The science says it works, but it doesn’t feel like it
Brushing with Emmi-dent requires a very unorthodox approach and one that most dentists don’t openly promote, despite some evidence to support its effectiveness.
It can technically remove plaque from the teeth without you having to brush them.
It minimizes the potential abrasion to your teeth and gums, but it comes at a cost.
- Not abrasive on the teeth or gums
- Well thought out design elements
- Ultrasonic technology
- 2 cleaning modes
- Good battery life
- Quiet in operation
- Looks dated and feels cheap
- No pressure sensor
- Limited benefit to ultrasound technology
- Not widely stocked
Take a look at these brushes too
The Platinum is one of the only options you have if you want an ultrasonic electric toothbrush.
It does exactly what it is designed to do, but the M8S from Megasonex is a better looking brush with a better box contents for similar money.
Unless you specifically want an ultrasonic toothbrush, then the Smart 15000 from Oral-B is a much more affordable brush with dentist recommended features that cleans the teeth well.
It works differently to ultrasonic (we explain how here), but you will be over $100 better off by opting for it.
|Oral-B Smart 1500 - Blue||15,630 Reviews||$79.18||View on Amazon|
How the Emmi-Dent Platinum looks, feels and works
On quick glance, you wouldn’t question the Platinum for being anything other than a regular electric toothbrush. But, although it looks similar, it functions differently.
Ultrasonic toothbrushes work differently
Built into each brush head is a ‘piezo chip’.
This works in conjunction with the piezo ceramic disc in the toothbrush to generate and transmit the ultrasonic waves down through the bristles of the toothbrush head and into the teeth and gums.
These waves can travel as much as 12mm below the gumline to disrupt the bacterial chains that make up plaque.
Compared to a typical ‘sonic’ toothbrush that offers in the region of 15-40,000 bristle movements per minute, the piezo technology is generating 96,000,000 pulses per minute.
These waves create nanobubbles which essentially explode and create a blast that breaks the bonds that hold the molecules together. They are being forced apart, disrupting and making the plaque no longer harmful.
The technology was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the early 1990s it operates at a safe low-power medical frequency of 1.6MHz.
No need to move the toothbrush to brush the teeth
One of the main appeals is that you don’t actually need to move the bristles of the toothbrush across the tooth and gum surface like you might with a regular manual or even electric toothbrush.
Plaque is natural and everyone has it, but we don’t want it to build up. We want to remove it. Manual movement of the brush across the teeth will disrupt plaque and break it up. This is the whole point of toothbrushing.
Because the ultrasound waves created can break up the bacterial chains, the mechanical action that comes from moving the bristles across the tooth surface is no longer needed.
The waves can actually penetrate deeper than most toothbrush bristles too, as it works through the soft tissues in the mouth.
Less wear on the teeth & gums
Moving bristles across the tooth surface does cause some wear or abrasion. Typically, with good quality bristles this abrasion is low, but it does occur.
Repeated abrasion over many years can potentially have negative consequences for your teeth.
Emmi-dent focus on the fact that you don’t need to have this bristle movement and thus there is no abrasion to the tooth and gum surfaces.
In particular circumstances, this can be very beneficial.
But, for the vast majority of users, I am not sure this abrasion is of major concern.
Assuming you adopt the correct techniques then years of brushing isn’t going to lead to any significant long term damage to your teeth. If it were, we would know by now. Nylon bristled brushes have been in use for hundreds of years.
How you use the toothbrush is different
The approach you take to brushing the teeth with Emmi-Dent is different.
You first need to brush or apply a small layer of toothpaste to the teeth.
It is recommended to use their specially formulated toothpaste which is supposed to help maximize the effectiveness of the toothbrush and plaque removal. A tube is included with the brush.
The paste is enriched with microbubbles. When the waves hit the bubbles, they destroy their structure. This results in a suction effect. This removes the biofilm and plaque.
I question how necessary this is, as it is my understanding toothpaste technically isn’t required. Do your own research and make your own informed decision on this.
You then place the toothbrush against the teeth. Typically the head will cover 2-3 teeth at a time.
You then move the brush after about 6 seconds to the next 2-3 teeth.
You repeat this all around the mouth and across the various tooth surfaces. This takes about 3 minutes in total.
Once complete, you make a few quick passes of the brush across the teeth, brushing like you would with a manual brush to remove the now disrupted plaque chains.
It is then advised to rinse and spit.
At no point during the main brushing do you need to move the brush up and down, in circular motions or even hold it at 45 degrees to the gumline.
You just rest the bristles on the teeth and move.
Interestingly, competitor Megasonex actually recommends brushing as you would with a manual toothbrush. Although the science says you don’t need to, I think they are focusing on achieving maximum beneficial effects.
Replacement brush heads are needed
Despite the limited use of the bristles on the brush head, it is advised to replace these every 3 months.
I am not entirely sure how necessary this is as the bristles are in reality doing very little work. They can’t be worn at the same rate as regular toothbrush bristles are.
It likely has something to do with the plaque/bacteria that get trapped in the bristles. At least that is my best guess.
It also begs the question somewhat why emmi-dent offer different styles of brush head. They offer a standard and compact sized head. This makes some sense for different sized mouths. But, do we need a flat, wavy and a braces brush head?!
It is worth noting that the connectors on these brush heads are like nothing else I have seen.
They have 4 pins on them that fit into the handle. They connect only 1 way.
The connection is used to ensure effectiveness and I believe it also prevents aftermarket heads being made available.
Backed by clinical study
Quite a few studies have been conducted to show the benefits of ultrasonic brushes, particularly compared to manual toothbrushes.
Most have shown how they have positive impacts on oral health and plaque reduction.
There are not really many studies that compare ultrasonic with regular sonic or oscillating and rotating brushes.
And there are far fewer studies supporting ultrasonic brushes than there are regular electric toothbrushes.
The parent company behind emmi-dent has clearly invested in research with several pieces coming from ORMED Institute for Oral Medicine at the University of Witten/ Herdecke to show how ultrasound brushes are effective.
My interpretation of the studies that have been conducted is that whilst ultrasonic waves are proven to be effective in disrupting plaque, there isn’t yet evidence to really suggest that such products are so good you really should switch.
The results are impressive considering there is no mechanical action, but in most cases, the results are not clinically significant.
In a 2018 study by Gaengler et al, they confirmed earlier results that plaque reduction was achieved with ultrasonic toothbrushing, and the advantage of the ultrasonic brush was the wear free action. This study was funded by emmi-dent’s parent company.
Interestingly, a few years earlier in 2015, Hashizume and Dariva confirmed that a toothbrush with both sonic and ultrasonic vibrations did result in a lower bacterial count compared to ultrasonic only.
Given the lack of study and evidence of clinical effectiveness over existing tools, it is likely the reason why few dental professionals actually promote or recommend ultrasonic over conventional tools.
3 minute cleanings rather than 2
It is advised to brush for 3 minutes in total, 2 times per day. This is different to the usual 2 minutes twice a day. The different brushing approach has a part to play here.
It will vary slightly from 1 person to another, but to cover all the teeth properly, I felt like I need to position the brush about 16-18 times per arch depending on how thorough I was. That’s up to 36 times per brushing session.
If you stick to the pacing the brush offers, that totals 216 seconds of 3 and a half minutes. That’s 30 seconds than suggested.
Possibly I could drop that down a smidge as I was probably recovering sections as I repositioned, but I wanted to ensure a thorough clean.
It isn’t a huge time difference, but something to bear in mind if you are considering switching from a manual brush.
Unlike regular toothbrushing, the over-brushing argument doesn’t quite apply.
That said, although there is no evidence I know of, I don’t think you are going to get much benefit to brush for longer than 3 minutes. If you did, the level of return per minute spent would be much less.
The pacing is different
As a consequence of the technique, the pace of the brushing is different.
You won’t break the mouth up into 4 sections (quadrants) and spend 30 seconds on each. Nor 6 sections (sextants) and spend 20 seconds on each.
Instead, you spend approximately 6 seconds per 2-3 teeth, per surface.
The brush actually gives an audible notification after 6 seconds which is your cue to move the brush to the next 2-3 teeth. I like this.
Automatic power off, after 6 minutes
The toothbrush automatically powers off, if left switched on, after 6 minutes. Given the recommended brushing time is 3 minutes, setting it to 3 would seem more appropriate to me.
But here is the odd thing. This doesn’t work in the ultrasonic mode only.
If there was a mode to have automatic power off I would have suggested it was this one. Because it is silent in operation it is very easy to forget it is switched on.
2 cleaning modes are available
It comes with 2 cleaning modes although the company doesn’t really shout about this.
When you first power the brush on, gentle vibrations are generated and passed through the bristles. Little comment is made on their website, or in the instructions about the vibrations. I do believe these to be sonic vibrations based on the movement, sound and sensation produced.
It isn’t specified anywhere how many vibrations per minute, but I can tell it is very low. If I were to guess I would say in the region of 5-7,000 vibrations per minute. It feels very gentle and ultimately quite weak.
I did reach out to the company, to get some clarity. They acknowledge it generates vibrations, but apparently this is just to show the brush is turned on. They have no effect on the cleaning. They didn’t specify how many vibrations it produces.
I am not sure what the point of these really are when the company advocates for ultrasound only and no abrasion from brush bristles.
If it is, as they suggest just to show the brush is on, why have the ultrasound only mode?
I would argue the bristles vibrate enough to have a small cleaning effect with the most minimal of abrasion. You can feel these doing something when you use it for sure.
In this mode, at 6 second intervals, the pacer kicks in to tell you to move the brush from one set of teeth to another.
At the same time, the LEDs move through a sequence on the handle too. These LEDs run through a sequence every 3 seconds. 1 LED, 2 LEDs, 3 LEDs. So for every 6 second pacing, the 3 LEDs get lit twice.
The second mode is ultrasound only.
There are no bristle movements. There is no sound. You wouldn’t know it was even functioning other than the light on the brush handle.
You use the brush in the same way in this mode, you just don’t get the audible alerts to move every 6 seconds. The LEDs on the handle do light up though.
The LEDs are not easy to see when in use due to their position. They are facing you, so even in a mirror it isn’t ideal.
Why is the pacing different in this mode?
You can’t quickly switch between the 2 modes. You don’t power the brush on, press a switch and you are on the next mode.
Instead what you have to do is press and hold on the power button for 9-10 seconds. As you do, the brush will power on and then give you a confirmation LED after the seconds have passed.
It will then be set to the other mode.
To change back to the previous mode, you repeat this task.
Once the mode is changed, it will remember and default to this next time.
It could look and feel a lot better
The Platinum is made from lightweight and robust plastic.
I can’t really grumble about this, because it’s incredibly practical. The vast majority of brushes are plastic.
But the overall look and design of the handle are dated and feel cheap. It gives no feeling of quality when in hand. It looks and feels like a product of 10+ years ago. Put this next to an Oral-B iO Series or any Sonicare brush and you will soon see what I mean.
I believe the function is most important, but that doesn’t mean design needs to be forgotten about.
I think ergonomically it works quite well. The whole handle tapers to be wider at the bottom than it is at the top. The side and back are curved to help with grip.
The front of the unit is basically flat, with the centrally placed power button standing a little proud. The thumb naturally falls to the power button and it isn’t too resistive.
I have the blue colored unit, you can get it in black and white too. This color is for the back and side panel of the brush.
All have the silver front to the handle.
The emmi-dent logo and model name are printed on the front of the handle and stand out.
The LED display works but is potentially more complicated than it needs to be. I can’t help but think individual LEDs with icons would work better.
The brush does stand upright on a flat surface. And when laid flat it won’t roll thanks to well placed plastic nodules that prevent this.
It works and does what it needs to, but for the sort of money you are spending on this, it could look a bit more fitting of the price. The competition does it better.
No pressure sensor
Something we advocate for an electric toothbrush is a pressure sensor. This is because it is all too easy to brush with too much force and do damage to the teeth and gums.
The Platinum does not have a pressure sensor. And to be fair, it potentially doesn’t need one, because the approach to brushing is different.
As you are only resting the bristles on the teeth you can’t really do damage.
Silent in operation
If you use the ultrasonic only mode, the brush is silent. It produces 0 decibels. You wouldn’t even know it is switched on.
The only sound is the ‘click’ from the button as you turn it on or off.
When using the default mode of ultrasound+sonic vibrations it produces around 45 decibels of sound. This peaks at 56 when the pacer kicks in every 6 seconds.
Not that you need them, but the platinum doesn’t come with any extra accessories like a travel case.
You can buy one separately, but it would be nice if this were included.
Summary of design, usability, clean & general use
- Works differently to most electric toothbrushes
- You don’t need to brush the teeth with bristle movements – less abrasive
- A different brushing technique required
- Ultrasonic technology is clinically proven to be effective
- 3 minute brushing sessions
- Pacer built in, but the timing is different to most
- Silent in operation (ultrasound mode only)
- Brush heads are still needed
- 2 cleaning modes
- The handle looks quite dated in its design and feels cheap
- Automatic power off doesn’t work in ultrasonic mode
- No pressure sensor
- No travel case
50 days of battery life on a full charge?!
Emmi-dent claims that the Platinum will give 15 days of use on a full charge.
This is pretty average when compared to other toothbrushes.
But, this is actually based on 2 cleans a day of 3 minutes each time.
Given the typical brushing time of any other electric toothbrush is just 2 minutes, each time you use this, you are brushing for a further 1 minute/60 seconds. That’s an extra 2 minutes per day.
So, realistically, compared to most other electric toothbrushes this is equivalent to a battery life of 3 weeks, which is much better.
But in my battery tests, the results were radically different.
I achieved the equivalent of 100, 3 minute brushing sessions. I repeated the test to verify this.
7 weeks rather than 2, thats over 3x the usage time.
I am not sure I have had a brush with such variance in claimed and actual life. Simply put this is extraordinary.
Lithium-Ion battery sealed inside the handle
Sealed inside the handle of the Platinum is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery.
The vast majority of toothbrushes now use Li-Ion, but some still use Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH).
It is worth noting that the battery is only covered under warranty for 6 months, not the 2 years like the rest of the handle.
Charging stand included
Included with the brush is a charging stand to replenish the battery.
There is a large prong in the middle, onto which the Platinum oral waver handle sits.
Whilst it is lightweight, the white plastic stand is larger than its competitors. But, in its defense, there are a couple of neat features.
On the back part of the stand are 2 prongs for holding spare/replacement brush heads. And there are 4 feet on the base. They are small suction cups that really help it adhere to a countertop in your bathroom.
There is too an LED notification light on the front of the stand which gives feedback, in addition to the LEDs on the handle itself.
A 2 pin power adapter is hardwired into the stand, which supports 110v.
Battery charging feedback
The handle has a number of LEDs built-in which are programmed to give feedback on the charge levels of the battery.
This is one of the most complicated LED feedback setups I have come across. I include an image below, from the user manual that explains it more fully.
Perhaps I am being a bit rough on emmi-dent. Ultimately they are giving more info than some. I just feel like I have to work a bit harder to figure out what is what.
The key things to know though are…
Different LEDs on the handle are lit green to show when the battery is fully charged, about 2 thrids full or only has a third of the battery remaining.
When the battery is very low and in need of a charge, a red LED will flash a few times after the cleaning cycle.
When on the charging stand an LED will be lit Blue. The strength of the blue LED depicts the charge. If it is a weak blue light, the brush is fully charged, whilst a light blue LED means it is in the process of being charged.
A full charge can take up to 24 hours.
The LED on the charging stand itself, not the brush handle, will be lit green if plugged in and power is available. If there is no power, it will not be lit.
Summary of battery life
- Built-in rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery
- Recommended cleaning cycles of 3 minutes compared to the conventional 2 minutes
- Claimed 15 days battery life
- Achieved a staggering 7 weeks in testing
- Light, but bulky charging stand
- Brush head holder and suction cup feet on the stand
- A full charge takes 24 hours
- Stand supports 110v
Price & where to buy
I have included links to buying options here at the start of the review.
In the section below, I discuss the price more generally and in relation to similar products.
The Platinum is fairly expensive
The retail price of the emmi-dent Platinum ultrasonic toothbrush is $219 for the brush alone.
Because there are not lots of stockists of this brush, you don’t get the natural competition on pricing as you do with some other toothbrushes.
I have seen a few dollar savings ($10) direct with emmi-dent, but the discounts are not drastic.
Megasonex M8S is more expensive
The main competitor, the M8S is around $20 more expensive.
The premium is potentially justified given that the Megasonex comes with a travel case, additional brush heads and additional cleaning modes.
It also uses USB type c connectivity for charging and has a sleeker profile.
Typical sonic and oscillating rotating electric brushes are cheaper
It isn’t necessarily an open and shut case here because we are comparing different brushing technologies, but as a general rule, regular sonic electric toothbrushes from the likes of Philips Sonicare and oscillating brushes from Oral-B are cheaper.
You are generally looking at 20-50% cheaper for a comparable model.
You can get 3 of the Oral-B Smart 1500 for the cost of a single emmi-dent platinum oral waver.
Bulk buy your brush heads
You are advised to replace the brush heads every 3 months.
Replacement heads cost on average $12 each. A typical Oral-B head costs just $5.
You do potentially get a discount for buying the larger pack sizes, so this is worth looking at.
Due to the design of the brush heads, don’t expect to be able to buy third party compatible heads for less.
You might want to consider toothpaste costs
Emmi-dent would suggest you need to use their specially formulated toothpaste with their brush to achieve the desired results. I’m not so sure.
Based on my understanding of how the technology works, toothpaste isn’t technically required, but it does have other potential benefits.
At $7 it isn’t ridiculously expensive, but as there is only 75ml per tube, it does work out more expensive than most typical tubes of paste you can buy.
I exclude the toothpaste from the long term ownership costs, but it is something to bear in mind.
The long term ownership costs
Working on the assumption that you buy the toothbrush and the replacement brush heads at the same time, you are looking at a total cost of ownership of $351 over 3 years.
Pick up a deal on the emmi-dent website and there might be a few dollarsto be saved, but don’t expect massive discounts.
The aforementioned Smart 1500 costs about $120 over 3 years, so you can still buy 3 of these for the price of 1 unit of the Platinum.
Although the M8S is more expensive to buy, the cheaper brush heads actually reduce the lifetime cost and that comes out at around $290 over 3 years.
Please note that all prices quoted are approximates and will vary based on location, supplier and time of purchase. These figures were correct at the time of writing and should not be relied upon as hard fact, but used as a guide during your decision process.
Summary of price & where to buy
- Retail price of $219
- More expensive than a regular electric toothbrush, about 3x the price
- Replacement heads cost about $12 each
- Limited stockists
- Costs about $351 to own over 3 years
- Megasonex M8s is cheaper
My thoughts on reliability and repairability
This is only the second ultrasonic toothbrush I’ve tested. There aren’t many more, to be honest.
Although similar to a regular electric toothbrush, they work differently and this impact the long term reliability.
During my weeks of testing, the Platinum has worked as expected.
A thorough assessment shows no obvious weak points.
I am not won over by the design. but it doesn’t appear to hamper the reliability. I have some potential reservations about the connectors for the brush head, yet no evidence to suggest that this poses a problem.
Despite a claimed 2 year warranty, the battery is only covered for 6 months. This isn’t good enough given the nature of the product and the price.
I am no lawyer, but given this is sealed inside the handle, I would question where you stand if after 6 months the battery failed.
Visible screw suggests that battery replacement, might not be too difficult, but it is not designed to be repaired yourself and would void the warranty if you attempted to do so.
With regards to the Platinum specifically; it has limited box contents which reduces its weight during transportation compared to others that come with more items in the box.
It is not a smart brush (Bluetooth enabled), which reduces the total number of components used and means not as much waste is created when the brush no longer works.
That said, the brush head itself does have some electrical components inside and can’t be easily recycled.
Summary of reliability, long term use & sustainability
- 2 year warranty
- 6 month warranty for the built-in battery
- Can’t be repaired at home
- Brush heads contain electronics
- No own schemes to recycle brush heads or faulty products
- Plastics of the handle & head made from petroleum-based plastic
The science clearly shows that ultrasound can be used to remove plaque from the teeth and under the gums.
It is a less abrasive and more gentle approach, but, it’s a very unnatural approach for many of us. You need to retrain yourself and pay a significant premium for it.
Price would be less of an issue if the brush didn’t look and feel as cheap and dated as it does. The M8S from Megasonex puts it to shame.
Despite some, there isn’t enough evidence or compelling reasons to switch for most people. More conventional electric toothbrushes, can be just as effective and cost a lot less, whilst bringing notable benefits.
- Height (without head) – 17cm / 6.69 inches
- Height (with head) – 25cm / 9.85 inches
- Width – 4cm / 1.57 inches
- Thickness – 4cm / 1.57 inches
- Weight (without head) – 103g / 3.63oz
- Weight (with head) – 1112g / 3.95oz
All are approximates
- 0dB (Ultrasonic mode only)
- 45dB (Peaks at 56dB when pacer beeps)