How Long To Leave Whitening Strips & Gels On Teeth

white teeth

If you’re like the thousands of people who have used whitening strips to whiten your teeth, you probably wonder if I leave my strips on longer, will my teeth whiten faster?  or How long can I leave white strips on my teeth?

Here’s what you need to know: how long to keep whitening strips on your teeth depends on the concentration and type of gel in that specific line of product. It doesn’t matter which whitening brand it is. Every company, whether it’s BURST, Crest, Zoom, Opalescence, etc — has varying levels of whitening gel concentration. It’s extremely important that you follow the specific product’s instructions even if you’ve used a whitening strip under the same brand name in the past. They could be completely different. And if you don’t do it right, you’ll really regret it later.

Time & Peroxide Concentration 

How long can you leave whitening strips on your teeth? Does the duration of whitening strips time on teeth affect your results? Always follow manufacturer’s directions on each specific line of whitening strips you’re using. Even if it’s the same brand, the concentration of gel (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide) affects how long you can safely wear the strips. Wearing them too long or taking them off too soon can lead to significant side effects or poor results.[1]

Over The Counter Whitening Systems

BURST Whitening Strips6% Hydrogen Peroxide. Available online or from your dental provider. Wear 10-15 minutes once a day.

Colgate Optic White Professional Take-home Kit — Available for direct purchase through your dentist’s office or online. 9% Hydrogen Peroxide.  Apply for 30 minutes once a day.

Colgate Optic White Overnight Teeth Whitening Pen — Purchase online or in stores. Apply the 3% Hydrogen Peroxide gel pen once nightly.

Crest 3D White Whitestrips — Available online or in stores. Apply for 30 minutes once a day. Uses unknown Hydrogen Peroxide percentage.

 

Whitening Systems Available At Your Dentist’s Office

Opalescence Whitening Gel 

 Available in Hydrogen Peroxide and Carbamide Peroxide. Available for direct purchase through your dentist’s office.

  • Opalescence PF - 10% and 15% Carbamide Peroxide (4-6 hours or overnight)
  • Opalescence Go 10% -  10% Hydrogen Peroxide (wear 30–60 minutes )
  • Opalescence Go 15%  -  15% Hydrogen Peroxide (wear 15–20 minutes )
  • Opalescence Boost - 40% Hydrogen Peroxide (single visit, in-office treatment. About one hour.)

Philips Zoom Whitening

 20-25% Hydrogen Peroxide. A same-day in-office teeth whitening treatment that’s completed in about an hour.

Take-home Kits:

Philips Zoom Whitening DayWhite ACP

  • 9.5% Hydrogen Peroxide.  Apply for  30-60 minutes per day.
  • 14% Hydrogen Peroxide.  Apply for  30 minutes per day.

Philips Zoom Whitening NiteWhite ACP

  • 10% Carbamide Peroxide.  Apply for 2-4 hours
  • 16% Carbamide Peroxide.  Apply for 2-4 hours
  • 22% Carbamide Peroxide.  Apply for 2-4 hours

BURST Whitening Strips 

BURST is best known for its gentle electric toothbrush system and auto-refills on toothbrush heads that arrive straight to your mailbox every three months. But they also provide a tasty whitening strips system that’s packed with natural ingredients.

Type of Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide is delivered in a set of one-week worth of whitening strips.

Concentration Percentage and Length of Time on Teeth

BURST uses 6% Hydrogen Peroxide with a recommended whitening strips time on teeth of only 10 minutes per day (7 days total.) The shorter application time is quick enough to fit into anybody’s busy schedule!

Colgate Whitening Systems 

Colgate Optic White Teeth Whitening Kit With LED Blue Light Tray 

Rechargeable tray uses an LED teeth whitening light with blue light technology to activate hydrogen peroxide and remove up to 10 years of stains

Type of Peroxide

9% Hydrogen peroxide delivered via gel serum

Concentration Percentage and Length of Time on Teeth

The Colgate Optic White Advanced LED Whitening uses 9% Hydrogen Peroxide,  using a LED light tray. The kit comes with a 10 day supply of whitening serums with refills available.

Colgate Optic White Overnight Teeth Whitening Pen

Always trying to remember how long you can leave white strips on your teeth? Don’t like using strips or trays at all? A whitening pen lets you directly apply the whitening gel to the teeth in your smile zone and then go straight to sleep.  

Type of Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide delivered via a handheld, brush-tipped pen. Instead of wondering how long you can leave white strips on, the pen creates a thin film on your teeth that you can brush away the next morning.

Concentration Percentage and Length of Time on Teeth

The Colgate Optic White Overnight teeth whitening pen uses 3% Hydrogen Peroxide, making it safe enough to apply on your own and sleep with it on your teeth overnight. It’s meant to use nightly for up to one week.

Crest Whitening Systems 

Crest 3D Whitestrips

Crest whitening systems do not disclose the concentration of Hydrogen Peroxide on their packaging materials. Available in lines like Glamorous White, Vivid White, and Brilliance White, Crest Whitestrips.

Type of Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide is the key whitening ingredient in most standard Crest whitening strips. But how long you can leave white strips on and the whitening strips time on teeth will be what impact their efficacy the most.

Concentration Percentage and Length of Time on Teeth

  • Glamorous White - Remove up to 10 years of stain with one kit. Strips contain Hydrogen Peroxide and are worn for 30 minutes per day for 14 days.
  • Vivid White - Crest Classic Vivid White uses Hydrogen Peroxide to remove up to 5 years of stain. Wear the strips for 30 minutes for 10 days in a row.
  • Brilliance White - Unknown concentration of Hydrogen Peroxide, worn 30 minutes per day. Crest says for best results to use the full kit (there are 16 treatments, putting it at just over two weeks).


Crest 3D Whitestrips Sensitive

If you’re someone who tends to have fairly sensitive teeth, some teeth whitening gels can amplify the sensitivity. Plus, how long you can leave white strips on (which tends to be shorter) affects the outcome of your whitening experience. That’s why Crest 3D came out with specific product lines designed specifically for people who have sensitive teeth: Sensitive White, Vivid White Gentle, and Sensitive.

Type of Peroxide

These sensitivity-formulated whitening strips use Hydrogen Peroxide, which tends to be one of the effective yet gentler types of gels for effective teeth whitening if used in lower concentrations.

Concentration Percentage and Length of Time on Teeth

  • Sensitive White - Once a day for 30 minutes.
  • Vivid White Gentle - Once a day for 30 minutes.
  • Crest 3D Sensitive - Once a day for 30 minutes.

Crest Gentle whitening systems doesn’t disclose the concentration of Hydrogen Peroxide on their packaging materials. But since it’s the same type of peroxide and wear time compared to their mainstream strips, it’s safe to assume that a much lower strength of the gel is being used.[2]

In-Office Teeth Whitening

Opalescence Whitening Systems  

Don’t want to mess with whitening strips time on teeth? You can get professional whitening trays made by your dentist and use a concentrated gel called Opalescence (one of the more popular whitening gel brands.) Opalescence also makes a pre-loaded tray in lieu of messy strips, but you still have to buy it at your dentist’s office. They also have a same day teeth whitening system that you can complete in under an hour.

Type of Peroxide

Opalescence offers both Hydrogen Peroxide and Carbamide Peroxide whitening gels, allowing you to customize your experience to your lifestyle.

Concentration Percentage and Length of Time on Teeth  

  • Opalescence PF 10% and 15% Carbamide peroxide (4-6 hours or overnight)
  • Opalescence 10% Carbamide Peroxide. 8-10 hours per day, or overnight.
  • Opalescence 16% Carbamide Peroxide. 4-6 hours per day.
  • Opalescence Boost In-Office 40% Hydrogen Peroxide (Dentist-administered only; 40 minutes total.)


Philips Zoom Whitening

Zoom offers a line of whitening products (including take-home professional gel) but it’s best known for its same-day whitening treatment performed in the dental office. If you don’t want to mess with whitening strips time on teeth, then you can schedule an appointment with your dentist and walk out with instantly whiter teeth.

Type of Peroxide

Zoom in-office uses Hydrogen Peroxide, as it responds best to the novel dental whitening lamp. The light-catalyzed peroxide gel provides ample oxidation, which safely breaks apart and lifts deep stain particles.  

Concentration Percentage and Length of Time on Teeth

•    Zoom 20-25% Hydrogen Peroxide is applied in 15-minute cycles for a recommended three cycles (45 minutes total.) The gel is rinsed away and reapplied for each cycle.

Philips Zoom Whitening DayWhite & NightWhite Kits

Take-home Kits:

Philips Zoom Whitening DayWhite ACP

  • 9.5% Hydrogen Peroxide.  Apply for  30-60 minutes per day.
  • 14% Hydrogen Peroxide.  Apply for  30 minutes per day.

Philips Zoom Whitening NiteWhite ACP

  • 10% Carbamide Peroxide.  Apply for 2-4 hours
  • 16% Carbamide Peroxide.  Apply for 2-4 hours
  • 22% Carbamide Peroxide.  Apply for 2-4 hours

 

Whitening Time & Concentration Recap 

Whitening your teeth is like baking cookies. Ok not really. But they’re the same in that different ingredients call for different timeframes. If you don’t follow the whitening strip time directions properly, you’re not going to get the desired results. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions on THAT specific line of whitening product, as they can significantly vary from one brand’s product to the next. Your dentist can give you the best recommendations on whitening strips based on your unique smile’s characteristics.  

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