With designs on democratising the teeth whitening industry, this new 30-minute £99 treatment (where your teeth are dried with a Dyson!) is set to roll out nationwide. We tried it out
Shopping centres have come a long way from the days when the only reason you’d set foot in one is to have a browse around Topshop (RIP) with your pals on a Saturday afternoon. These days, many of our health and wellbeing needs, from eyebrows to IV infusions, can be met at our local mall. Now that includes teeth whitening thanks to Sonisk Smile.
This is a professional teeth-whitening service that takes a mere 30 minutes and costs just £99. Founded by Dragon’s Den investor Touker Suleyman, who has partnered with veteran dentist Professor Dr Edward Lynch, the sleek, glossy London Westfield unit is the first of 12 sites set to roll out across the UK over the next three years.
With all treatments administered by General Dentist Council-registered dentists, it promises a service – either walk-in or pre-booked – that’s both more affordable and faster than traditional dental practice-led teeth whitening and more effective than shop-bought home kits and whitening strips. Plus it’s a somewhat safer bet than some of the mad TikTok teeth whitening hacks we’ve recently clocked – needless to say, using the Mr Clean Magic Eraser sponge designed for scrubbing the inside of your microwave on your gnashers isn’t a great idea. Ditto pimping your mouthwash with a dangerous cocktail of hydrogen peroxide antiseptic lotion and bicarbonate of soda. Please don’t try this at home!
How does Sonisk Smile teeth whitening work?
The solution is painted directly onto the teeth with your mouth propped open with a plastic device while you are in the chair. And there’s a rather unusual step where your teeth are blasted with a Dyson hairdryer (yes, really!)
There’s a take-home kit that works in the same way (minus the hairdryer). At no point do you use bespoke whitening trays, which presumably accounts for some of the money saving when compared with dental surgery whitening.
Our Sonisk Smile teeth whitening review
GTG contributor Marie Louise Pumfrey went to Westfield, London to try it out.
“I wanted whiter teeth because I was starting to feel self-conscious; I have to spend a lot of time looking at photos and videos of myself when creating Instagram content,” says Marie Louise, a PR and fashion influencer. “I’ve had the teeth whitening trays from my dentist before and trying to sleep in them for a week made me gag. I found them painful too. And afterwards I wasn’t that happy with the results. The ease and speed of this really appealed.”
On arrival, Marie Louise had a consultation with Sonisk Smile dentist – it is actually illegal for anyone who is not a dentist to undertake teeth whitening. Customers fill out a medical history form and the dentist enquires about any caps or veneers (the whitening process doesn’t work on these) or any oral concerns the patient has and then the dentist checks the customer’s teeth although they don’t do X-rays.
Marie Louise discussed the sensitivity of her teeth and how whitening might affect this: “When I posted my visit on Instagram afterwards, this was also the number one concern of women in the comments,” she says. She also flagged to the dentist that she had a few chips in the enamel on her teeth. “The dentist was very reassuring that the solution used was suitable for sensitive teeth and said that she would avoid putting it on the chips.
A device was inserted into her mouth to hold it open and the dentist painted on the solution, a six per cent hydrogen peroxide gel, the same strength that a conventional dental practice would use, which is then boosted by light (30 minutes of LED) and heat via a quick blast with a Dyson hairdryer. “I just lay back and read a magazine. It wasn’t uncomfortable, you just get a bit dribbly,” says Marie Louise.
The results were instant and there was no downtime. “My teeth were noticeably lighter, they didn’t hurt and I went straight off to have lunch with a friend.”
You are given a kit to take home – the plastic lip and cheek retractor plus more of the six per cent hydrogen peroxide solution and plastic mouth guard, which Marie Louise says keeps everything in place and stops you from dribbling too much. You’re told to use it twice a day for 30 minutes at least two hours apart for seven days to boost the initial results - you don’t need to do the heat and light bit at home. You can eat and drink anything you like - no ban on coffee or red wine - within 30 minutes.
“I’m now a few days in and I was slightly nervous the day after because my teeth felt a tiny bit sensitive so I didn’t do the at-home process,” says Marie Louise. “But the next day they were fine. I’ve built it into my daily routine – I do it in bed in the morning and just scroll through my phone and then just before going to sleep at night. You need to lie down – it’s impossible to sit up because of the dribbling. My teeth are still going a little bit lighter. I’m really pleased and feeling much more confident about my smile.”
How much does Sonisk Smile teeth whitening cost?
Sonisk is £99, while traditional dentist teeth whitening is usually several hundred pounds. My own dentist, for example, charges £350 to take moulds, create trays from those moulds and supply the bleaching solution. It’s a far more involved process.
Can I get teeth whitening on the NHS?
Nope. It’s considered cosmetic dentistry so you have to pay for it privately.
What do dentists say about teeth whitening?
Dr Sahil Patel, Cosmetic Dentist & Founder of Marylebone Smile Clinic, says, “This service is certainly making whitening more affordable and accessible.” And the hydrogen peroxide solution used here is, he says, similar to that usually used in dental practices. He points out you do need to be diligent about completing the at-home element of the process for the best results. “The results will likely relapse with time unless the solution is used for several applications over a period of weeks. If this is done, then it would be comparable to the gold standard method in dental practices. But we usually find better results with night whitening over daytime whitening. This is likely because of the longer exposure to the gel and limited movement while sleeping.”
Dr Alaa Ati, a cosmetic dental surgeon and facial aesthetics expert believes that the best way to approach any teeth whitening is with a thorough examination first. “Consult your dentist, who will always carry out a comprehensive dental examination to check the state of your oral health. This will involve a clinical assessment of the teeth, gums and soft tissues inside the mouth as well dental X-rays. This helps rule out any dental problems such as gum disease or dental decay which can often be present without the symptom of pain or the obvious hole in the tooth.
"Your dentist will be able to diagnose and manage any dental problems prior to starting the cosmetic treatment and if deemed suitable, prescribe a whitening program that is tailored to your needs. This ensures the whitening system is safe, reliable and driven by clinical evidence, but most importantly, your teeth and gums are healthy.”
Sonisk’s co-founder Professor Dr Edward Lynch says: “Sonisk Smile assesses each patient for suitability (or not) for teeth whitening after consultation with our dentist, who will always carry out a comprehensive dental examination to check the state of your oral health, which is appropriate as recognised by the General Dental Council.”
Marie Louise remains thrilled with her results and you can’t argue with Touker Suleyman’s business nous – it seems like walk-in whitening may well be the future.