At-Home Teeth Whitening: Does it Really Work?

Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening System

This page contains affiliate links, which means that if you click them and make a purchase I can earn a small commission. This post is not sponsored. I was sent this product for free in exchange for my honest review.

A simple fact about me: I’m a pretty happy person. And like most happy people, I smile. A lot. Second simple fact about me: I don’t think I’m capable of being a fully functional human without my morning cup of coffee.

How do these two facts relate? They both have a pretty significant impact on my teeth. One resulting in them being incredibly stained, and the other in a propensity to flash them at everyone I meet.

Now, I’m a pretty confident person. As a beauty blogger I accept that hundreds, if not thousands of people will see and consequently judge my imperfections on the daily. So while I can’t say that I’ve lost sleep over not having the whitest of pearly whites, I also can’t deny that there’s a certain level of aesthetic appeal that comes with a healthy-looking smile. The more committed I’ve become to my blog and to my YouTube channel, the more I’ve started to see my smile as something worth investing in.

Needless to say, when Smile Brilliant asked if I’d like to try their teeth whitening system in exchange for a review, I was beyond game. Having just finished a year long course of Invisalign, I thought, why not take my smile transformation to the next level?

So today I’m going to share all of the details of my Smile Brilliant experience, as well as some helpful tips for anyone else interested in using their services. Smile Brilliant has also generously offered to give one of my readers a $149 credit to put towards their own teeth whitening kit, so make sure you check out all of the information on how to enter the giveaway at the end of this post!

Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening System

Why Smile Brilliant?

When it comes to whitening your teeth at home, there are no shortage of options to choose from. From strips, to charcoal toothpastes, to LED devices, there are a lot of “trendy” products on the market promising a whiter smile. However, these “quick and easy” solutions each come with a number of downsides. Whitening strips not only have a hard time reaching every angle of the surface of your teeth, but they can also cause significant sensitivity after each use. Charcoal isn’t ADA approved and can be abrasive on your enamel. LED lights for home use aren’t as powerful as the ones used by your dentist, and probably aren’t worth the investment.

Smile Brilliant, on the other hand, offers professional-grade teeth whitening utilizing custom-fitted trays. It’s the same type of at-home system you can get from your dentist, but for a fraction of the cost. Custom-fitted trays allow for an even and thorough whitening of your teeth, not to mention the fact that they’re a whole lot more comfortable to wear.

Getting Started

Because my teeth are prone to sensitivity, Smile Brilliant sent me their T3 Sensitive System to try. In each kit you get everything you need to take impressions of your teeth, along with three syringes of whitening gel and three syringes of desensitizing gel.

Honestly, the worst part of this entire experience was taking impressions. The instructions are really easy to follow and it doesn’t take long to do. I’m just no stranger to dental impressions and don’t particularly enjoy them. It’s a bit awkward when you have a small mouth like me, and there was a lot of drooling involved. Fortunately, it was only a few minutes of my life, and then my impressions were off to lab! Less than a week later my custom trays arrived and I was ready to start the whitening process.

Smile Brilliant Before Image

My Teeth Prior to Whitening

As I mentioned before, my teeth were not in the greatest shape prior to my whitening treatment. 30 years of consistently drinking coffee, tea, and red wine will have that unfortunate side effect. Back in high school I had tried whitening strips for a week or two in preparation for prom, but was scared off by how sensitive they made my teeth. Since then I’ve stuck to whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes, but honestly don’t think they’ve done much.

If you check out the picture above, you’ll see that my teeth look fairly dingy and yellow. It’s one of those things that I think I had just gotten used to, and didn’t really think too much of in the day-to-day. I was actually pretty curious to see what the difference would be like after whitening!

Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening Trays

My Whitening Experience

Given how things went with the whitening strips, I was a little nervous about how my teeth would handle Smile Brilliant’s system. Fortunately it was no where near as uncomfortable as I thought it would be.

Smile Brilliant recommends starting out with shorter sessions of about an hour, and increasing the time you wear your trays as you get used to whitening. I definitely erred on the side of caution and stuck to hour long sessions in the first week. I would also occasionally take a day off in between sessions to give my teeth a break.

When I moved on to my second syringe of whitening gel I learned an important (and also somewhat unfortunate) lesson. Smile Brilliant says that each syringe has enough product for 3-4 sessions. My first syringe definitely lasted longer than that, which, given that I still wasn’t seeing much in the way of results, made me think I wasn’t using enough product. I tried using more gel this time around than I had previously.

Bad move, Lauren. Bad move.

Going overboard with how much whitening gel you apply into your trays will result in leakage and the gel getting all over your gums. And let me tell you, gums don’t particularly love getting whitened. Honestly, the resulting sensitivity and discomfort wasn’t unbearable, and cleared itself up by taking a couple of days off. I just felt pretty silly for having done what I did in the first place.

Long story short, you only need a thin ribbon of gel along the inside of your trays. And if you’ve got a tiny mouth like me, that will probably mean each syringe will last you a bit longer than the average person. If your teeth are significantly stained like mine were, it’s going to take more sessions before you start seeing results. Using more gel isn’t going to get you there any faster.

A Few Other Considerations

Now, Smile Brilliant recommends whitening your teeth before bed so that you can minimize the chances of re-staining. The desensitizing gel that comes in the sensitive system also helps with this by rehydrating and remineralizing your enamel. Even if your teeth aren’t particularly sensitive, you can still use the desensitizing gel to help protect your teeth and keep your smile whiter, longer. It needs to sit on your teeth for about 20 minutes following whitening, which means that from start to finish each session can take anywhere from an hour and a half, to 3 and a half hours, depending on how long you want to leave the whitening gel on.

If you’re hanging out at home it’s super easy to throw on your trays and go about your evening routine. But one of my personal challenges was that life happened to be very social and busy during the time where I was trying to whiten my teeth. There were lots of weekdays that I would be out until past 10:00 at night, which didn’t leave a lot of time for whitening before I zonked out for the night. My recommendation is to plan to start your treatment when you know you’ll have 1-2 weeks that you can commit to nightly sessions.

Smile Brilliant After

My Results

After three weeks of whitening I am SO beyond happy with my results! I don’t think I’ve achieved my perfect level of whiteness yet, but considering how significant my staining was to start, I think I’ve made excellent progress. I definitely will be restocking on both my whitening and desensitizing gel so that I can get a few more sessions in!

To get a better look at the difference, here’s a closeup of my teeth before and after whitening:

Smile Brilliant Before/After Comparison

As someone with sensitive teeth I found that the desensitizing gel really did make a difference in how I would feel the day after each treatment. I didn’t notice an increased sensitivity to hot or cold beverages, and I could eat and brush as usual without much extra irritation. Even though it took longer for me to see results, having the option of doing shorter sessions each day also seemed to help.

Once my teeth are at the level of whiteness I want, maintenance should be pretty easy too. Since my custom fitted trays will last for years, as long as I have gel on hand I can whiten whenever I need!

I’m honestly so happy that Smile Brilliant reached out to me and gave me the opportunity to give their whitening system a try. I think they offer a really excellent service at a very fair price and make whitening your teeth about as easy and effective as it can get!


If you’re thinking about starting your own whitening journey, you’re in luck! Smile Brilliant will be giving one of my readers $149 in credit – the value of the T3 Sensitive Whitening system I used for my treatment – to use on their site. To enter, just visit Smile Brilliant’s website through this link and provide your name and email address. Entries will begin on September 19th and be open through October 5th to residents of the US, Canada, UK, and Australia only. The winner will be chosen at random and notified by Smile Brilliant directly.

If you’re feeling impatient and want to get started with your smile transformation ASAP, you can save 15% on your Smile Brilliant order now with code littleblushingbirdie15 at checkout. I promise, it’s a solid investment in yourself!


Professional Teeth Whitening