If you’re on Instagram or Facebook, you might have come across pictures of Kylie Jenner, Conor McGregor or “Influencers” posing with a UFO-looking mouthpiece in their mouth with a telling blue glow…
That’s essentially HiSmile. It’s a whitening system that’s been advertised like crazy all over the internet and with the “help” of these celebrities, it’s no wonder it’s taken the world by storm! And of course, being the curious dentist that I am, I wanted to see what this is all about!
So, I bought a whitening kit from their website so I could do a HiSmile Review. Well, I bought the original bundle with the whitening pen as well, to be specific.
Read on to find out everything you want to know about HiSmile. What is it? Does it work? Is it worth it?
Does it actually work?
TL;DR: No. I go into detail about it further into the blog. You can also watch the full review of it in the video above.
Why did I do it?
Well, I actually am in need of some teeth whitening. Put your hand up if you drink too much tea and coffee? Yeah, I thought so. I’m 100% guilty of it.
I know what professional whitening systems are capable of because I’ve had many patients go through the process with great results.
But because of all of the hype for this product, I thought I’d put it to the test in my HiSmile review!
What do you get with the HiSmile teeth whitening system?
It’s a teeth whitening system with a mouthpiece and blue LED light. You apply the supplied gel inside the mouth tray, place it in your mouth, turn on the light and leave it in place for 10 minutes. They recommend 6 nights of treatment initially* and give you enough gel for those 6 treatments.
They also guarantee no pain or sensitivity at any point during or after the whitening process, and results of up to 8 shades whiter teeth.
According to the website, the gel contains Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Chlorite, Citric Acid, Aloe Leaf Juice, Pomegranate Seed Extract, Chamomile Flower Extract, Glycerol, Propylene Glycol, Deionized water, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Menthol. The ingredients in bold are what they claim to be the key ingredients.
The kit is supplied with a shade guide but it doesn’t actually represent reality. I’ve never seen red teeth in my life. Nor in my almost ten years as a dentist! Have you?
* In the FAQ section of their website, they say that results are expected to last anywhere between 2 weeks and 3 months and that they recommend to do a “top-up” treatment with more gel (that you have to purchase) every 2 weeks.
What was it like?
Well, the mouthpiece isn’t fitted to my mouth – it’s one-size-fits-all. Professional whitening kits are made with models of your teeth so they fit perfectly and hold the gel against your teeth. This is not the case with this system.
The mouthpiece was comfortable enough though and the LED light that attaches to it has a nifty feature where it automatically turns off after ten minutes, indicating that the treatment is complete. Though the mouthpiece doesn’t fit, I actually didn’t taste much gel at all which was a nice surprise.
I did the 6 nights of treatment and used the whitening pen as well to “help enhance” my results.
And the results?
There weren’t any (see photos). Although I must admit, in real life, I did see a teeny, tiny whitening effect on a couple of my teeth but to be honest, I think it was more the case of my eyes tricking me. And since the results are only supposed to last around 2 weeks, or up to 3 months, I am not impressed at all. I drink 2 cups of coffee every day. This just isn’t going to work for me TBH.
Ultimately, I used the kit for the recommended 6 consecutive days, 10 minutes each night plus additional top ops with the pen afterwards and my teeth aren’t any whiter. They certainly aren’t the two shades whiter, as seen with the professional shade tabs, that they guarantee on their website.
The photos you see are taken with the same DSLR camera, with the same settings and in the same lighting conditions to control how the teeth appear and give the truest representation of the results.
As you can tell, there is NO difference.
Why doesn’t it work?
To understand how whitening works, we have to understand what the ingredients are, how it works and its effect on teeth.
If you’d like to know more about how professional teeth whitening works or which option may be best for you, check out our blog here
Essentially, the ingredients that are in the HiSmile gel have little, to no whitening effect if you understand what these chemicals are and how they work. The concentration of each active ingredient, how the chemical needs to be formulated and the stability of the entire formulation all affect how well teeth whitening agents will work.
To be fair, sodium chlorite is in fact a bleaching agent. It’s used to bleach paper and it’s also used as a disinfectant in water and on meat, fresh fruit and vegetables and poultry to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.
However, if you simply do a little bit more research on how sodium chlorite actually works as a bleaching agent, it has to be manufactured at a certain pH (between 2-3) and at a certain concentration for it to be effective. Under these conditions, the gel would be highly unsafe to be used in the mouth and certainly damaging to your teeth!
I do also want to point out the fact that they don’t list the concentration of their “key ingredients”, is extremely worrying and very misleading. If you read the ingredient list of any professional whitening system, they ALWAYS state the concentration of the active ingredient. That’s because the concentration makes THE difference.
And this applies to everything! Say you baked a cake and one of the ingredients listed is sugar. If you made two of the same cake, one with 1 tsp of sugar and the other with 1 cup of sugar, the cakes are going to taste VERY different. That’s because the dose or concentration of the active ingredient makes all the difference! Yes, both cakes were made with sugar. But how much sugar?
How come results online look amazing?
Well, as I talk about it in my video, the angle at which photos are taken and the lighting that photos are taken in play a huge role in how the results look. These examples clearly show the different lighting conditions or “white balance” where you can see the colour of the lips and skin tone are also completely different.
Also, if you scrolled through these celebrities’ Instagram accounts, it would be impossible to find a before and after photo to document the results of using HiSmile. All you see is how white their teeth appear and how “cool” they look using the device.
Combined with the fact that they’ve been paid (A LOT of money i’d imagine) to promote the product, I’m extremely skeptical of whether HiSmile truly worked for them to the extent that they claim.
I want whiter teeth, what should I do then?
Well, first step, don’t buy Hi-Smile. I can’t recommend it because it didn’t work for me and the amazing results appear to be very misleading.
I also can’t recommend it from a professional point of view because I can’t verify the ingredients. Apart from them listing the ingredients, we have no idea about where they sourced or where it’s manufactured. As previously mentioned, they also don’t state the concentration of the “key ingredients”.
In comparison, the professional systems I recommend all have a track record of production of safe materials for use by professionals, they state the country of manufacture (Australia) and also the concentration of the active ingredient.
At the end of the day, when it comes to teeth whitening, it’s best to get a professional opinion. There are so many options that you can get either from your dentist or from the pharmacy or supermarket and it can be incredibly confusing.
Some people can safely use whitening toothpastes for the results they want, others need professional whitening systems that they use at home or that are performed in the dental chair.
To find out more about these options, click here. We wrote a whole blog about the different whitening options so that you can get the results you’re after.
Dr. Grant McGrath BDSc