What Is Sonic Pic?
By delivering 3,000 gentle vibration waves per minute, Sonic Pic is an at-home dental cleaning system that promises to help you remove plaque, tartar, and stains from hard-to-reach places, leading to whiter teeth and healthier gums.
And since the device is battery operated (a single AAA, which is not included) and portable, we’re told you can achieve this wherever you are—just press the button on the side and point the tip toward the area you want to clean. From there, it will go to work on the front, back, and in between your teeth, as well as on any crowns, implants, veneers, or other dental work.
The website tells us that additional potentially helpful Sonic Pic features include:
- An ultra-bright LED for maximum visibility
- Ergonomic design with soft comfort handle
- A low-profile tip (including a silicone flossing tip for healthier gums, which can be changed by simply pulling on the head)
- Enamel safe operation for adults and children alike
Most of us are well aware of the benefits of good oral hygiene, and of visiting the dentist regularly. But will Sonic Pic really leave your teeth looking and feeling like they were professionally cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler at your dentist’s office, as the website claims?
That’s just one of the product’s central claims we’ll help you unpack in this brief article. And to begin, we’ll address a few fundamental concepts.
The Basics of How Ultrasonic Scalers Work
Nearly all of us are familiar with traditional scalers; the small metal and plastic hooked tools dentists use—often uncomfortably—to scrape away plaque and tartar from the surface of teeth and from underneath the gum line.
Well, according to McLoughlin Dental Care in Milwaukie, OR, an ultrasonic scaler accomplishes much of the same. But instead of manual scraping, these handheld devices use electromagnetic forces to cause a tiny tip at the end of the unit to vibrate rapidly.
And depending on the type of the device, the motion of this vibration will either be elliptical (oval; magnetostrictive), or linear (in a straight back and forth movement; piezoelectric). Either way, we’re told that these devices can range between 18,000 and 50,000 vibrations per second, which means they reach ultrasonic speeds.
Because of the speed and preciseness of professional ultrasonic devices, they can often reach periodontal pockets better than traditional hand scalers, and often deliver a more comfortable experience for patients, since (among other things) they utilize a coolant spray to “flush the area and remove bacteria and their by-products.” How does all of this relate to Sonic Pic?
At just 3,000 vibrations per minute, Sonic Pic vibrates much slower than something you might find at your dentist’s office, and as such, wouldn’t be classified as an ultrasonic device. In fact, most professional ultrasonic scalers measure their cleaning power in kHz, not vibrations per minute.
As such, we think it might be wise to maintain realistic expectations about its overall ability to deliver a similar level of cleaning, plaque removal, or freshness as a visit to your dentist.
How Much Does Sonic Pic Cost?
Two Sonic Pic handheld devices are priced at $29.99, in addition to a $13.98 S&H charge and a $1 web service fee, bringing your total to $45.47. Each device also comes with a stainless steel scaler tip, oral care mirror, and a soft care gum tip.
While the Registered Dental Hygienists magazine explains that tip wear on professional ultrasonic devices is “subtle, occurring over a period of time,” there’s no indication on the Sonic Pic website of how long its tips last, if replacements can be purchased through the website, and if so, how much they cost. Or, which motion the device vibrates in, whether elliptical or linear.
To learn more, we tried reaching out to customer support at 844-822-2348 (the toll-free number listed on the site at the time of our research), although we received a message advising it wasn’t in service.
Nonetheless, all orders come with a 30-day money back guarantee, less S&H charges.
What Do We Know About the Company Behind Sonic Pic?
Sonic Pic is manufactured by the Spark Innovators Corporation based out of Fairfield, NJ, who’s been in business since 2008. In that time, they’ve released dozens of popular products.
As a company, Spark Innovators held an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, with one negative customer review and 11 closed complaints, as of 1/10/18. When additional details were available, most of these referenced ordering and problems. A company representative responded with a resolution in each instance.
Sonic Pic vs. the Competition: Are There Other At-Home Ultrasonic Scalers?
We encountered many different ultrasonic scalers available for online purchase during our research, although none were battery operated, all featured water flushing capabilities, and the majority was priced in the hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars range. Not to mention the fact that these devices should only be operated by trained professionals, both for maximum results and from a safety perspective.
Even when moving outside of the ultrasonic spectrum, though, we didn’t encounter any other at-home, battery operated scalers of any type during our research. As such, if you’re looking for a product that delivers even remotely the same features, it appears that Sonic Pic is currently the only game in town.
Does this necessarily mean that you should go ahead and hand over your hard-earned money? In other words, how much value can you expect the device to provide? In the next section, we’ll wrap up the article and help move you one step closer to making a more informed decision.
Our Bottom Line About Sonic Pic
We didn’t test Sonic Pic ourselves to provide firsthand feedback, but based on what we learned from the product’s website, as well as online dental professionals and the Registered Dental Hygienists magazine, it doesn’t appear that it will deliver the same ultrasonic speeds as something you’d likely find at your dentist’s office.
Because of this, as well as the fact that ultrasonic scalers are typically operated by trained professionals, we remain skeptical that it would deliver the same level of tartar removal or boosted gum health. And even if it did, it’s important to point out that scalers are only effective at removing stains on the surface of teeth (intrinsic), and not those located underneath the enamel (intrinsic).
Does this mean it won’t provide any cleaning at all, or that it won’t help reduce the amount of time your dentist spends hand scaling your teeth during your next appointment? Again, we didn’t test it ourselves.
But if you feel like finding out for yourself, Spark Innovators seems to stand behind Sonic Pic with a 30-day refund policy. Just keep in mind that you’ll lose your initial $13.98 S&H charges, plus whatever it will cost to ship the devices back to the manufacturer.
If you’re looking to maximize the value of your dollar, though, we’d recommend speaking with your dentist before making any purchases.