Can the LED teeth whitening kits by HiSmile, glowup. and SmileDirectClub compete with established teeth whitening brands? Do they work, and what do they cost? If your teeth are starting to look a little … less pearly white after a few years of enjoying coffee, red wine (or life!) read on and find out if these new options can help you.
A few years ago you had to go to the dentist to brighten your smile. But, then Crest Whitening Strips came along and introduced the idea of DIY teeth whitening. (OK, maybe there were some super strange old-timey products back in the day).
A new crop of direct-to-consumer options have hit the scene offering a more effective (and less painful) solution. Want to experience the latest in teeth whitening technology? LED mouthguard kits are more intensive than regular whitening strips and becoming just as popular.
Believe it or not, Silicon Valley types are noticing that people want brighter teeth and are getting into the game. Some of the most notable technology startups offering new options include HiSmile (us.hismileteeth.com), glowup. (heyglowup.com), and SmileDirectClub (smiledirectclub.com). In this article we compare the top LED teeth whitening treatments so you can choose the right one for you.
How are HiSmile, glowup. and SmileDirectClub different from traditional whitening options?
It’s helpful to know what you’re getting, so let’s cover the difference between using these new products and other methods of whitening your teeth. Many people decide to get professional teeth whitening from a dentist. The dentist does the work for you, has the expertise, and uses clinical grade products to get you results — but you end up spending over $600, dealing with the hassle of getting to the dentist, and spending over an hour of your day listening to smooth jazz. Long-story short: it tends to work, but the high-price tag doesn’t work for everyone. (Side note: smooth jazz does nothing to relax me anymore; I associate it with teeth pain.)
Alternatively, dentists now offer at-home options that let you brighten your teeth yourself in the comfort of your own bathroom. These still still typically costs up to $400 and requires a trip to the dentist to get a dental mold / impression so they can make your customized trays. More smooth jazz…
Finally, there’s a range of over-the-counter options that you can buy at a pharmacy, retail store, or online without ever speaking to a dentist. At around $40 to $100 per package, they surely are a lot more affordable than “professional”, dentist-prescribed versions, but they’re generally not as effective and take longer to work. These options come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including trays with gel, whitening strips, toothpastes, and other options such as gums, pens, or mouthwashes. Crest Whitening Strips is a good example. The different choices vary in how they lighten teeth, and some work better than others. In general, all have mixed results – and can sometimes lead to sensitivity or pain.
One of the main factors that sets professional whitening apart from over-the-counter options is the use of a curing light or laser. Dentists use this to activate the peroxide in the bleaching agent, which yields optimal results. Over-the-counter treatments used to use only peroxide (or maybe an abrasive) to work on stains. Only evil geniuses and dentists could afford to offer lasers.
Today, though, we now have new LED brightening solutions from HiSmile, glowup., and SmileDirectClub. These players claim to offer the best of both worlds: professional dental treatment efficacy at an over-the-counter price – all without ever having to step foot in a dentist’s office (no smooth jazz!). Do I have your attention yet?
How Do LED Teeth Whitening Treatments Work?
In fact a smartphone is all you’ll need to use these products once you receive your kit in the mail. Either Android or iPhone will do. If you’re one of the remaining few with a flip phone, you can still use HiSmile, which uses a battery instead of a smartphone as the power source for the LED light.
Here’s how these new LED teeth brighteners work:
- First you order your kit through the website of whichever company you choose.
- You may need to answer some questions to personalize the process, depending on the company.
- Feel free to listen to smooth jazz to get you in the mood.
- You’ll be sent your kit, which will conveniently come to your mailbox or doorstep, saving you a trip to the dentist. Each kit includes a whitening gel, a mouth tray, and an LED light component.
- The process of whitening varies slightly by company, but in every case you start by brushing your teeth.
- Next, you apply the whitening gel to either your teeth or the tray, before powering on the LED light — either by hooking it up to your smartphone or pressing the battery-operated unit.
- You’ll leave the tray in your mouth for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Finally, you will rinsing out your mouth and washing the tray.
That’s it, you’re done until the next treatment. To see the most robust results, you’ll repeat the process daily for about a week, but most start to see gradual improvements day by day. It’s worth reiterating that the true innovation that LED light that comes with these direct-to-consumer choices helps the process work faster and more effectively than over-the-counter treatments that don’t use the light.
Now you know how your smartphone can help you get a better smile, without a fancy instagram filter!
HiSmile vs glowup. vs SmileDirectClub: Which One is Best?
Given that these three options all work in pretty much the same way (gel + tray + light) and claim to show results in essentially the same amount of time (6-7 days), why should you choose one company over the other? Is one the clear leader amongst the three? The answer is a bit nuanced, but ultimately you should pick the one you think will best fit your needs. It’s a personal decision that we’ll try to make a bit easier for you with this comparison. Use this chart to compare HiSmile, glowup., and SmileDirectClub head-to-head.
LED Teeth Whitening Treatment Comparison
|Whitening Kit Price||$79.00 (includes 2 treatments)||$60||$59.99|
|Application Method||Gel, pen, and tray||Gel and tray||Gel, pen, and tray|
|Time Frame of Optimal Results||1 week||6 days||6 days|
|Time Spent Each Day||10 minutes (two 5-min sessions per day)||16 minutes||10 minutes|
|Power Source||Smartphone adapter||Smartphone adapter||Battery (included)|
|Pain Level Claims||Not specified||Pain-free||No pain or sensitivity|
|Formula||Vegan Soy, Lactose, and Gluten-free||Vegan Cruelty-free, natural ingredients||Not Vegan Cruelty-free, natural ingredients|
|Refund Policy||Only specifies a refund if the product is defective||Satisfaction with the results or a free kit or your money back||Guarantees at least 2 shades whiter in 30 days or your money back|
LED Teeth Whitening Treatment Comparison
Now that you have a lay of the land, let’s dive a bit deeper into what makes each company unique.
glowup. also claims to use all-natural ingredients within its formula. These include aloe leaf juice, pomegranate seed extract, chamomile flower, and menthol mint. Does this stuff make a difference? I have no idea.
This is the best bet if you are not sure if any of these teeth whitening options are going to work, because they offer a money back guarantee. You can get a free kit or your money back if you’re unsatisfied. No questions asked. So if you are unsure, go with glowup.
HiSmile is a great option for people who want to have a teeth brightening routine – they offer several customizable subscriptions plans that can keep you in stock, and save you money.
SmileDirectClub – Bright On™
SmileClubDirect’s “bright on” premium teeth whitening costs more than the other two options, but it includes two full treatments plus an extra pen, which is a better value in the long run. The directions say to use it five minutes, twice a day, while the other options require a longer session but only once a day.
What’s different about “bright on” is that it uses gel pens instead of syringes. You might find it easier and less messy to apply the gel directly to your teeth with the pen instead of using the syringe to apply it to the tray like you do with the other options. This might help you spread the whitening gel more evenly because you’re applying it directly to your teeth.
You also have the option to buy whitening pens and a new LED accelerator light a la cart if needed.
This is the best option for people who are committed to getting their teeth a lighter shade, and who want to spend up for two treatments right now.
These three direct-to-consumer teeth whitening companies offer very comparable products with only slight differences, most of which come down to how you use them or price. Overall, I think it will help you to compare the features of each kit with the chart and overview above. See which one fits your needs best and give it a try. If you are worried about not liking the treatment, try glowup. since they offer a money back guarantee. If you can afford the higher price, go with SmileDirectClub to get two times the treatment. And if you want to sign up for a subscription, try HiSmile.
If you end up trying any or have had prior experiences with these new direct-to-consumer whitening products, let us know in the comments below!