Works For Me Wednesday: Teeth Whitening For The First Time!!

Some of you might remember earlier this summer, when I posted about how excited I was to FINALLY get to have family portraits taken with my girls. We hadn't been able to have photos done in years, so it was a really exciting thing for us to do together as a family, and I was thrilled to have been able to do it. In light of the recent death in our family, having something like that to look back on has definitely been cheering - this has been a hard year, so that photo session is a warm little memory for me to keep with me.

But when those photos first came in, I couldn't help noticing my smile - and not in a good way. Not that there was anything wrong with the photos specifically, and my smile tends to be pretty alright in general - but it just wasn't the best it could be, and I knew it. Coffee and wine had definitely taken their toll, which was why I got so excited when Smile Brilliant reached out to me and offered me a whitening kit in exchange for an honest review.

So when I was done happy dancing through the afternoon, I woke up the next morning and composed what I hoped would be a calm and professional acceptance. (Because duh, like I wasn't gonna jump on that.)

I'll admit though, I was a little nervous about the process because they kept saying things like "DON'T DO THIS IF YOU HAVE CAVITIES/DECAY/SENSITIVITY/BLAHBLAHBLAH!" And the thing was, I didn't have any of those things, that I knew of ... until they were mentioned as a reason to definitely not ever use whitening products on your teeth ever ever ever.

My anxiety kicked in and suddenly I had some sensitivity that hadn't been there before, and I was convinced that all my teeth were quietly rotting out of my head somehow without my noticing, and it was gonna be bad, just all bad. Like really bad. Which of, course, it wasn't - not only because my teeth are perfectly fine, but because the kit hadn't even come in yet.

Yay, anxiety, right?

But I really had nothing at all to be so anxious over - my influencer kit came beautifully packaged and in good time, complete with two plastic impression molds, about a billion syringes of whitening gel (the bleaching agent, of course), an equally billion syringes of anti-sensitivity gel (flouride treatments, woo!), and three sets of mold-making paste. Oh, and directions - which was good because I was totally paranoid, sure I'd do it wrong and mess it all up, and terrified I'd end up with HORRIFYING sensitivity forever. I've never done a whitening treatment, can you tell?

Obviously, it worked out just fine - my teeth are just fine, sparkly white and just as hardy as ever while I'm writing this post, so stick around for my review. And more importantly, my results.

Smile Brilliant Influencer Kit

The first step, of course, is to clean your mouth as much as possible, because you don't want your impressions messed up by having gunk in your teeth! That day I made sure to oil pull as well as my usual brushing routine, and my mouth was pretty squeaky clean when I got started. I was relieved by the fact that the molds were actually really simple to make too; you take your pot of base paste and your pot of catalyst paste and mix them quickly together (no longer than 60 seconds!) until they're well blended. You'll be able to tell when they're done because one is blue and one is white - when you've got it all mixed into a smooth one-color clay, you're ready to roll. Other than making sure you don't take too long (because this stuff starts setting pretty quickly), the process is really pretty foolproof.

Once the paste was totally mixed, I pressed it into the impression tray (top tray first!), making sure it was pressed in well and filling the tray. Then it was time for the other stuff I was nervous about - what if I can't get the clay stuff off my teeth!?!

I gave my anxiety a vehement "shut up!" and went on with the process - I slipped the impression tray in my mouth and pressed it up onto my teeth, keeping fairly even pressure with my fingers (but not biting down) for about 2.5 minutes. And as expected, the impression came off with just the smallest little panic-inducing tug. Seriously, you guys would have been laughing so hard if I had live-tweeted this ... and now I wish I had thought to live-tweet it! I was pretty convinced it was going to pop out of my mouth with my teeth somehow still in it - I even had nightmares about that happening the night before!

Thankfully, everything actually went off without a hitch, and now I've got a great story to tell. Anxiety is hilarious sometimes. Afterwards.

Dental Impressions for Smile Brilliant

As you can see, I used all three sets of my impression pastes - because my first top impression was just a little  ... questionable. It didn't seem to go all the way back, and it wasn't pressed evenly enough for me to feel that it was a good mold. I knew without speaking to a lab tech that I had done it wrong, so I tried again - thankfully, Smile Brilliant sees that coming, and even though they only ask for one top impression and one bottom impression, they send enough paste for you to be able to mess up and try again without it being a big deal. (And yes, that stuff feels weird in your mouth. But it's not gross, and it's only in there for a few minutes, so ...)

Once all the impressions were made, I set them out for a half hour to cure, rinsed them with cold water as instructed, and then left them to sit overnight just to be sure they had cured properly. The next day, I packaged them up (in the included packaging from Smile Brilliant) and shipped them off to be inspected by Smile Brilliant's lab.

It didn't take long for my trays to come back - comfortable-to-wear, easy to put on and take off, and custom fitted for my soon-to-be-gorgeous (or horrifyingly sensitive??) teeth. They even came in a cute little storage tray!

Smile Brilliant Dental Tray CaseSmile Brilliant Custom Dental Trays

So here's what the process looked like for me:
  1. Brush your teeth with just water. The prevents anything in your toothpaste from reacting, interacting, or otherwise impacting the effectiveness of the whitening gel. I made sure to brush really well - gently but thoroughly.
  2. Whiten for 45 minutes to 3 hours. You just take one of the whitening gel syringes and apply a fine line all the way across the smile surface of your trays - it's thick gel, but it's a simple and easy process. Be careful not to use too much though; you don't need as much as you'll think you do. I left this gel on for 30 minutes the first day,  45 minutes the second day, one hour the third day, and then 90 minutes each time after. It took me a few tries to get the right amount of whitening gel in my trays too, so that there wasn't too much squishing up out of the trays.
  3. Remove the trays when you're done whitening, rinse them well with water to remove the gel, and brush your teeth with non-whitening toothpaste. Surprisingly, I didn't have any tooth sensitivity throughout my treatments - but by the fourth day of whitening, my gums were pretty sensitive to brushing. They didn't look or feel burned or sore at any other time, but brushing was almost painful, so after consulting with my Smile Brilliant contact, I took a few days off to give my mouth a rest. When I came back to it, I didn't have any trouble at all - although on the first day of my second week (I did 14 treatments) my Grandmother went into the hospital so I had to shorten my time just a little. For the second week of treatments, I whitened for 60 minutes every morning, followed by 30 minutes with the desensitizing gel. This helped me squeeze whitening in between mom life, writing life, grocery shopping, laundry day, and daily trips to visit my Grandmother's deathbed in the next town.
  4. Use desensitizing gel for 15-30 minutes. This part was easy throughout the entire process - it didn't hurt or taste gross or anything like that. I did it for the full 30 minutes each time I whitened.
  5. Remove trays and spit. You need to rinse and dry your trays, but there's no more brushing or rinsing your mouth at this point - you want to leave a thin layer of the desensitizing gel on your teeth to help it be as effective as possible. Also, don't eat or drink for 30-60 minutes after each treatment - also to keep the gel on your teeth for as long as possible.
I was also warned to be careful about staying away from things that could restain my teeth, like coffee, red wine, chocolate, and a couple of other things I love way too much to stay too far away from, like red sauces and tea.

Let me just say right now that I didn't stay away from any of those things any more than I would have even if I hadn't been whitening. I didn't have any wine and I didn't have any chocolate, but coffee was a lifesaver especially in that second week when PTSD and losing my Grandmother teamed up to completely wreck my sleep patterns. But even with taking a break and everything else that went on, after 14 treatments my results are amazing. You guys, seriously. I hadn't realized how much my smile wasn't white until suddenly it was. Seriously, look:

Please excuse the horrible phone-camera photography.
I wish these photos could really do justice to what a difference Smile Brilliant made in my smile, but I didn't have the best lighting at the time of the first photo, and I wanted to take both photos in the same place at about the same time. By the end of 14 treatments though, I was starting to get comments about my teeth - even from people who didn't know what I was doing!

Like I said before, I've never done any sort of whitening treatment on my teeth (other than my use of (coconut) oil pulling combined with regular brushing), so I had literally no idea what to expect from my round of Smile Brilliant treatments. Honestly though, I was pretty pleasantly surprised by how simple the process was and how relatively painless it ended up being as compared to what I was expecting. Literally the only complaint I had about the process - from the initial contact from the company to my final treatment with the gels - was the sensitivity in my gums. And that pretty much fixed itself with the help of a little time off and making sure to use a bit less gel. Shortening my sessions probably helped a bit too.

Obviously, today's "Featured Favorite Product" is Smile Brilliant's stellar whitening system, which I was so glad to have been able to test out! With as nervous as I was about trying a professional-grade whitening treatment for the first time, I found the ease of use to be a pleasant surprise, and I'm majorly impressed with my results. I also love that I received LOTS of extra syringes of both gels, which means I should probably be able to keep doing weekly maintenance on my smile all the way 'til Jesus comes back.

The holidays are coming up, so if you want to rock a brilliant smile too, then you're in luck because Smile Brilliant has offered a giveaway - for a $139 credit to Smile Brilliant, which is enough to buy a whole whitening kit for FREE! Seriously, I can't even tell you what a steal that is, and how happy I am to have the chance to offer this up to you! This giveaway is hosted by Smile Brilliant on their website, specifically through their own secure platform - this way, you'll know that when you enter your email (so that they can contact you if you win), it's safe and won't be given to anyone else.

But if giveaways aren't your thing, that's totally cool - you can still smile brilliant by heading over to and using authorbrandikennedy10 at the checkout for a 10% discount!

Quick Disclaimer: Since I am using affiliate links, remember that if you choose to click any product links on my site and end up purchasing through them, I will receive a small commission for referring you. Rest assured that this is at no extra cost to you, but my family and I appreciate your support. You should also know that while I did receive my Smile Brilliant kit free for reviewing purposes, my opinions are just as honest as always, and I believe my results speak for themselves. (If you'd like to see a list of other companies I'm currently working with on a more regular basis, click here.)
Have you ever tried any whitening treatments or methods on your teeth? If so, what have you tried and how did it work? Have you ever tried Smile Brilliant? Leave your experiences in the comments - I'd love to learn more about what works for you!

While you're here, if you'd still like to hang with me and follow more of my journey as a writer, a mom, and an abuse survivor with PTSD, subscribe to this blog by filling out the "subscribe by email" form in the sidebar. This blog may not always be easy to read, but I truly hope we'll learn from and inspire each other along the way.

Make sure you come over to Patreon too - sign up to sponsor and support my writing journey for as little as $1 a month! Your dollar gets you access to all sorts of content - including photos and mini-blogs from my personal life and advance peeks at my fiction writing, which is a pretty slick deal for just over $.03 a day. For a little more, you'll get to vote for upcoming content, read my poetry and weekly L.A.F.F.S., listen to podcasts, and even get your name on my personal mailing lists - and the best part is that as my patronage grows, so do the benefits for every patron! Our goal right now is 25 patrons, and when we hit that goal, I'm going to start posting daily PhLogs!! (Click that link. Most are subscriber-only, but some are public - I think there's one about my dog being scared of a piglet, too.)

However we stay connected, whether it's through my books, this blog, or on Patreon, you can rest assured that my brand is built on the concept of what I write and who I'm writing it for. "Love Stories and Lifestyle for the Undaunted Woman." And what's an undaunted woman? Click here to find out more about what it means to be undaunted - and how you can nominate your favorite undaunted woman to be interviewed right here on the blog! The first interview was a total success, and I already can't wait to introduce you to September 2017's Undaunted Woman!

For those who just want the inspirational parts of my content without all the personal aspects, connect with me on social media - that's where I like to share all sorts of things, from self-care tips to mental health quotes to song lyrics and more. Either way, whether you're a first time reader or a long-time loyal follower ... from the bottom of my heart, thank you for being here.

Tooth Whitening Gel


  1. This is a really well-detailed guide about whitening your teeth. I'm glad that your techniques worked out for you. Looking at your before and after pictures, I can definitely see the difference.

    1. Thanks! I really wish the results showed more clearly in the photos - it really changed my smile, and I'm so glad to have agreed to test the product! I'm happy to say I plan to keep using it too, to maintain my pretty white teeth.

  2. I can totally see the difference in your teeth - awesome! I'm a coffee drinker and notice that I need some whitening. This looks like a great solution!

    1. Yeah I'm still loving the results I've gotten from this, and I also love that my kit included plenty of gel syringes for me to maintain my smile, too!

  3. Your teeth look so much brighter and whiter! I've noticed a few stains on my teeth lately, too ... this looks like a great option!

    1. They definitely look a lot better, don't they? I'm still using Smile Brilliant to maintain the brightness too, and once a week for about 90 minutes is all it takes to keep my results beautiful. I am genuinely still so thrilled to have gotten a chance to try and love this product!


Post a Comment

Like this post? Leave me a comment - and don't forget to check "notify me" so you'll get an alert when I reply!