These student influencers, adept digital natives all, are using social media to promote dentistry, mentor others, crack jokes and share their hard-won wisdom with their peers and followers. Here are the top dental talents from the web’s woolly wilds. (See also Anthony Baroud, No. 8 on the main 32 list.)
Instagram Followers: 4,720
How do you balance social media and school?
Time management. Dental school taught me how much I can do in a day when I optimize my time and work efficiently. With that time, some people enjoy playing video games. I enjoy making videos for others.
Instagram Followers: 106,000
How has social media affected your dental-school experience?
I’ve been able to connect with dental students from around the world, learn techniques and get perspective from outside my school. I use TikTok to share the fun side of dentistry. I’m serious about dental school, but I’m also a fun person. Dentistry is fun, and I want to show others it’s an awesome profession. Social media has been a great way to share and connect.
Instagram Followers: 7,813
What inspired you to share your dental-school journey?
I started to share [on social media] when I was pre-med, but I felt I had more to say when I got accepted to dental school. Not a lot of nontraditional students in dental—or health care in general—had stories like mine, with a previous career and raising children. I found a lot of support for undergrads applying to dental school, but for those of us who weren’t playing by the rulebook, I wanted to offer support and show that it’s possible.
Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health ’22
Instagram Followers: 2,753
What’s the primary inspiration behind your social accounts?
I’m an international student [from Venezuela], and there are not a lot of us in dental schools. I share both my good and bad days…. Because there aren’t a lot of international students, people reach out through Instagram or Facebook for help through the process. The most rewarding part is when I get the text that [they’ve been] accepted into dental school.
Instagram Followers: 4,310
You’ve started a streetwear brand, Never Stop Loving. What’s it like balancing a passion project and dental school?
Challenging. But also motivating. I have to stay busy to see my best self, and it allows me to do that. I’m creative at heart, and [managing the streetwear business] is keeping me going. My goal was to set it up so it can run itself while I’m back in school. The biggest part of the process has been time management.
Instagram Followers: 4,008
Tell us about Decode Dental, your resource site for predental and dental students.
Decode Dental has always been in the works, but I had never put it in one specific space. I started on YouTube and Instagram with tips. It was nice to put resources together for students. As we grow, we’re having events and creating a space they can go to. One of my biggest goals with all my platforms is to show that dentistry is an achievable goal. I’m an immigrant from Cuba; no one in my family is in dental. I want to be a voice for others who don’t see themselves represented.
Western University ’23
Instagram Followers: 7,830
Tell us about a time you made an impact on someone through social media.
When I started my social media about a year ago, a student from New York reached out to me. She took the DAT twice, wasn’t getting the scores she wanted and had lost faith in her dentistry dream. I called her from California and told her I never had a stellar score or the ideal path. I advised her to apply and cast as wide a net as possible. She applied and got accepted to NYU’s program. She messaged me after to say that if it weren’t for me, she would never have applied.
Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio ’23
Instagram Followers: 1,302
What led you to share your dental-school journey on social media?
I am both an only child and a first-generation American. My journey to dental school would have been more difficult if I didn’t have guidance. I wanted to offer that same service to others. My parents immigrated to America and opened a restaurant. I had to have stainless-steel crowns put in for early-childhood caries. My teeth fell out early, and I had to get orthodontic work done. I always enjoyed going to the dentist and thought it could be a potential [career]. I attended a magnet middle school and then Health Careers High School in San Antonio. That’s where I began learning medical terms and testing out different medical careers. Senior year I chose to go more in-depth with dentistry and became an RDA.
Instagram Followers: 4,639
Why dental school?
My family emigrated from Egypt to California. I’d go with my mom to translate at her dental visits and saw what dentists did to relieve her pain. When I translated for her, I became included in the conversation and was always intrigued. As a teenager I told her, “I’m sorry you have to go through this. I am going to be your dentist one day.” And it stuck. Fifteen years later I’m making the dream come true.
Western university ’22
Instagram Followers: 9,088
To read an interview with Michael Yoo, a leading member of this class of student influencers, please click here.