very light blue and tastes slightly minty. Line up with my teeth and fold over. The taste of the gel is not unpleasant compared to previous whitening products I have used. The good thing about these strips is that you can talk (although with a slight lisp) and even drink water whilst using them. They are not uncomfortable to use at all. After around 30 minutes i'd simply pull the strips off. By this time the gel had slightly foamed under the strips. It leaves a slight residue, it advises not to clean your teeth after, but being the hygiene freak I am I had to. We used these every night for 10 days.
I was absolutely amazed by the results, myself and my partner's teeth were very white after using these. After a few days we started noticing a difference in our teeth, any stains we had were removed and we were left with very naturally looking white teeth. I feel when some peope have their teeth whitened they go too far and look like they have fake teeth, but this left a whitening effect which looked very natural, but very white. I never expected them to work this well and we were both very pleased with the result.
It advises you on the packet that you can use a maximum of 2 treatments a year. We have yet to buy another treatment as our teeth are still very white. We use whitening toothpastes and this has helped maintain the bright white colour. If it gets to June this year and I feel I need another course I will definitely be buying these again. They are excellent value for money and provide excellent results.
I have to point out we bought the strongest set of strips, so am not sure if the gentle strips would have the same effect as the professional effects ones.
The only downside to these for me, is that these can make your teeth slightly sensitive after using them. After a few days of using them, there was a slight stinging sensation whilst wearing the strips. I was fine with this but if you already suffer from sensitive teeth this may be something to bear in mind when choosing which strips to buy. This sensitivity lasts a few weeks after using them, but itsn't anything major. I was on holiday 3 days after using them and I was still drinking cold drinks and eating ice cream.
I had these Crest tooth whitening strips recommended to me by a friend who has gorgeous, bright white teeth. My own teeth are fairly white but I wanted to make sure they were as white as possible for being a bridesmaid at my brothers wedding last summer. I did not want to pay for professional whitening as my teeth were not that discoloured.
To my knowledge, these Crest strips are not sold in any shops in the UK. They are made and imported from America, and are therefore available to UK customers online. I actually purchased mine from eBay, however there are other websites which sell and ship these to the UK. They retail at between £40-£50 for a box which contains 20 applications. This can be confusing, as each box contains 20 little sachets. Each sachet has 2 strips in it, one for your upper teeth and one for your lower teeth. The box will be advertised as containing 40 strips, which could easily fool you into thinking you were getting 40 days worth!
The strips themselves are really easy to apply. You open the sachet and you will find a piece of plastic with 2 strips on it. You simply peel these off and apply one to your top row of teeth and one to your bottom row. The strips attach quite securely as they have a sticky substance on them. I found that the strips covered all of my visible teeth well and there was some room left to fold the strips over my teeth and hold them securely in place. You leave these strips on for 30 minutes, during which time it is impossible to eat or drink, and even talking is difficult! I usually apply these when watching TV or reading at night.
The day after applying these strips, I usually find that my teeth are quite sensitive. I do not suffer from sensitive teeth normally, but the day after using these I find very hot/cold foods/drinks difficult to consume. The instructions for use recommend that you use these strips every day for 20 days in a row, but due to the sensitivity they cause I used them every 2-3 days.
After applying these strips every 2-3 days for about 2 weeks (applying 6 times in total) I started to notice results. My teeth were noticeably whiter, especially some of the side ones that are prone to slight yellowing. I then stopped applying these strips and found that the results lasted for a long time. I only decided to get the box out and start using them again this summer before I went on holiday.
Overall I was really pleased with the results of these strips and would definitely recommend them to anyone who wants whiter teeth but cannot afford pricey professional whitening. £40-£50 is reasonably expensive but compared to professional whitening which can cost hundreds, I think these are a good alternative. I didn't use the full course and still noticed good results. As I do not have very discoloured teeth, I would not be able to comment on the effect of these on such teeth, however I imagine they would work.
The only downside for me is the sensitivity these caused, as it did put me off eating and drinking the day after. For this reason I will take one star off.
Thanks for reading/rating and I hope you found my review useful.
I my never ending attempts to get a more attractive smile, I have invested (twice now) in a box of Crest Whitening Strips. I first used these about six moths ago and I bought them directly from the manufacturer, online. They cost me a touch off £40, which is a massive amount of money. We got two boxes, one for me and one for my dear other half. Then I started to get inundated with emails a while ago, trying to 'persuade me' to buy more, but I am told you're not supposed to use these things more often than 6 months anyway. This time they sent me an 'incentive' of 5% discount if I ordered within the next few weeks. Well, how could I resist and offer like that? I saved about two quid, not a fortune, but better than nowt, as they say!
The ones I bought for me and the wife are the Crest Advanced 3D Professional Effects whitening strips, which are actually different to the other Crest whitening strips you can buy. Some are better and considerably cheaper than others. Some stick better to the teeth and the cheaper ones just roll right off and are a complete waste of money. A member of my family has also used these Whitening Strips, but they were NOT the Professional Effects ones, these are certainly better than the cheaper Vivid ones she used, which do NOT stick to the teeth at all well.
For my money I received a box (as did my wife) of two week's supply of strips. One for the top gnashers and one for the bottom. They are all individually wrapped and you just take them out of their sealed wrapper and use them once a day over both sets of teeth for 30 minutes. You can eat and drink and talk (just about) with these little strips stuck to your teeth, though personally I prefer to just sit there. The best time to use them is when I am sitting on the loo reading the Argos catalogue, or lying in the bath. I don't like to talk when I have them on or answer the phone, as it sounds like I have a speech impediment, and I sound slightly insane.
The pack says you can see a difference in three days. My other half does seem to have a better reaction to these strips than I do, I must admit. I reckon I can see her glow in the dark teeth a lot sooner than mine but I think she just had more badly stained and yellowing teeth than I did anyway, so I would expect to see a greater improvement than with mine.
I don't really like the sensation of these on my teeth and I am glad when the 30 minutes are up and I can peel them off. They adhere so well that sometimes they can be a little hard to get off and my wife panics every now and again and she has to lie back on the sofa and let me gently rip them off her teeth for her. Also, they leave a slightly strange film on the teeth for a little while after I have taken them off but there is no bitter taste of bleach.
They do contain a small amount of peroxide however, they are not meant to cause any damage to the enamel at all. I have been using this second lot now for around a week or so and there is a slight improvement to the shade of my teeth, so I guess they are working to a degree. My other half however, appears to have much better looking teeth than she did before (however, they were pretty grim looking to begin with).
Overall I am more than satisfied with these professional Effects 3D whitening strips. Yes, they are a lot of money but I will keep on using them. I am told they are cheaper to buy from the States and so next time we go out there I will be nabbing myself a fair few boxes to bring back with me.
I have been a Crest product user for many years. I swear by their toothpaste, mouthwash and dental floss so when I first came across these Crest 3D white strips I just had to have them! They can be a bit fiddly to get on to your teeth, and have to tucked under the front of your teeth to ensure full coverage. I was expecting blinding and amazing results as I have been so impressed with their other dental products, but sadly, I was VERY disappointed. My teeth were EXACTLY the same colour as before and in stead of whitening my teeth, they caused serious sensitivity and PAIN! I felt as though I had the most sensitive teeth in the world, and please be aware that I had never had any sensitivity before using this product. I had to stock up on paracetamol and trot off to bed. I know not everyone will have the same experience I had, but I thought I should let everyone know what may happen. It's safe to say I will not purchase these again.
I got these white strips while on a trip to New York recently having read so much about them online.
I was slightly sceptical at first, and a bit worried too that they might hurt my sensitive teeth. However, I was very impressed with the results!
They come as a small thin strip stuck on a piece of clear plastic which you peel off and then stick to the surface of your teeth. There is one strip for the top and another for the bottom. You then leave them to work their magic for the specified time.
After using the first strip there wasn't really much difference to the whiteness of my teeth, but by the third or fourth use (you use them daily) I could really see a change, and family members even started to notice.
By the end of the course my teeth were very white, and I didn't notice any discomfort or tooth sensitivity at all, and my teeth are usually extremely sensitive and I have weak enamel too.
Overall I would definitley recommend these. The only minor downside is that they are quite hard to get hold of in the UK. If you can track them down though, they are well worth it!
These whitening strips have been an all time favorite for me and my family for years. We have gone to dentist after dentist trying to get our white teeth pearly white but they always told us they could not get them whiter than they already were. The reason I purchased these in such a hurry this time was because we had family photos in two weeks and we needed everything perfect. And if the dentist couldn't do we had to turn to our favorite whitening strips. In about three days, no kidding my husband's teeth were whiter. In about five days my teenager's teeth were noticably whiter. Though, I was the last one my teeth ended up getting whiter in a week in a half. The one thing I hate is, it gets messy at times. I give this product and company a two thumbs up! This will stay in the family!
I have been a regular user of Crest White Strips for a few years now. A friend recommended them to me as a safe and effective way to whiten my teeth so I ordered some online and I have never looked back. I first discovered 3D White Strips when I was in America last year.
Crest 3D White Strips
Crest is a dental health care company which has been around for more than 50 years and is very well known. I have grown up using products from the Crest company therefore when I first heard about their White Strips I felt confident that they were safe to use and that they would be effective. There are quite a few versions of these White Strips, the 3D ones being the most recent to be developed. In the past I have tried nearly all of them however none of them have the same results as these 3D Strips, they really are the best you can get for a sparkling white smile.
A pack of these White Strips will include individual foil pouches which include the Strips. There are 2 strips for one treatment, one for the upper teeth and one for the lower teeth. Each pack is a series of treatments, for example you can get different packs for a longer or shorter treatment. It is important that you use the strips as it is instructed to and to read all the instructions carefully before use.
How do they work and are they safe?
It is a concern with products like these may not be safe to use and may cause damage to your teeth. However, these strips are formulated to be safe and kind to your teeth when they are used as instructed. I have been using these strips for a long time and I have never had any problems neither have they caused my teeth any damage, however everyone is different. If you leave the strips on for longer than what is recommended some discomfort can be felt. For example your teeth may feel more sensitive or white spots may appear on your gums (these will soon fade).
The strips are coated in a gel which contains peroxide and whitens teeth. According to Crest this is the same ingredient used by dentists. The strips hold the gel in place so that it can attack stain build up under the tooth enamel and therefore whitening the colour of your teeth. Crest say that you can see results after 3 days of using the strips.
You can learn more about the science of teeth whitening at the following link:
How to Use
The strips are very simple to use. You place them on your upper and lower teeth and then simply wait for half an hour for them to work. They are great to wear when doing the house work, having a bath or watching the television, in fact, you can wear them anywhere at any time. The time in which you should leave the strips on for and how often you should use them varies from pack to pack so it is important to pay attention to the instructions.
Where can I buy them?
Currently you can not buy these White Strips in the UK. I used to buy them off UK sellers on eBay however this is not possible anymore for reasons which I don't know. I currently still use eBay to buy them however I order them from American sellers. There are other websites which sell these strips which specialize in dental products however I find these websites to be very pricey and the postage and packing is quite high.
The average price for a pack of these 3D White Strips on eBay is $30-$40.
Personally I think that these White Strips are amazing. However I am biased as I am a regular user. I use these strips to keep my teeth white and I can definitely say that they work. I do not always use the strips day after day, sometimes I will leave a few days or a week between use however I can still see the effects regardless. The strips really have improved the condition of my teeth, they are so much whiter than when I didn't use them and they are a lot shinier.
If you have sensitive teeth or if you have never used a product like this before then I would recommend using them with caution as they can make your teeth feel rather sensitive, even if it is only for a short amount of time.
Are they good value for money? Definitely. I have never come across another teeth whitening product which is as effective as this. You really can see the results very quickly and the effects are long lasting. I will definitely continue to use these strips and would recommend them to anyone looking for a brighter smile.
Thank you for reading!
Review also on ciao under luceey.
I heard about these and just had the try them, the promises sounded just great, only problem was, they are not sold in the uk....no matter, a quick visit to ebid (ebid was cheaper than ebay when i looked, shopping around is well worth doing) i picked them up for just over £20...with free post and packaging. This stuff is enamel safe and dentist recommended so nothing to worry about there.
About the product...
This kit is a 20 day treatment kit, which promises high results. The claims are that, as the name of this product would suggest, you will get a professional level of whitening, and you will see results in just 3 days, even for teeth that are very dark yellow or brown. The kit contains 20 pouches, each pouch has two strips, one for you top set of teeth, one for the bottom, the instructions state to use them once a day for half an hour.
how easy were they to use?...
These were very simple to use, i tended to put them on before brushing my teeth in the evenings, you can still drink water with these on but nothing else. They did not slip, and once peeled from the plastic (agian, easily done) it was easy to see which way around they went, and which were for your top and bottom teeth, the half hour seemed no hassle, its easy to fit it in to my everyday life, i read for a bit before bed most nights, and this is when i used these, no hassle.
I did not start to see results after 3 days, but i did after about a week, and after 2 weeks it was a very noticeable difference, my teeth had never been so white. I didn't feel i had to use the last 5 or 6 pouches, and did so just because i always feel its best to follow the instructions given. I had many comments on the whiteness of my teeth, and i was very surprised that an at home whitening kit could achieve such results, i just loved these, and found myself smiling where ever i was, just to show off my new white teeth. My teeth were not too bad before, they were a dull cream colour, maybe a hint of yellow, and after using these as instructed they were a nice white colour, but not like a Hollywood bright white, but a nice white...the perfect kind of white.
It worked wonders for me, but as i have already said, my teeth were not too bad to begin with, the effect was exactly what i wanted, but if you were wanting more of a Hollywood white, this kit will stop just short of that, but for the price difference i would say this kit is a great idea.
would i buy again?...
well, while i loved this product it wasn't without its bad points, after using these for just over a week it started to make my teeth rather sensitive, my teeth are not prone to sensitivity and they began to ache rather a lot by the end of the second week, the ache was irritating and a little painful, but nothing too terrible, not nearly enough to make me stop using them when the effects were so wonderful. I used these nearly 8 months ago now, and the effects have started to dull down, i will probablty buy another one again at some point, possibly make it a yearly thing. I was a tad disapointed when the effects started to dull down, however it is not meant to last for ever, and for the sake of £20 its well worth if for more than 6 months of a perfect smile. A product i now swear by, telling everyone about it who comments on my smile. Worth the slight discomfort, and well worth the money, i recommend this product to anyone who wants a whiter smile, this is by far the best home whitening kit i have ever used, it may not be for everyone, but it was certainly for me.
Perhaps inspired by my recent trip to the USA, I decided that my teeth needed to be whiter. Not glow-in-the-dark, blindingly white, but glossier all the same. True to form, I met a number of people on my trip that had shockingly shimmering teeth, and upon enquiring discovered that Crest 3D Whitestrips were exceedingly popular. So I jumped feet first into the world of reflective teeth.
-----WHAT ON EARTH ARE WHITESTRIPS?-----
Essentially, Crest 3D Whitestrips are plastic strips that you stick on your teeth for 20 to 30 minutes, you whip them off, and voila! Whiter teeth! Or at least that's the theory. Realistically you need to use them every day for 1-2 weeks (depending on how stained your teeth are initially) to make them abnormally white, as they gradually remove the stains from your teeth. Although to be honest, if you don't want crazy sparkly teeth, you do not have to use them all that often and just stop when you've reached your desired shade. I personally use them once or twice a week as the results are so good.
-----WHAT'S IN THEM AND HOW DO THEY WORK?-----
Let me start by saying that I am not going to give you a description with loads of fancy medical terms. Essentially, the strips are covered in a gel that contains peroxide, and it is this ingredient that removes the yellow staining on and in your teeth. According to the Crest website, this is the same ingredient used in professional dentistry. This is safe for your tooth enamel, but it only whitens natural teeth. Obviously, do not use this product if you are allergic to peroxide.
-----APPLYING THE WHITESTRIPS-----
You get a pair of strips in a little packet that are stuck to the same piece of plastic, one for your upper teeth and one for your lower. I personally dab a towel to my teeth first, in an attempt to dry them somewhat, but this is not necessary. I was doubtful at first but they actually do fix themselves to your teeth and as long as you're good, (meaning no eating while you have them on!) they will stay in place and not rub around. The strips are stronger and more durable than they look.
Do not brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste beforehand!
1. Peel off one strip and place the side with the gel along your teeth.
2. Once you have applied it, fold the strip over the back of your teeth to keep it in place.
3. With the front of your finger, gently press the strip down onto the surfaces of your individual teeth.
4. Repeat with the next strip.
5. Leave the strips on for 20 to 30 minutes, no longer!*
6. The strips are easy to remove and a light brushing with your toothbrush, WITH NO TOOTHPASTE ON IT, after the strips have been taken off will remove any excess gel.
7. For the next 2 hours, your teeth will be porous and it is advisable not to eat or drink anything that will stain your teeth, such as tea, coffee, wine or cranberry juice.
*This length of time is stated for Crest 3D White Whitestrips Professional Effects only. Crest does offer other products in their range for differing lengths of time, from 5 minutes to 2 hours.
Remember, the strip for the top of your teeth is longer than the one for the bottom of your teeth! The strips are long enough to cover the teeth that are on show when you open your mouth to talk or smile. They do not cover the very back of your teeth that nobody can see anyways.
It is important to note that the gel on the strips can cause some sensitivity. In my case, I have one pesky tooth in particular where my gum has receded somewhat, and it did cause a little bit of pain. Nothing unbearable, just uncomfortable. Paranoid, I had a look at the Crest website online and apparently this is completely normal, but I would advise to try and avoid your gum area if you can. The pain completely disappeared after I removed the strips.
Once you have applied a strip, take a toothpick and gently press in between the ridges of your teeth to ensure maximum coverage. The last thing you want is to only have the very fronts of your teeth a different colour from the sides! If you don't have a toothpick, your fingernail should suffice. This is very easy to do.
Another good piece of advice is if you do have areas which are prone to sensitivity, such as receding gums, a tiny dab of Sensodyne toothpaste on that area will help to protect it before you apply the strip on your teeth.
I have to say that I am incredibly impressed. I genuinely did not think that they would work as well as they do, and trust me, I am a coffee-drinking, wine-drinking, and generally indulgent kind of girl in all those lovely teeth-staining activities. Yet even after the first time I used the strips my teeth were significantly whiter. However, multiple uses are generally required, but this is dependent entirely on your own teeth and how white you want your teeth to be. I have found that one box of 20 pairs generally lasts me anywhere between 3 and 6 months. Overall, I highly recommend this product.
-----WHAT'S WRONG WITH THEM?-----
It is important to know that these strips only work with yellow stains on your teeth. They do not work with grey stains, false teeth, crowns, dentures or veneers. Additionally, they will not keep your teeth white forever. It goes without saying that people who eat and drink foods that are darker, and people who smoke, will experience teeth darkening faster than those who don't. Crest do however have a huge range of products in the 3D Whitening range, including toothpaste and mouthwash, that will help prevent staining. And, as I mentioned before, the strips themselves can cause sensitivity whilst they are on your teeth but this is normal and does go away. For extreme users, however, a slight increase in sensitivity can occur after a long period of time. Crest have come up with an answer to this problem by releasing their Crest 3D Whitestrips Gentle Routine, which you use for 5 minutes a day instead of 30, with lower levels of peroxide in the gel.
-----WHAT'S GOOD ABOUT THEM?-----
I don't know where to begin! Personally, I love them. They genuinely do work and they are a lot cheaper than a dentist! I really like that you have control over how white your teeth become; once you have reached your desired shade you just stop using them. They are also ridiculously easy to use, and only take a half hour of your time. The strips grip well to your teeth and as they do not cover the back of your teeth, you don't feel like you want to gag when you have them in. In addition, the peroxide gel is safe for your tooth enamel and does not damage your teeth, although long-term usage can result in slightly higher levels of sensitivity.
-----WHERE CAN I BUY THEM?-----
Unfortunately, the Crest 3D Whitening Range is not near as available in the UK as it is in the USA. However, you can buy them online at http://crest3dteethwhiteningstrips.co.uk. Currently they sell six products in the Crest 3D Range, and the Professional Effects reviewed here are available for £37.95 for 20 pairs of strips, with an additional £2.99 for shipping. http://www.agestop.net is another good site that offers you increasing discounts with the more boxes that you purchase. It may seem a little pricey but the results are fantastic and last for absolutely ages.
Overall, this is an absolutely fantastic product that is, according to Crest, available to anyone with natural teeth. I can't recommend this product enough. Thank you for reading my review.
~Me and My Pearly Whites~
I'm not keen on people making personal comments about my appearance. I've never been good at taking a compliment but I've learned to deal with getting a lot of good feedback about my teeth. I know that sounds a bit weird but clearly my teeth are so comment-worthy that even the natural reserve of the British falls aside when I beam a big grin at the unwary. Recently two completely unconnected friends made comments on my teeth - one saying she thought I must have got a tan because my teeth were looking even whiter than normal and the other asking me to sit with the sun behind me because I was dazzling her. Yep, weird but true. In neither case did the person commenting know that I'd been back on the Crest Whitestrips - so even though I can't see much difference, clearly other people can.
I think every review writer knows what their most 'read' or 'hit upon' review is on each site they use. In my case over seventeen thousand people have seen the review I wrote on the standard strips about 5 years ago. Times change - everyone knows them now it seems - I doubt 170 will ever find this one but the product has changed so much that it's time to give the 2011 review on the updated product. In this case it's the Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitening Strips.
~USA versus Europe~
I've been using Crest whitening strips since they first hit the US market about 10 years ago and in the years since launch, I have tried many different versions of their strips and seen them evolve into a whole range of slightly different products. I used to get American colleagues to send them over and the product I'm reviewing this time was brought back from the UK last year by a UK-based American friend. I hadn't specified exactly what type I wanted, but luck would have it that the best of the various options was the one on special offer and the one she brought back for me for little over $20 which was pretty amazing given that the list price is $55.
When I started using them Crest whitening strips could not legally be sold in Europe because the level of peroxide in the product exceeded the European legislative limits. Someone once explained to me that legislation on a lot of products is much 'looser' in the USA because of the private healthcare system. In short, if the manufacturer of a product messes up your health, it's not the government that has to pay to put you right again. However, after working in the field of toothpaste ingredients for nearly 13 years, I wouldn't use these if I didn't believe them to be safe - legislation or no legislation.
Early Euro-versions of the product looked and felt like the original American strips but were dumbed down to such low levels of peroxide that they were pretty much useless. I've been out of the toothpaste ingredients industry for 7 years now so I'm not sure where the legislative levels sit today but I would recommend that it's always best to try to get the original American product unless you can find a guaranteed indication of the peroxide level in the product. I've been on the European websites trying to find out what the peroxide levels are and, in contrast the the US where it's all very open and up front, the info is not to be easily found. I'm not saying it's impossible, just that I've not succeeded yet.
Firstly let me say that based on experience and scientific evidence I don't believe that there are any safe and effective whitening toothpastes which really do what they claim. I've worked with labs that have tested them and the best you can hope for is some limited chemical stain removal or a harsh abrasive effect. Remember the old Jif adverts with the skates scratching the ice rink? That's the sort of thing I mean.
Plenty of whitening systems existed before Crest introduced their whitestrips, especially in the USA. Most were of the 'gum shield and bleaching gel' format and I would strongly advise people to stay away from these. The lack of control with such a system is a big problem and it's very difficult to ensure that the bleaching agent goes only on the teeth and not all over your gums. They also make you gag, but that's a different issue. If you have a lot of money to spare, there are dentist and beautician systems using extra strong bleaches or laser light. Aside from being very expensive, they are also less controllable. I recall hearing Jonathon Ross on the radio describing how his wife Jane had a horrible reaction to a lase treatment. Whilst these 'professional' systems are fast, you have limited ability to control how much whitening you get or the pain that might come with it.
Whitening strips offered the first safe, effective and easy to use whitening system that consumers could use at home without too much risk and they took the market by storm. At last people could take control of their teeth whitening and not pay a fortune for the privilege. For a while they were rather trendy and I remember being in a meeting where a colleague turned up lisping away with these on her teeth. We all looked at her like she was bonkers, but she did it anyway. The early products had a lot of faults. Firstly the plastic strips were very soft and they didn't stay in place well. This meant you could barely speak with them on for fear of dislodging the strips, the bleaching gel tending to escape from under the strip giving you a really unpleasant taste in the mouth and if you were unfortunate enough to sneeze, they would fall off - especially the top ones.
~So What Are Whitestrips?~
Whitestrips are thin pieces of flexible transparent plastic with a peroxide gel dotted onto one side of the plastic. They come in a foil packet which has slits at either end so you can - in theory - easily remove the strips. In reality, the slits seldom rip cleanly and it's not a bad idea to have a pair of scissors on stand-by or to warn those around you to expect bad language. You peel them off the backing plastic and apply the strips to your teeth, generally whilst looking in a mirror because you want to take care that the strip ends at the gum line and doesn't cover your gums. It's best to keep the gel off your gums as much as possible.
Push the strip onto the tooth surfaces and then since the strip is wider than the length of your teeth (unless you have real Bugs Bunny teeth) just fold the excess over the end of the teeth - it's like applying a Band-Aid. I would recommend to apply the bottom strip first and then do the top one but it's up to you if you find it works OK the other way round. Once in place, you just leave them in on for 30 minutes then peel them off, rinse your teeth and mouth with water and get on with your life.
There are multiple different versions of the Crest Whitestrips but all work to this same basic method of use.
~Why so many different versions?~
I really don't know why there are so many types, other than the US consumer LOVES choice and it enables Proctor and Gamble to provide product at multiple price points using different levels of convenience and different dosage of the active ingredient. The 3D White range includes three different types of strips - named 'Vivid', 'Advanced Vivid' and 'Professional Effects' - this review covers the third of these but it makes sense to set them in the context of the others in the 3D White family. The whitening level is different for each - Vivid is level one, Advanced is level two and the Professional Effects is level 3, the highest. I believe the range is from 6 up to 10% of peroxide. Each type is recommended for use once a day and with the level 2 and level 3, they suggest you should start to see effects after 3 days. Since I use a box every couple of years, I don't notice much difference because I'm only topping up already pretty white teeth. However, as I mentioned earlier, other people certainly do notice and comment.
Advanced and Professional Effects are based on the 'Advanced Seal Technology' which is a giant leap forward compared to the old product which tended to fall off really easily. Advanced Seal is easier to apply, fits more firmly, and won't slide off. These strips 'leak' less in use too so you can avoid the bleachy taste in your mouth and after you remove the strip, the gooey stuff tends to stay stuck to the teeth rather than spreading around your mouth. I tend to rince with water and run my electric toothbrush over the surface of my teeth to remove any residue unless I'm having one of those days when I wear them in the car on the way to work, in which case I remove it with spit and a tissue.
According to my box, Professional Effects also has a redesigned bottom strip - basically it's no longer in the old T-shape which original products had. Supposedly it gives more whitening coverage, and it does seem longer than I remember the old ones being. All three of the 3-D options are designed for daily use which is a big advantage over the old ones that needed twice a day use. Keep in mind that you don't HAVE to use them every day. A box of 20 like the one I have will probably take me about 3 to 4 months to use up because I don't use them every day. The manufacturers suggest you can use up to two boxes per year.
~Things you need to know~
Reading the small print is important but there aren't too many things to watch out for. Firstly all of the strips only work on natural teeth - if you have a crown, they will not have any impact on the colour of that. If you've got a crown that was created to match your not-so-white natural teeth, you might want to think about whether to bleach or not. It could just make your crown look more artificial.
Secondly some people - myself included - do find their teeth get sensitised in use. This is why I mentioned about that a box will last me several months. As soon as I notice that my teeth start to ache or feel more sensitive, I stop for two or three weeks until I'm sure the sensitivity has passed before I have another go. More often than not I don't complete the box because I don't want to blind passers by who've forgotten their sunglasses (and I'm lazy and rubbish at sticking to just about any kind of regime). If it's your first time though, try to get through the whole box, just space them out if you need to. Alternatively, if you have a bigger problem with sensitivity, Crest also offer a product called 'Crest 3D White Whitestrips Gentle Routine' which is formulated for sensitive teeth and used for only 5 minutes a day.
It's also worth remembering that not all stains are created equal and the strips work better if your teeth are not horribly discoloured by decades of smoking, tea drinking and red wine. I'm not saying they won't work - they most likely will - but you can't wipe that all off overnight. It makes good sense to avoid things that you know are likely to cause a lot of stains. Like your kitchen surfaces, it's better to keep things clean than to let the dirt and stains build up. Since the manufacturers know that lots of people will be back on the staining products right after whitening, they also make a 5 minute a day strip called 'stain shield' which is supposed to prevent build up of new stain. There are also medical conditions that discolour teeth and if you're aware that your teeth are discoloured for such reasons, I'd suggest to have a chat with your dentist before you try the product.
~Talking of Dentists~
I've had four or 5 different dentists and several hygienists work on my teeth in the last 7 years. Most have commented on what a lovely colour they are - none have ever asked if I'd artificially whitened them. On that basis, I think the effect can be said to be pretty natural. I'd expect a dental professional to spot a smile that was too fake and certainly to tell me if I'd done any damage. Another bonus from using these products is that your teeth are left feeling extraordinarily smooth - wet your finger and run it across the teeth and they really do squeak.
I just checked on the US Amazon site where these are listed and it looks like they won't mail to a UK address - probably for the legislative reasons I mentioned earlier. The best way to get these remains begging and cajoling friends to get them for you and send them over.