Just over two years ago, I got a new electric toothbrush, a Sonicare. A few weeks ago, it started acting really weird. I wrote that it felt like it was perhaps too powerful or at least seemed like it. Then this week, the opposite happened, when I turned it on, it seemed weak, like it wasn’t really cleaning my teeth.

It turns out my Sonicare succumbed to a very common design flaw. The Sonicare I have has replaceable toothbrush heads, which slide onto a metal post on the end of the toothbrush. It’s this metal post that vibrates and thus imparts the cleaning action to the toothbrush head. This post can become loose inside the housing, so you can then move it around several millimeters in all directions. Because the post is loose, the vibrating energy can’t be conducted as effectively to the brush head. I could easily tell it just wasn’t doing a whole lot against my teeth.

The Internet told me this has happened to so many people who also own a Sonicare. It turns out the post is secured to the rest of the toothbrush internals by a screw and that screw can become loose. Why isn’t the screw held in place by a nut?

The bad news is that Sonicare doesn’t design their products to be easily serviceable by consumers. A fix involves prying open the bottom of the toothbrush, trying not to destroy the charging mechanism, and the pulling out the internal assembly to get at that screw. I saw a video of a guy doing it but it seemed super difficult. Another video showed a guy destroying his Sonicare trying to get at the screw.

Now before I started even contemplating this repair, I saw that my Sonicare was out of warranty by at least a month. So knowing that, I had nothing to lose. To tell a long story short, I could not get my Sonicare open and I sorta busted the damn thing.

My new Sonicare arrives tomorrow.

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