*This* is the secret to effectively (and safely) whitening your teeth at home

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ByAnna Anderson
Originally Published: 

I’ve been on the teeth whitening train pretty much since the day my orthodontist unglued my braces. I’d gotten so used to a metallic mouth with accents of tiny green rubber bands that I wanted to capitalize on that pearly white toothy-ness as much as possible. I’ve essentially relied on whitening strips to keep things somewhat bright, but since I drink coffee daily and love red wine, my expectations in this department are generally tempered. Besides, professional whitening has always felt too cost-prohibitive, and I’d rather not spend any additional hours reclining in a vinyl dental chair unless absolutely necessary.

If you relate to any of this, your interest might be piqued — as mine was — by Smile Brilliant, a lab-direct whitening service that provides professional-grade whitening treatments with made-to-order trays that are tailored to fit your mouth exactly — and it’s a lot cheaper than going to the dentist.

The science behind teeth whitening

Here’s the deal: Most teeth whitening formulas work more or less the same, by utilizing a whitening agent (say, hydrogen or carbamide peroxide) to temporarily open the pores in your teeth to lift out stains. And as long as the peroxide is fresh, these methods should work to remove stains. That being said, the device that holds the whitening agent to your teeth really matters, as the gel needs to make surface contact long enough to make a difference. If you go to the dentist, they’ll go to the trouble of creating a mold of your teeth that is then used to make a custom-fit whitening tray that ensures the whitening gel reaches every nook and cranny. This method will give you a fuller, more even coverage, than you can get from white strips or generic or boil-and-bite trays.

The takeaway here is that the key to effectively whitening your teeth is fresh peroxide and a custom-fit tray, and that’s where Smile Brilliant comes in.

Get custom-fit trays at home

Smile Brilliant is the first to admit what makes its product unique isn’t so much a secret formula (although it does use dentist-strength carbamide peroxide which has a longer shelf life than hydrogen peroxide found in most OTC whitening strips), it’s in the delivery system. Smile Brilliant has a lab that creates those same custom-fit trays you’d get at a doctor's office — all you have to do is order a kit that includes the supplies you need to make a dental impression at home, then send the resulting mold back to the lab using the prepaid postage envelope. Not only is this better than driving, parking, and twiddling your thumbs in a waiting room, but it’s also quite literally about five times cheaper than paying a dental professional for their time and expertise. In other words, you’re getting the kind of results you’d get at the dentist’s office, but by using a more streamlined and budget-minded process.

How to order your kit & what’s included

The Smile Brilliant system is a simple process, and arguably the best way to whiten teeth professionally without a trip to the dentist. You make your picks online (choose between sensitive or non-sensitive teeth whitening kits, then decide whether you want to treat heavy, average, or light stains), and all the supplies will be mailed to your address.

The Smile Brilliant system provides everything you need to create an impression of both your upper and lower teeth, including a prepaid envelope, so you can drop it in the mail without having to stand in line. Along with the resulting custom-fit trays, you’ll receive a storage case and enough gel treatments to achieve your desired level of whitening. (You can also buy additional whitening gel treatments for future use with your existing trays.)

Smile Brilliant offers multiple treatment options based on your level of staining. If you’re looking to remove heavy stains and see significant brightening, you can opt for as many as 27 treatments. On the other hand, if you’re just looking to touch up your teeth, and you generally don’t consume coffee or red wine, you can buy as few as nine whitening treatments for a cost-effective price.

For non-sensitive teeth

T9 Non-Sensitive System (heavy stains)

Best for: Non-sensitive teeth that are heavily stained from regular use of coffee, wine, tea, and/or cigarettes. Also, best value and best for international customers. | Kit Includes: 1 set of custom trays (1 upper / 1 lower) 27 whitening applications(top and bottom) See More

T6 Non-Sensitive System (average stains)

Best for: Non-sensitive teeth that are stained from the use of wine, coffee, and tea. | Kit Includes: 1 set of custom trays (1 upper / 1 lower) 18 whitening applications(top and bottom) | See More

T3 Non-Sensitive System (light stains)

Best for: Non-sensitive teeth that have been whitened in the past and are not typically exposed to coffee, tea, wine, or cigarettes. | Kit Includes: 1 set of custom trays (1 upper / 1 lower) 9 whitening applications(top and bottom) | See More

For sensitive teeth

T9 Sensitive System (heavy stains)

Best for: Sensitive teeth that have heavy staining from coffee, tea, wine, cigarettes, or childhood medication. Best value for those with sensitive teeth and best for international customers. | Kit Includes: 1 set of custom trays(1 upper / 1 lower), 27 whitening applications (top & bottom), 27 desensitizing applications (top and bottom)| See More

T6 Sensitive System (average stains)

Best for: Sensitive teeth that have not been able to use other whitening products due to “aching” teeth and those who have sensitivity to cold. Good for average staining from regular consumption of coffee, tea, and wine. | Kit Includes: 1 set of custom trays(1 upper / 1 lower), 18 whitening applications (top and bottom), 18 desensitizing applications(top and bottom)| See More

T3 Sensitive System (light stains)

Best for: Teeth that have been whitened in the past but have experienced cold sensitivity. Teeth that are not typically exposed to coffee, tea, wine, or ciggerettes. | Kit Includes: 1 set of custom trays(1 upper / 1 lower), 9 whitening applications (top and bottom), 9 desensitizing applications(top & bottom)| See More

You can buy additional whitening gel for future treatments

Wait, no fancy-schmancy LED lights?

I don’t blame you if you’re wondering why LED lights haven't gotten a mention up until now. After all, LED lights are a big part of how teeth whitening has been marketed in recent years. But Smile Brilliant isn’t hopping on the LED bandwagon because they’re committed to creating high-quality products without gimmicks. As it turns out, LED lights — which are meant to accelerate the whitening process — may not be all that effective, according to a 2014 study that reviewed 10 years of research. What’s more The New York Times noted that a 2007 study found that heat, light, or lasers used during the teeth-whitening process “may have an adverse effect on pulpal tissue” — i.e., the soft material at the tooth’s center — which could result in further dental work down the line.

What kind of results can I expect?

While the Smile Brilliant whitening system is quite effective when it comes to removing stains and restoring teeth to their natural color, keep in mind that everyone’s natural color is different and that some folks have an off-white or even yellowish tint. In other words, if you were born with off-white teeth, you probably shouldn’t expect snow-white results — but you’ll likely be able to erase the evidence of your twice-daily latte habit. One more thing to bear in mind: You won’t see results on artificial veneers or crowns, but you may see results on porcelain. In any case, be assured that it’s safe to use whitening gel on dental work.

Is it safe for everyone?

Now for the nitty gritty: Teeth whitening is generally considered safe for anyone over 12 years of age — unless you’re pregnant or nursing (sorry — yet another thing you have to forego).

What about sensitive teeth?

And if you’re concerned about sensitivity, note that Smile Brilliant user reviews are generally positive in this department. Your best bet will be to use the kit designed for sensitive teeth, which includes a desensitizing gel to help ease any potential discomfort. Of course, if you have any concerns about the whitening process and how it might affect you personally, it’s always a good idea to check in with your dentist.

Smile Brilliant teeth whitening reviews

  • “I have extremely sensitive teeth and gums and had zero problems with this system. Furthermore, the customer service and staff is so friendly, eager to help and so easy to contact. HIGHLY, highly recommend anyone that is looking for a whitening system to try Smile Brilliant!” — Liliana G.

  • “I have an obsession with white teeth. I mean really I do. I've tried EVERYTHING on the market that claims to make your pearly whites, well white. But after going through every single thing from strips, to trays with the light, to 3 step tooth paste systems. I think I've found the holy grail.” — Kayla P.

  • “This is truly an amazing product! I have struggled for years to get my teeth white. Spending tons of money on kits that don't work and countless "white strips". I finally found something that was able to whiten my teeth beautifully! I got such amazing results and had zero sensitivity issues which can be common with teeth whitening products.” — Nicole W.

  • “I placed my order Thursday morning and the starter kit arrived Friday afternoon! I sent the trays back in for processing on Monday and the finished trays were back to my by Friday! I started using the product on Saturday and I am seeing excellent results! If you're thinking about teeth whitening, I would highly recommend this company and product!”

Get your Smile Brilliant kit: