Pros: whitens teeth
Cons: hurts like hell, expensive, results don't last
Talking to strangers on the street, eating an apple, living my life without constant teeth pain. These are three of my favorite things that I could not do during the hellish week that I used Crest Whitestrips. Actually, I still have three or four strips left because I just couldn't deal with the pain anymore.
Crest Whitestrips work, but, man, do you ever pay a price for having sparkling white teeth. By the last day that I was using the whitestrips, my teeth were hurting so much that I was almost in tears. I bought some Orajel, which is supposed to numb your gums, but it didn't really help. It was a Friday night, so I went to the bar and drank some whiskey and vodka instead. That worked better. And the pain was gone the next day. (Hmm... this review is very appropriate for St. Patty's Day...)
The packaging warns that you may experience "sensitivity," but "sensitivity" does not begin to describe the pain that I felt in my teeth and gums from using Crest Whitestrips. I had used the 14 day version in the past, and it wasn't quite as bad. The Premium kind has twice the whitening power and causes twice the pain.
My teeth aren't horrible, but they could certainly be whiter. I drink one cup of coffee per day, but I don't smoke. About a year ago, I had some success with the 14-day Crest Whitestrips, and I had a $5-off coupon for the Premium ones, so I decided to upgrade. My gym had a promotion to get UV teeth whitening for about $125, which I did a couple of months ago. That did not cause any sensitivity, but it didn't work very well either. So, I decided to go back to the Crest White Strips.
Using the White Strips
Crest White Strips come in a package with 14 pairs of strips. You are supposed to apply them twice a day, for 30 minutes at a time, for seven days. Each foil packet comes with a strip for your top teeth and a strip for your bottom teeth. It takes a little bit of practice to get them to stay in place. You have to fold them over the top of your teeth to the back, and they have the tendency to slide around. They are not very adhesive, so I found that I couldn't talk with them on because they would shift around too much. Also, they are very flimsy. I was expecting them to be made of a stiffer material. The strips are clear, but they aren't invisible, so I felt self-conscious wearing them in public. But the most convenient time for me to use them was during my commute to work on the bus and the subway. It was awkward when I would run into my co-workers, or the bus driver would say hi to me and I would just mumble.
The pain started on the first day that I started using the white strips. It got a little better after a while, but then it got worse again. As the package indicated, I tried using the strips only once per day, but this didn't help. Luckily, the pain went away within 24 hours of stopping using the white strips. I have also started using special toothpaste for sensitive teeth (bought at the same time as the Orajel), so that could help. Now that my teeth are back to normal, I am tempted to finish using the packet of white strips because they do work (more on this later), but maybe I'm just a masochist. It is possible that I left them on for too long because I got distracted watching TV and I didn't want to take them off in public on the subway when the 30 minutes were up.
As I said, the Crest White Strips work better than the more expensive whitening service that I had done at my gym. After just a couple of days, my teeth looked significantly whiter. However, the results don't last. I drink a cup of coffee every day, and after two weeks, my teeth are back to about the shade they were before I started using the white strips.
So, if you don't experience sensitivity (not everyone does), this product is great. $35 may sound like a lot, but it really makes a difference and works as well (if not better) than professional products that cost more.