This $200 Toothbrush Might Actually Be Worth It

Philips reached out before I left for Hawaii for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Summit event and asked if I’d be interested in trying out their suped-up Sonicare DiamondClean Smart toothbrush on my trip. I was hesitant, at first as I use a manual toothbrush and really am not sure why people really need electric ones, but I said: “Sure, why not. I wonder what a $200 toothbrush is like, anyway.”

This is the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart.

Philips Sonicare Smart

Firstly, it doesn’t look or feel like any other toothbrush I’ve ever used.

The model I have is technically the Philips Sonicare Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9300 and it comes with the toothbrush itself, three different heads (each one is for different types of cleaning, which will get to in a sec), a wireless charger that attaches to the bottom of a glass cup that it comes with that you rest the toothbrush in, and a slick leather carrying case for when you’re on the road.

It comes in four different colors, the traditional dentist sterile white, a matte black (which I was sent and have to admit looks awesome), a pink, and a dark grey.

How is it “smart”?

Now, at this point, you might be thinking, “Okay, seems like an albeit nicer looking toothbrush, but what makes it ‘smart’?” Oh, hold on to your teeth people, this gets intense.

Firstly, the three heads it comes with are designed differently for different modes. We have a plaque control, whitening, and gum care brushes that are designed to be used for different methods of oral care (i.e. the gum care has softer bristles so you don’t cut your gums, the whitening one is a bit more firm to help remove stains, etc.)

Now, each of these brushes also has a small microchip inside that communicates with the handle when attached and allows the toothbrush to actually recognize which one is being used (how often it’s been used and when you need to replace it, which is clever from a business perspective for Philips, but also hygienic really), and it can automatically adjust the intensity, as well as provide a full-on routine for you to do. Let me explain.

So, let’s say you connect the whitening head. It’ll then automatically start a 2 min and 40-sec routine in which you brush your top right, then top middle, top left, bottom right, bottom middle, and bottom left sections of your mouth each for 20 secs (it gives a small vibration to let you know when to swap). Then, you’ll notice the brushing/vibration pattern changes the way it sounds and feels as it changes to “polish mode” where you are supposed to just polish the front of your top teeth and bottom teeth each for 20 secs before it’ll automatically shut off.

Ridiculous? Maybe. Did my teeth feel amazing afterward? Absolutely.

Now, that alone might be enough intelligence from your toothbrush, but if you really want to nerd out (obviously I do), we can take the smart toothbrush thing to up to eleven.

The toothbrush is Bluetooth enabled which allows you to connect it to the Philips Sonicare app. What does a smart toothbrush app do, you ask? Well, it’s kind of like having a dentist watch you brush and politely tell you what you’re doing wrong. Let me show you.

Using the app, you get a 3D mouth map showing all of your teeth. Once you start using the toothbrush in any of the routines it’ll actually show in what section of your mouth you are brushing and do things like telling you to slow down, use less pressure, and it’ll even tell you if you missed a spot. Now, while I can already hear some of you grumbling about not wanting to be bothered about this, frankly, I eventually found myself starting to think of it as a game and wanted to see if I could beat my last brushing (did I mention I’m a nerd?).

It comes with a dentist?!

Besides the coaching/gamification aspects, it actually will save the data for you and, get this, it lets you share how well you brushed with your dentist if you want. The latest feature in the app gives you direct access to a dentist anytime, anywhere so you can ask an urgent or general oral health question without having a schedule an appointment.

You can contact a dentist if you’re having a specific issue and/or have general oral health questions. This teledentistry feature allows you to take app-guided photos of your teeth, and, within 6 hours or less, a licensed dental professional will respond with recommendations. You can even get a complete checkup through the app with a full-blown evaluation, including a report and next steps, a treatment plan, and estimated costs, etc. – all within 24 hours.

Each of these reports cost money, but, it’s a lot cheaper than going to the dentist. The quick recommendations require a small fee per report, while the complete care option includes evaluation costs within an annual fee – all for less than $50. Compare that to your usual copays and it’s a good deal (let alone if you’re someone like me, who doesn’t have dental insurance right now, it’s a huge price difference for a checkup).

I don’t need all this smart stuff.

So maybe you’re overwhelmed with all of this stuff, that’s fine. None of this has to be used, you can manually select the cleaning mode, intensity level etc. all using the hardware buttons and that motor in there is powerful enough that it feels like you’re getting a cleaning from the dentist each time.

The battery also lasts up to 14 days of using it 2x a day which I appreciate since I travel a lot and that allows me to just bring the brush and no charger (saving room for my other 7 million chargers I carry around, of course).

So, let’s talk price.

Now, the heads aren’t too bad since they only need replacing every 3 months (as recommended by the American Dental Association), and you can find them for under $10/head. But the brush itself? There’s no other way to put it, it’s $200.

Now, the question of whether this is worth it to you or not comes down to a few things. Firstly, if you are the type of person who doesn’t brush enough or properly and the smart features get you to do so then $200 is a lot less than the cost of dental work. Secondly, this toothbrush might also be for you, if you happen to be the type of person who feels that any car can get you from point A to point B, but a more expensive car might do so with more enjoyment/faster?

And finally, those teledentistry features are actually a big deal. Now, sure, they can’t offer things like fixing your cavity over email, obviously, but getting checkups with it can definitely catch an issue before it gets to the point where you need to go to the dentist office and potentially save you some money there.

And the teledentistry features are super affordable. So even if you use them a few times a year, it pays for the toothbrush (and potentially a lot more depending on the situation).

What do you guys think?

You can find more info on the toothbrush as well as the cheapest price I could find on it, here

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