Saturday, August 8, 2015

product review

 -- Product Review --

We received this wonderful opportunity to review Smartsmile’s Professional Teeth Whitening Kit around June 24th - it did not get in our hands until after July 4th via a postal service outlet that we use a couple miles on the US side of the border (we’re located in Canada), which happened to be when we were crossing the border again, but the shipping order stated it was estimated to arrive before July 6th – so the shipping time was pretty impressive. 

The product was shipped in a white plastic bubble envelope – via USPS first class mail; and the product itself was encased in a stiff clear plastic envelope that folds down nicely for recycling. The instructions are printed on paper that you can see through the envelope, which is easily removed for recycling purposes.

The kit comes with a tooth shade guide so you can determine what shade your teeth are at prior to and after application of the product. It also comes with two large syringes full of the whitening gel and a set of personal mouth trays for one person – to hold the gel against your teeth.

Coffee, red wine, smoking, tea and soft drinks are some of the biggest culprits for staining the teeth, but teeth will change color and become less bright with age and use as well. I love coffee and occasionally have red wine as well, so between that and being 45… well, my teeth just aren’t as bright as they could be. I did have them whitened some 10 years ago at the dentist office when my front tooth (fake) was replaced. I did have the opportunity to try a natural tooth whitening kit in 2013, and I have used that kit several times since (every 6 months) and still have it although it has only one application left.  I thought it would be interesting to compare my experiences in the past to this new kit.

The first two things I noticed about this kit were how very affordable it is and how generous they are with the dentist-grade professional whitening gel (contains 35% carbamide peroxide). The next thing I noticed was how little time was going to be involved in each treatment. The other kit I have used in the past required either overnight or 20-minute treatments; this one requires 5-15 minutes.

I decided to take some extra time in reviewing the product, doing the recommended maximum 10-day treatment period – missing only day 6 and 8. 

You have to take some extra time prior to the first treatment to form-fit the mouth trays, which hold the gel in place to allow for it to get in to small spaces and grooves. It is really neat how you can mold the trays to fit your teeth. The instructions state you simply set them in a cup of hot water and when they have softened place in the mouth securely and suck them a bit until they cool, and they will begin shaping to fit your teeth. Use one tray for the upper teeth, and the other tray for the bottom teeth. You might have to repeat this molding process a couple of times to get them to fit really well.

Initially after reading the instructions on how to form fit the mouth trays I was concerned that it was going to be too hot, possibly burning me – taking the tray straight out of a coffee cup full of freshly boiled water to my mouth. However if you hold the tray in the cup for up to 10 seconds that isn’t an issue. The instructions said to hold it in the cup up to 15 seconds but at 12 seconds the tray is way to soft, so keep it in there less than 10 seconds.

Following those instructions, I took the 1st tray out of the cup of hot water, placed it in my mouth on the upper teeth, sucked the air out of it and lightly pressed in place with my bottom teeth. I found it was necessary to keep the suction going for about 20 seconds– and had to repeat the process twice to get a really good fit. Afterwards, I rinsed the tray in cool water. Then I did the same thing with the bottom mouth tray… but found I had to refresh the water in the cup as it had cooled too much by then to really do anything. Sadly this is the tray I left in the water 12 seconds, and the back part of the tray had folded over before I was able to place in my mouth. The bottom tray was also more difficult to fit in my mouth and took 3 times to really get a good fit. It is important to form fit one tray at a time.

I set the trays to cool and dry off - until after lunch hour when I knew I wasn’t going to have coffee or juice for the rest of the day. I also tried to line up my teeth with the Professional Shade Guide included in this new kit – but my teeth didn’t match. The colors they had on the guide were much more yellow, which would perhaps be more fitting to smokers. Also, my teeth were greyer that the bright white color at the one end of the guide. Therefore I’ll have to guess how effective the whitening kit is for this trial.

I kept up these afternoon treatments during the 10-day treatment period setting the timer for 15 minutes per session. The instructions say you should rest between the treatment periods – about a week or longer before doing another treatment session. Frequency of treatments will depend entirely on how stained your teeth are and your personal habits (how often you brush, whether you consume large amounts the key culprits listed earlier).

You don’t want the gel touching the gums, nor do you want to swallow it - so be frugal with how much gel you put in the trays. I recommend keeping a face cloth on hand to spit excess saliva into just in case, so you don’t swallow any solution. I felt that it wasn’t easy to apply the .05cc of the solution as recommended, for two reasons: the syringe is large and awkward to use and there are no .05 cc markings on the syringe – so I had to guess on the amount. I had brushed my teeth and flossed before going into each treatment phase, as I wanted the solution to get everywhere possible. I think because I used a little too much solution the first time and because of the cleaning I did beforehand, my gums stung a little bit by the end of the 15-minutes.

The second try, the next day, I dug out a tiny brush from inside other tooth whitening kit I had still on hand and used that brush to distribute a smaller amount of the solution along mouth tray groove, which worked much better. I saw noticeable results by the third day and on the fourth day my teeth were definitely noticeably brighter. By the end of the treatment I was impressed with how white my teeth looked.

I found that the whitening treatment doesn’t cause sensitive teeth, but the instructions did say we should avoid citrus drinks and overly hot or cold drinks for 24 hours after use… which I did, except for a small glass of juice in the morning.

Based on the volume I used in the 10-day session, I estimate that each syringe will provide 5 sessions (of 10 days)... so being that the kit has 2 of these syringes you can expect there to be 10 sessions worth of gel. 

On the negative side: 

I did find that the paper inserts (inside the clear plastic packaging) had slight spelling or typo errors, but it didn’t really take away from understanding what was meant. i.e. “fist” instead of “first”… “us” instead of “is”.

Later, upon recycling the packaging and paper inserts I realized that there were more instructions and warnings on the inside. I’m not sure how many people would take apart the packaging in order to find out that the paper had a backside to it – with tips that are pretty important – such as to make sure to heat each tray separately and do not put trays immediately into boiling water, let the water cool for a moment first. They do offer a 2nd kit for free for those who have purchased their first kit with the company - the reverse side of the product label paper offers information on how to obtain the free kit.

The list price for this product on is $35 (US) but is on sale right now for $30.01 (US) – is not listed on

Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet: 

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