How Crest White Strips Work
Whitening strips are small pieces of a flexible plastic called polyethylene. Each flexible strip is coated in a whitening gel that contains hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
You take each strip and mold it around your teeth — one strip for the top, and one strip for the bottom. The peroxide gel in the strips is now held up against the teeth, so it can seep into the teeth to lighten them.
Problems with White Strips
Gum damage: The chemical reaction that occurs to whiten your teeth can damage the gums. This is why it’s essential to make sure that whitening strips never touch your gums. This is hard to do, but it’s possible. Try cutting the strips so they don’t overlap with or touch your gums — the strips should touch only your teeth.
Yellow spots: Strips are one dimensional, but teeth are three dimensional. This creates a problem when it comes to getting results you like. Strips don’t get into the in-between spaces or the curved bottoms of teeth, so you often get an effect where the center of the tooth is white, but at the edges where the tooth curves, it’s yellow or gray. These yellow spots become more pronounced with white strips because the color difference becomes greater.
Tooth damage: When a dentist isn’t there to monitor whitening treatment, I get a little nervous. It is possible to overdo it and damage your teeth. Teeth aren’t like hair and nails that you can color. When teeth lose their function, all hell can start to break lose. Making mistakes with strips could cause you shooting tooth pain or make you sensitive to your favorite foods. See your dentist every six months for regular check-ups. Make sure you don’t have any cavities or gum disease before you start using strips.
Have you used whitening strips? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. What was your experience? What advice would you share with others?
Mark Burhenne DDS