Welcome to Lattes, Life & Luggage! I’m Christine and I share my adventures traveling and navigating this crazy thing we call life.

At Home Teeth Whitening That Actually Works

At Home Teeth Whitening That Actually Works

It’s time for a confession. My smile is not something I’ve ever been particularly confident with. Braces were a no-brainer for me as a kid and afterwards, I was so conscious of how not white my teeth were it became something I always felt insecure about. This was a time when all the characters on TV shows had blinding smiles and whitening products were popping up left and right. I tried all the classic whitening kits but the results were never anything to write home about, especially on the bottom where I could never get a whitening strip to take hold since I had a permanent retainer for a while. So it’s been a long time coming for me to have a smile I can feel confident about.

Thanks to Smile Brilliant for partnering with Lattes, Life & Luggage for this post! Product was provided complimentary for a review, no compensation was received. All opinions remain my own.

This post may contain affiliate/referral links. It’s a way for this site to earn advertising fees by advertising or linking to certain products and/or services.

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When Smile Brilliant approached me asking if I’d be interested in working with them, I was skeptical at first. After reading reviews and browsing through their website, it was clear to me that Smile Brilliant wasn’t just another whitening company. They had a product that is far greater quality than what you would find on a drugstore shelf. It’s professional grade whitening at a reasonable price. I won't tell you that your smile will be white overnight, but if you stick to it and let the product do its job, you’ll find a whiter, more confident smile in no time at all.


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Getting Started
Once you sign up for Smile Brilliant, you’ll receive a package in the mail with almost all of your materials. The unique thing about this company is that instead of providing generic strips or trays they create custom trays. The first package that comes in the mail includes: whitening gel syringes, desensitizing gel syringes, trays for dental impressions, 3 sets of the base and catalyst for the dental impressions, and materials to help guide you.

Step 1: Create your dental impressions. For those of you who’ve gotten braces or any kind of mouth equipment, you’re probably familiar with these. Two materials combine together (the blue base and white catalyst) to create the putty for your impressions. It feels kind of like play dough. Once the white material is no longer visible, the putty gets shaped into the trays. I recommend only doing one at a time because it will start to harden as soon as the materials touch. There’s a small window between mixing and getting it into your mouth before the putty is unusable. Secure the tray to your teeth firmly. You want the best impression possible otherwise they won’t be able to create the trays properly and you’re back to square one. Once the impressions are done, they get shipped back to the company for the trays to be made. Postage is included as part of the package.

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Step 2: Start whitening! Whitening is simple. Once you receive your trays in the mail, they’re ready for use. Each syringe should be able to provide at least three full whitening sessions (both top and bottom). I actually got more than three whitening sessions out of my syringes but I also have teeny tiny teeth and a small mouth. You can whiten anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours. Because whitening (of any kind) can cause sensitivity and I feel like I’m a little more sensitive than normal, I started whitening at only 45 minutes and increased it to 1.5 hours when I had time. Depending on how white you are looking to go and how dull your smile has become will determine how many whitening sessions you need before you’ll get the result you’re looking for. It took me 10 whitening sessions at 45 - 90 minutes each.

The Whitening Process
For the best results, Smile Brilliant provides directions for applying the whitening gel. It goes like this:

Step 1: Brush teeth without toothpaste. Why? You want to clean the teeth as much as possible so the gel can do its job.

Step 2: Fill the front side of your trays with the gel. A thin line should be enough. If the gel is pouring out of the tray when you apply it to your teeth, you’ve used too much.

Step 3: Place the trays onto your teeth. Try not to scrape it along your teeth because the gel could get all messy.

Step 4: Sit back and relax or go about your day while your teeth whiten!

Step 5: Once you finish the whitening session, remove the trays. Rinse your mouth, brush your teeth with a non-whitening toothpaste and proceed to applying the desensitizing gel. This is recommended but not required and it only comes with the sensitive kits.

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It’s important to note that you can’t eat or drink while whitening and it’s best that you don’t afterwards. The cards that come with the Smile Brilliant package suggest whitening before bed which is what I did. A few things that I did to occupy my time include reading, working on the site, meal planning, writing, etc. My favorite part, it gives you an excuse to not talk to people. You can! Absolutely you can have a conversation. But I pretended that I couldn't so I got a little blissful silence which is a rare thing at night in my house.

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The desensitizing gel is another unique aspect to the Smile Brilliant whitening kit. Like with any other whitening treatment, sensitivity is something that can be expected. The desensitizing gel is formulated to help eliminate tooth sensitivity caused by whitening and prevent re-staining in the process. Confession: I didn’t use this gel for the majority of my initial whitening sessions because I hadn’t experienced any sensitivity. After I revisited the kit materials and realized it helped prevent re-staining, I started to incorporate it into the whitening routine. So while it took 10 sessions, it might have taken less if I had been using this gel at the beginning. The process is similar to whitening but much less time consuming.

Step 1: After brushing your teeth from whitening, rinse out the trays and dry as best as you can.

Step 2: Apply the desensitizing gel to the trays as you did the whitening gel.

Step 3: Apply the trays back to your teeth. Let them sit for 15-20 minutes.

Step 4: Remove the trays but do not brush or rinse afterwards. The gel needs to do its work overnight (another reason why whitening at night is recommended)

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As someone who has tried many different whitening options, I’m impressed with Smile Brilliant. They’ve made a professional quality product accessible to anyone for a decent price. Whitening is a process. It takes patience and dedication so if there’s a store-bought product trying to sell you instant results, I’d be cautious. Whitening a smile takes time when done right. You don’t want to bleach the teeth, you want to lift stains and that is exactly what Smile Brilliant does.

Top: Before - Bottom: After

Top: Before - Bottom: After


  • The customized trays ensure even application of the whitening gel. Unlike strips or other products, you don’t have to mess with it every five minutes to make sure it’s still on your teeth. The trays stay in place so you don’t have half-whitened teeth.
  • Unlike other whitening products, the desensitizing gel takes care of the after effects from whitening.
  • The kit comes with plenty of whitening gel and desensitizing gel (depending on which you buy). If you feel the need to refresh your smile at a later date, you have extras!
  • The kit comes with step-by-step instructions with photos t hat make the process super easy and almost impossible to mess up .


  • The whitening gel tastes pretty nasty. You can’t taste it too much while you’re whitening (unless it seeps out a lot, in which case you’re using too much) but once those trays come out before you rinse and brush, yikes.
  • Chemical burns are possible on the gums. If this happens, applying a little Vaseline should help. I didn’t experience this at all and I feel like I whitened more than others. It’s important to note this is a possibility though.

Here’s the bottom line. If you’re not confident in your smile, have tried other products on the market, and don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars at the dentist, consider Smile Brilliant. I am smiling so much more since I’ve started the whitening process. You might not notice results right away but there’s one whitening session in the process where you wake up in the morning and your smile looks noticeably whiter. It’s a great feeling and you’ll find yourself smiling a little more than usual that day.

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Notes From Smile Brilliant
You’ve read about my experience, but now I want to share a few specific pieces of information from Smile Brilliant.

  • There are two types of kits to choose from: non-sensitive or sensitive. Each system has three different levels to choose from: heavy stains, average, and light stains. The only difference is that one kit is designed for those with heightened sensitivity and the other is not.
  • Smile Brilliant’s teeth whitening process is recommended by more dentists than any other procedure in America.
  • The whitening process with Smile Brilliant is safe and does not damage your teeth. It uses active ingredients to temporarily open pores in your teeth and lift stains. After each whitening session, your teeth naturally remineralize and rehydrate.
  • Sensitivity after teeth whitening is normal. Did you know more than 60% of Americans have naturally sensitive teeth? There are many different causes but it’s not something to be alarmed about generally speaking. During the whitening process, teeth become temporarily dehydrated which is one of the causes for sensitivity. It reduces the tooth’s ability to insulate the nerve from changes in temperature. Sensitivity will disappear 12-36 hours after whitening.
  • Not everyone’s teeth can be perfectly white. Regardless of your stains, the natural color of an individual’s teeth are set at birth. All the whitening product can do is remove all the stains that have accumulated over time.

Smile Brilliant as a 45-day money back guarantee. They have a 2-year tray replacement warranty beginning on the initial order date of your kit. If, at any time, you need an additional set of your custom-fitted trays, you can request a replacement for $30. If you ever need a quick refresh and have run out of the whitening gel or desensitizing gel, both syringes can be purchased separately in packs of 3, 6, or 9. For more information about Smile Brilliant, visit their website or FAQ page.

Smile Brilliant is giving away $149 in Smile Brilliant credit to one lucky reader! The giveaway is open for one week (closes Wednesday, April 11th at Midnight). Entering is simple, all you do is visit https://www.smilebrilliant.com/g/latteslifeandluggage. Enter your first name and email address for one entry. Get an additional entry by following Smile Brilliant on Instagram. Follow the link to enter!! 

*TERMS: the giveaway with Smile Brilliant is managed through Smile Brilliant and the prize will be distributed by Smile Brilliant. Lattes, Life & Luggage is not responsible for the giveaway prize in any way. The giveaway is open to USA, UK, Australia and Canadian residents only. 

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