Dentist dances his way into national spotlight, sharing oral health messages
September 03, 2018
. — Dr. Rich Constantine waited until his office staff was away at lunch to record — by himself — the 36-second video that put him in the national spotlight in July.
"I was embarrassed, and I knew I wouldn't be able to do it in front of them," he said.
The video featured the dentist participating in the online "In My Feelings Challenge," in which social media users complete the same dance moves to a song by the rapper Drake.
To have some fun with his dental practice's Facebook followers, Dr. Constantine's office staff dubbed the video "In My Fillings," and posted it online.
The next morning, the video had already reached more than 5 million views, and days later the dentist was fielding calls from The Today Show and Inside Edition, seeking interviews. By now, any embarrassed feelings the 2009 West Virginia School of Dentistry graduate had about the dance have washed away.
"It has been pretty wild," Dr. Constantine told the ADA News. "Totally unexpected."
Viral in a good way: Dr. Rich Constantine dances in a video that has logged more than 85 million views on YouTube at press time.
Since that time in mid-July, Dr. Constantine's life has been filled with new experiences thanks to the viral video. Aside from the media attention, including from TV stations as far as the United Kingdom, the dentist has been asked to appear at charity events in the Greenville area, and now he's launching his own nonprofit that he hopes will benefit families whose lives have been affected by cancer. Both he and his wife, Trish, have lost family members to the disease, he said.
He's still making videos for his practice's Facebook page, and often they include messages about oral health or dental hygiene, including reminders to brush two times a day for two minutes.
For Dr. Constantine, who said he previously practiced dancing only at weddings and in "living room dance-offs" with his wife, putting dentistry in a positive light is a major benefit of the attention.
"What we're trying to do with all of this is spread the word that dentistry can be fun," he said. "Dentistry is something that can benefit you and doesn't need to be scary. We're not just trying to promote our office but the whole profession."
Still, Dr. Constantine said his practice's patient base has grown significantly since the video caught fire online. Also great is that established patients who hadn't been in for awhile have come in for return visits, he said.
These days, he's often recognized around Greenville as the viral dentist, getting stopped while he's out at Home Depot or gas stations, he said. He still doesn't know how the video got so popular, but the "In My Fillings" post had more than 85 million views on Facebook as of press time.
"I find myself in this unique position where not only can my office bring happiness through what we're doing, but we also have the ability to create the smiles that people want to share," he said.
When asked what he would share with other dentists about his "going viral" experience, Dr. Constantine suggests letting patients in on your personality to make a connection.
"If they see you're happy and you have the desire to make them happy, they're much more eager to accept and understand the importance of treatment plans," he said. "Don't be scared to be yourself and let people see you for you."
Dr. Constantine can be found on Facebook
and on Instagram
. For more information about the nonprofit he is launching this year, visit SmileOnCancer.org