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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Rotadent Review

Just on a review tear lately =)

Over the years, I've used many automated toothbrushes...it all started when the first of my 3 root canals told me that my dental hygiene was really lacking and I really should do something about it. So I've used the Oral-B, the SonicCare, and now, the Rotadent. The Rotadent was recommended to me by my dentist, and I cannot say if it is because they make a lot of money selling the brush heads (they claim they make no money from the brushes themselves, and I'm inclined to believe them), or if it is because it genuinely cleans better than the other power brushes out there. As my sonicare was getting long in the tooth, and I wanted to replace it with something else anyway, I decided to try the Rotadent. Oh yes, I had also gotten orthodontics at this point, and the Rotadent came with brush tips that catered specifically to that.

The rotadent is basically a rotary toothbrush. It doesn't do anything spectacular that other automated rotary toothbrushes like the Oral-B Triumph does, but there is one nice thing about it. It comes with a few different brush heads, 4 of them to be exact. 2 of them are your normal flat head ones, and two of them comes with an elongated tip. It is the brush heads with the tips that kinda made me really want to try them out.

My braces are the normal ones you see in the pictures. Wires with brackets glued onto the teeth...The elongated tips allows me to get underneath the wires, or between the teeth, or point it straight down the gum...and it does feel cleaner. The dentist told me that using the elongated tip is almost like flossing, and I can believe it as it does get to spots a normal toothbrush can never reach.

The bad side of the Rotadent? Its expensive. The unit itself is cheap, 99 dollars and it comes with 4 tips. The tips themselves? 20 bucks each from the dentist. That's why I say I can believe my dentist when she told me she makes no money from the unit. They make it all up on the tips! =) Even online shopping can only get it down to 15 bucks a pop. The same price that pro-dentec, the manufacturers (or distributors) of the Rotadent sells them for.

So I've been using it for a year, and inevitably, it broke. It started to take forever to charge, wouldn't hold a charge (the brushing action would feel slow), and took forever to start up (I believe the record to start up once was over 30 minutes)

Called the support #, went through really basic troubleshooting (its a toothbrush! what else is there to troubleshoot when I tell you it doesn't turn on?). The lady on the line, Rhonda, was really pleasant though, and sent me a replacement power switch. The power switch apparently is just a magnet that flips something on the other side of the brush so that power starts coursing through the handle, spinning the brush tip. It took 7 days for the power switch to arrive, I gave it a chance, switching switches, and still no-go. Another 30 minutes on the phone with Rhonda, and she is sending me a new handle and a/c charger.

Say yay for another positive story of customer service!

Supposedly, Pro-Dentec warranties the brush for the lifetime of it, and I'll see in another year's time if they are serious about it.

One last thing, the only big minus I can see about this toothbrush is that the charging element is exposed. Instead of a conductive base like all other toothbrushes, it is simply a plug that goes into the underneath of the brush...so the element that gets charged is exposed. I haven't died or got shocked by it yet, and I'm a shower-brusher....and I'm sure its 50% of the reason why the brush died faster, but for crying out loud. Its a tooth brush. Its meant to get wet, either in your mouth, or when you're washing it.

So I don't feel too bad about getting a new brush head.

All in all, I can recommend this without too much hesitation. Its generally cheaper than a soniccare or Oral-B when you first buy it, but the tips will kill you. Other brands sell 2 tips for the same price Pro-Dentec sells one of theirs for. So you have to make that determination yourself.

17 comments:

Brandi Wentland said...

Thank you for your review. I'm getting brackets on today and was debating as to whether I would purchase it or not. You gave me enough to make a decision upon.

Thanks Again!

Adam Tschorn said...

I was experiencing intermittent power with my Rotadent and, after reading your review, I removed the switch myself (it slides off rather easily once you know it is supposed to), scrubbed the gunk off the magnetic contact with a stiff brush and now it works like a charm!
Thanks,
Adam

Sy said...

Yah, i should make an update on this. I've actually since moved on from the Rotadent, but I might go back to it. The math dictates that I should simply just buy a new set every year instead of just investing in the brushes. Look for an update to this review!

And thanks for the kind words.

Unknown said...

I read your comments with a lot of interest since we bought 2 sets in the last 18 mos... I find it is great for the gums but honestly spending $20 on a brush every 30-60 days is ridiculous. Both my husband and I try to be careful with them but their lifespan is too short. It's not the switch but the brushheads that go bad... what can you do ???we are going to be forced back to another brand. It's a shame this company cannot tackle this issue.

Sy said...

I agree 100% with you. Its the reason why I have been flip flopping between this and the sonic-care.

Please check back for a redux on the rotadent in a few weeks once i get another set.

Atheist Confessions said...

Did I miss the update, or is it still coming? I am pondering buying a rotadent next week... my sonicare just died, and I want to get whatever I need for my poor gums. Realistically, I'm simply not going to floss every night, and would like to avoid another $2000 dental bill.
Thanks for the review!

Unknown said...

Hello, I've been using a Rotadent for over 5 years. I just got my braces off and the Rotadent worked great with braces. As with any rechargeable Nicad battery, on occasion you have let the battery FULLY DISCHARGE in order for the battery to have maximum life. I've broken my handle and Pro-Dentec has glady replaced it. As for the $20.00 per cleaning head. I've order mine online and I'v had my Dentist order them for me at about $9.00 each. I have a black handle one so the tips aren't stocked at the Dentists' office.

Josh said...

Same here, I've used a rotadent for at least 2 years now and my denstist orders the tips for me @ about $12 i believe.

Sy said...

hmm, maybe i just had a crappy dentist, but whenever i ordered mine, they were 15 to 20 bucks a piece.

Guess i'll have to do some comparitive shopping.

Casper said...

You can buy your brushes from Athenanordic.se. They cost 37 Swedish crowns = 5 USD for a three-pack of brushheads.

Actually I think that company invented the Rotadent, but I am not sure.

They also replaced a worn-out adapter for me at no charge. The plastic had become brittle and started to fall apart.

I had my Rotadent for 9 years before the battery started to be weak. Then I bought a new battery (standard component) in an electronics shop and soldered it on. It cost me less than 10 dollars. It is something everyone who has tried soldering can do.

For all rechargeable batteries (or definately for NiCd-batteries) remember to always FULLY DECHARGE before you recharge. And then FULLY RECHARGE. This prolongs the lifespan of a battery. This process is especially important th first few times. After mine is beginning to run too slowly for brushing my teeth, I will leave it to run out before I charge it. This means I may have to use a manual toothbrush 1-2 times a month, but it is OK.

Unfortunately, the adapter is not made with an electronic fundtion as to avoid overcharging, but I have managed quite well anyway.

I am extremely satisfied with it and I couldn't live without it. Other toothbrushes are either not cleaning well enough or too tough to your teeth.

I use the flat and the semi-pointed brushes and change them once a month. I should probably do it every three weeks, but it is not essential. I would say people with normal teeth (no braces) don't need the very pointed brushes.

Unknown said...

I work for a dentist and Rotadent USED to be a HONEST company. Their NOT antmore . They state they have a lifetime warranty. Thats not true. They WILL NOT replace the whole machine for you if something happens. They give you a customer service number and then from there they trouble shoot the problem over the phone and try to figure out what part needs replaced and then they mail it too you and YOU have to replace it. That does not sounf like COSTOMER SERVICE to me. I WILL NOT recommend them to any more of my patients.

Upset Office Manager

Unknown said...

I've been using the same brushheads for going on 4 months. How? I only use the rotadent once a day in the morning. Then I use a waterpic and standard brush at night. And I clean my brushheads regularly to keep them turning.

You don't NEED to buy new brushheads every 30 days. Rotadent recommends that so they can keep you spending money that you don't need to.

I strongly recommend using a waterpic. FAR better than flossing, and your gums will thank you.

Unknown said...

My wife'sdentist recommended a rotodent. I went to athenanordic.se and found I have a problem since I don't speak swedish. Is there a way i can order the heads by a package in spite of my limitation?

Casper said...

tag1942: Maybe you could call them and order by phone. You'll need to transfer the payment to their bank account, because they don't take foreign credit cards.

They are very nice and have treated me very well. They have even replaced years-old items for me, even if the guarantee was long expired. They have also sold me things at the old price, a few weeks afer they raised their prices. I pay no shipping to Denmark, but maybe you'd need to pay for more long-distance shipping.

Unknown said...

I just bought a rotadent today, and when i asked my dentist how often i needed to change the heads, he said every 4-6 months should be fine, depending on how it feels.

m2 said...

I had two units fail with just months of use (one 2 months, another 5 months). They just stopped working. If you did not buy it in a Dental Office, you won't get any warranty. Zila Rota Dent will not stand behind its products, even when clearly defective. I had an older model and it worked. Not true anymore.

Unknown said...

I'm using Rotadent that was given to me by my dentist (he got it from Rotadent as a marketing sample). That was back in 1999 and the only thing I replaced is the battery and of course the brushes and yes, I'm using still the very same one !!! To save on the brushes in evening I use just the one with short tip for hard to get places and back of teeth. After breakfest just the regular hand (manual) tooth brush...
In short - that is 20 years of healthy and original set of teeth...
And that makes me and my dentist very happy !!