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‘Magic’ pediatric dentist’s video goes viral: ‘It’s been pretty crazy’

June 06, 2018

By Michelle Manchir

Image of 'Magic' video on Facebook

Elmwood Park, N.J. — Dr. Eyal Simchi and his staff regularly post videos on Facebook of cheerful interactions he has with patients at his pediatric practice.

So when he and his office manager, who is also his wife, Rachel, posted a video in late May and returned to the office after three days away observing the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, the couple were in for a big surprise.

The video had gained millions of views, and the office was getting calls and texts from people all over the world. As of press time, the video had more than 35 million views, a far cry from the couple thousand his videos usually get.

“It’s crazy how widespread it’s gone,” said Dr. Simchi.

The video features a two-year-old patient, Chase, during his first visit to the office of Dr. Simchi, who uses “magical” thumb lights in the video to mesmerize the toddler.

Dr. Simchi said he’s not sure how the video got so popular, but it made the rounds on several social media channels including Twitter and YouTube.

The video has also earned him media coverage from local outlets and from NBC Nightly News.

The attention has sparked “overwhelmingly positive” responses from his patients and from strangers, including many adults who wonder if he’ll take them on as patients (the answer is a polite “no,” he said.)

Dr. Simchi said he suspects the video became so shareable for two reasons — because of Chase’s “amazing” facial expressions and because it’s a “clip about dentistry that wasn’t scary.”

“He was an awesome patient,” Dr. Simchi said of Chase.

Like all the videos he posts featuring his young patients, Dr. Simchi gets written permission from their parents and guardians.

Dr. Simchi’s natural rapport with children is demonstrated in many of the videos on his practice’s Facebook page. Often he performs rudimentary magic tricks, sings and dances with the kids or makes balloons out of medical gloves.

He credits his ability to relate to children a result of his growing up with nine siblings and being the father of six of his own children, ages 15 months to 15 years.

After graduating in 2007 from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now Rutgers School of Dentistry), Dr. Simchi pursued and was accepted to a pediatric residency before opening his own practice, he said.

He said he tries to keep the practice as comfortable and child-friendly as possible. Equipment is tucked under cabinets when possible and there are no overhead lights, he said.

“My goal in general is to keep my patients healthy but also happy,” he said. “We don’t work on crying kids.”

When asked for suggestions for other dentists who may hesitate to treat children, Dr. Simchi said to try to understand how the little ones think.

“Get on their level. Find out what works for them,” he said. “Kids are not always like little adults. They have to be spoken to differently. I sit on a little chair and talk to them eye-to-eye.”

The video making the rounds sits on the homepage of Dr. Simchi’s practice website, riverfrontsmiles.com. To see other videos of Dr. Simchi with patients, visit Facebook.com/RiverfrontSmiles.