Customer Reviews: Philips Sonicare Essence Power Toothbrush
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on March 25, 2006
The Sonicare Essence is my second Sonicare toothbrush. Previously, I used an Advance, which lasted about four and a half years. Prior to that, I had a different brand of electric brush. Some observations follow.

In general, any Sonicare would be a wise investment for you. No question, years of using it have saved me time and money at the dentist. By now you've seen from the other reviews how effective it is at cleaning your teeth. As I get older, I'm finding just how effective a job it also does at slowing my gum recession. I consider the sonic system superior over other brand's rotating mechanical approaches, which seemed to have more of an unpleasant taste and couldn't be used with just any brand or style of toothpaste, unlike the Sonicare.

The Essence and Elite models use the more slender heads versus the Advance. Slender is more comfortable as you maneuver the head around your mouth. Also, the slender heads tend to stay cleaner from build-up and residue, reducing the effort and need for periodic head cleaning. So far, I've found the slender heads to last as long as the Advance ones: about 6 months.

What about Essence versus Elite? Other reviews have summed it up. Sonicare (Philips, actually) segments Elite versus Essence by tossing in a couple of extra bells and whistles. I recommend that you seriously consider the Essence and put the dollars you save towards your first head replacements.

As far as usage goes, it's hard not to have an effective brushing technique with Sonicare. Place it against your teeth and gums at an angle and move it across the surfaces from one side of your mouth to the other. Be prepared for a moderately loud sonic tone in your skull, which can be a bit deceptive to others in the room with you because it's a much more muted noise to them (just in case they have the urge to speak to you while you brush). Yes, if you bump the brush plastic against your teeth, you'll get the rattle effect, which is a tad startling. With a little practice, that rarely happens unless you rush your brushing motions.

If you use a fluoride toothpaste and have a particular brushing pattern, say top-front at start, bottom-inside at finish, just reverse your pattern the additional times you brush each day. Why? To give the fluoride a chance to stay on your different teeth surfaces longer before you rinse it out.

Lastly, I make it a point to unplug my Sonicare between full charges and run it down to complete discharge. Even though rechargeable battery technology has reached the point where the "memory effect" we used to experience with the old Ni-Cad batteries isn't much of an issue anymore, I think this approach tends to keep the batteries conditioned and gets you a bit more mileage out of your brush handle. The sacrifice you make with this approach is that last brushing as the batteries drain to empty will likely be incomplete. So trot out the old manual standby to finish and then plug in the Sonicare to charge up. With my new Essence, I find I can go about a week this way, brushing twice a day.

I consider Sonicare one of those appliances that's a great investment and which will pay you dividends over the long haul. Highly recommended.

Update Summer 2008:
Over 2 years of use on this appliance and my satisfaction level remains high. Regarding head replacements, I do want to add one observation. If you go 6 months like I do before swapping heads, the firmness of the new head will feel especially pronounced, perhaps to the point of causing gum tenderness. In that case, back off the hand pressure you apply, and in about a week, your gums should acclimate. Enjoy!

Update #2, Spring 2010:
Over 4 years of regular use and my Sonicare Essence still performs quite well. I can't go nearly as long between charges now, down to about half a week, but I've adapted to the battery's diminishing ability to hold a charge. Being a devoted user, I find I really miss the Sonicare on the occasions where I don't have it with me. This is definitely the kind of appliance that sets a standard for what you come to expect and want, thus any other experience tends to pale in comparison.

For readers in Europe and other countries that have 220V electrical systems, note that the Essence 5300 has a charger that is for use only on 110-120V / 50-60Hz systems. If you get the Essence technical spec from the Philips web site, it confirms this restriction. One possible option may be the Sonicare model called "HealthyWhite," which can be found on European Philips sites and which contains a multi-voltage charger. I don't have any experience with that particular model though, so definitely research it further before you purchase.
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on November 3, 2005
I have researched the Sonicare toothbrushes and found the best value to be this new model, I am very happy with it. I read all the reviews for the other models,held them in my hand at the Department store and found the only difference between this and the higher priced models is in the style of the handle and the fancy lights showing the remaining battery life. Also the Elite models have the beep every 30 seconds during the 2 minute timer. This model has all the features I need: Easy reach brush(Uses same replacement heads as the Elite models),2-minute timer. Since these things only last a couple of years anway, what's the sense of spending another $30 or more for features you don't need to clean your teeth. Buy this toothbrush and use the money you saved to buy replacement heads. Update March 20,2012: Wow this thing lasted me 7 years!!! I just ordered another one from Amazon today!
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on July 8, 2008
Do yourself a favor and buy the Sonicare Flex Care. The newer Flex Care models are an upgrade without the screw-on design flaw of this Sonicare model. This model has a hideous design where the saliva and other brushing liquids seep down into the inner mechanisms of the hand piece and pool up in a really disgusting way and requires you to take it apart and clean off inner crevices made up of metal and plastic parts. The new design eliminates all that slew of slime. This brushing action is fantastic, just like the new one, but this design stinks...literally.
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on May 18, 2006
After our $30 Oral-B AdvancePower 950 TX, Model D9535 died (after only 2 months of use!), we wanted to make sure that our next powered toothbrush would be of higher quality. So my husband heavily researched all current powered toothbrush models and brands and the end result was our purchasing the Sonicare Essence 5300.

This toothbrush is absolutely AMAZING! It deeply cleans your teeth & stimulates your gums so very gently and leaves your mouth feeling like it was just professionally cleaned everytime!! It is such a pleasure to use, that my husband and I have both found that we brush twice as long! The 2 minute timer will shut off the toothbrush, but we will turn it back on and end up brushing until it goes off again.

We opted to get a model without the Quad timer, but I can see how it would be useful, as it would notify you when to go to a new section of your mouth! It is also fairly quiet when operating compared to the Oral-B model we were using.

The overall design of the toothbrush, base and brushhead holder is simple, minimal and clean and does not clutter up your counter too much. The brushhead holder holds 2 replacement heads and works perfectly for couples. Sonicare also color codes their replacement heads, so that when you buy a pack, one will have a grey ring and one a blue ring, so they can be used by 2 different people. Very convenient and helpful!

This toothbrush will leave your mouth very happy and healthy and is definitely worth the money!
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on May 9, 2006
I bought one of these on the recommendation of my dentist. I was rather skeptical, but he was so enthusiastic that it seemed worth a try. I'm glad I did! These 'sonic' toothbrushes get your teeth far cleaner than I ever managed with a manual toothbrush; it's almost like getting a professional cleaning. There are some odd things about it: You need to turn it on after putting it in your mouth to prevent the 'sonic' action from spraying water or toothpaste all over, and if you touch the hard plastic part of the brush end against a tooth there's a vibration/sound that's rather startling the first time it happens. But, you get used to it quickly enough. The way the brush works (by vibrating instead of you physically pushing it against your teeth and gums) also seems to be quite gentle on my gums.

The price is a little steep, but it really is a great product. The engineering is rather fascinating; there are no electrical or other connections (it recharges through an electromagnetic field instead of a wire) and the brush head itself actually works like a tuning fork, vibrating from ultrasonic sound produced by a device in the handle.

This is one of the best purchases I've ever made; I only wish I'd gotten one years ago.
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on June 8, 2007
For years I've gotten that disapproving look from my dental hygenist. You know the one. Usually follwed by "How much are you flossing?" That would usually be followed up by a dissertation about receeding gums. Well, no more. I invested in the Sonicare Essence 5300 and noticed the difference in the health of my gums in just a couple of weeks.

Yes, you'll still have to floss. But this makes general teeth care so much easier. Including the fact that it has a two minute self-timer for the optimal brushing time recommended by the American Dental Association.

I've never been one to spend too much on a toothbrush. After all, what difference does it make. Right? Well, it makes a big difference. No more of the dentist freebie brushes for me. No more of the battery powered specials either.

It holds a charge for a couple of weeks without a problem. The brush is easily replaceable.
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on March 10, 2006
My dental hygienist recommended one of the new generation of electric toothbrushes to help my personal situation, which involves deep pockets between the teeth and gums. I had already had oral surgery for these years ago, a miserable experience that I never want to go through again. Since my oral care routines aren't all that they should be (such as regular flossing) I decided to give this a try. The Sonicare Essence was less expensive than some other models that mostly include frills that I could live without.
Using this initially provides strange sensations that I got used to fairly easy. I didn't like the feeling of the shaft of the brush rattling against my teeth but have learned to mostly avoid that contact. The slender handle/body is easy to hold and maneuver. As with most other models it shuts off after two minutes, to encourage one to take enough time to do an adequate job assuming that you let it run for the full cycle. I should mention that I do a gentle Water Pic flushing beforehand to wash away trapped particles, so I believe my final results are skewed a bit. The fine vibrations of the Essence alone may not be too effective at clearing particles stuck between teeth. That said, the sonic action certainly should be highly effective for my intended target: the tooth/gum interface which is so critical. Gingivitis patients should not hesitate to buy this toothbrush; the cost is nothing compared to the benefits. The replacement brush heads are supposed to last 6 months, and considering the cost (I think something like $10-12 ea.) I would certainly hope they can last that long.
Summing up, I probably wouldn't have bought this or any other model if I hadn't been advised to do so but now wish I'd had it a long time ago. Haven't had it even 2 month but I can feel the difference it has already made and am looking forward to positive feedback at my next dental checkup.
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on September 27, 2008
Here are two things Phillips will not tell you about their Sonicare toothbrushes and heads.

1) The collar that holds the toothbrush to the handle will disintegrate in a couple of months. That's what prompted this review, because they would not replace mine after it fell apart two weeks after purchasing a replacement.

They manufacturer these things to disintegrate so you will continue to buy replacements - planned obsolescence. However, I suspect their China supplier is skimping on the plastic specifications and they fall apart in weeks instead of months. (Do you think China would really do that?)

2) UNPLUG your base until you need to charge the toothbrush. If you charge it up overnight, then unplug the base, the toothbrush will work for four brushings per day for about a month. Then, when it signals or stops, plug the base in to charge it.

This method will allow your toothbrush to work for five years or longer. If you keep the base plugged in all the time, these NiCad batteries develop memory and will stop functioning after 18 to 24 months.

A bonus, if you travel a lot as I do, you don't have to pack the charger. Just make sure it's topped off and you're good for a month's vacation.
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on December 27, 2005
Praveen wrote:

"Would would anyone pay 70 bucks for an electric toothbrush if they can get a similar one for $15 at a retail outlet? It seems like the manufacturers are more concerned about money, rather than customers."

Anyone would pay more because of one simple reason- it is vastly superior to a $15 electric brush. I am a dentist who regularly perscribes this brush for my patients, especially those who have been treated foe periodontal disease or who have difficulty cleaning their teeth due to crowding, orthodontics, or a physical disability. You simply can't do as good a job with a manual brush or a cheap electric brush. Braun Oral-B makes a very good brush also. It costs about the same as the Sonicare but I don't think it is quite as effective as the Sonicare.

Many patients have no difficulty cleaning their teeth with a manual brush. For them a cheap electric brush will do fine.

To say that the only reason Philips sells $100 toothbrushes when $15 toothbrushes are available is due to their greediness demonstrates a breathtaking level of ignorance.

Mercedes sells $100,000 cars even though good $15,000 cars are available. Off with their heads!
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on February 24, 2006
I replaced my older model Sonicare with this one (after about 2 years of use, the battery could barely get me through a full brushing session). The Essence 5300's angled neck and smaller head make it easier to reach those tight spots near the back molars. One feature I've never liked with the Sonicare, however, is the 2-minute automatic shutoff. I typically need 3 or 4 minutes to get the job done. Overall, the Sonicare has really helped my hygiene, and my dental charts are proof of that.
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