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There are a lot of cool things out there that make us wonder — do they really work? In our I Tried It series, we set out to use them in the real world and have determined that, in fact, they really do.
Remember the early ’00s, when those Crest Whitestrips hit the market, and suddenly, everyone cared about how white their smile was? That was the prominent wave of the bright smile — in my mind anyway — and we were stuck wearing those strips for half an hour.
The desire for a television-ready smile has since elevated, especially with celebrities taking to Instagram to endorse whitening kits. One brand that has probably shown up on your feed is HiSmile. It guarantees results up to eight shades whiter from six 10-minute sessions, and no sensitivity.
Celebrities from Kylie Jenner to Conor McGregor have partnered with HiSmile — which automatically made me skeptical. Many people would happily promote a product if the check were hefty enough. So in a world where #ad is a common caption element on Instagram, it’s hard to tell what truly works and what just met a celebrity’s minimum endorsement price tag.
When I got the chance to test out the HiSmile Teeth Whitening Kit for myself, I didn’t set my expectations too high. I’ve never had particularly stained teeth, but I sure do love my coffee and red wine. And there’s always room for improvement, right? Plus, if this would get me one step closer to being the youngest self-made billionaire, then I’m in.
One of the kits ($60) will get you the battery back with LED light, a mouth guard, and three gel syringes (that have two applications in each). The directions are simple: Attach the mouth guard to the LED light, evenly spread a quarter of the syringe on the top and bottom of the guard, put it in your mouth, and click the button. It seemed easy enough, and it was. So far so good!
I used HiSmile for 6 days in a row — as it suggests — before I went to bed so I wouldn’t screw up the process with all the coffee and tea I sip on throughout the day. I didn’t necessarily taste the gel, but you get the taste of it in your mouth, if that makes sense. It’s not pleasant, but it’s not particularly bad. And not to get gross, but I didn’t expect there to be so much saliva buildup. Laying down while whitening helped, and I was eventually fine to go about my life while using it. Both of these things just took a session or two to get used to, and then I didn’t have those issues.
It was helpful that the system shuts off on its own after 10 minutes, and you can replace the batteries on your own — which you shouldn’t need to do until about 6 months in, a HiSmile rep told Best Products. After those initial six sessions, it’s recommended that you get more gels separately and do one session every 2 weeks to keep up your results.
Now let me tell you how HiSmile worked for me — which is probably the whole reason you’re reading this. I was pleasantly surprised by the kit. I certainly didn’t experience an eight-shade improvement, but based on the little tooth chart provided, I would say that my teeth got at least two shades whiter. Not bad for a process that takes just 10 minutes a day for less than a week! I’ve kept up with the touch-up session every 2 weeks, and I always feel a bit more confident with my smile once I’m done.
When it came to sensitivity, I can’t say that I didn’t experience any. For the first 2 days, my teeth were a little sensitive, but nothing that interfered with eating. After that, I didn’t experience sensitivity from my sessions. Those touch-up sessions, however, do leave me a tiny bit sensitive for a few hours. But I just go to bed and am fine by morning, so it’s not a big deal.
From chatting with some of my coworkers, I learned that it isn’t uncommon to experience sensitivity from any whitening processes. And there’s data to back it up. According to the American Dental Association, a systematic review of whitening studies showed that the most common adverse effects from whitening in 18 out of 28 studies were tooth sensitivity and gingival irritation. One of those studies showed that 8 to 41% of participants who whitened their teeth experienced tooth sensitivity.
Did my teeth get whiter? Yes. Did the touch of sensitivity I experienced deter me from using the system? No. I could see myself doing another 6-day kit for a big event coming up for an extra bright smile. Am I Kylie Jenner yet?
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