By JONATHAN FINE
Have you come across the fantastic Singing Dentist yet? I saw his YouTube parody of Happy (Gappy) the other day and was completely taken aback.
It got me wondering about the risks versus benefits of dentists cutting loose and sticking their heads above the parapet (which, let’s face it, they seldom do). So have these selfie phone videos by Dr Milad Shadrooh been a PR success?
I asked a few clients what they thought and everyone agreed they were memorably wacky, although there was concern this kind of thing might put off over-50s, and one client worried that Milad’s tongue in cheek performances might jar with the brand of his mixed practice in Basingstoke.
When I put all this to Milad he was a bit confused: “Most of the patients that have given me fantastic feedback are the older ones, and I put a lot of my success with patients down to the fact I am friendly, light hearted and have a sense of humour, so actually my videos are bang-on for my brand.”
Much more importantly, all the non-dentists I asked thought Milad had found a brilliant way to get kids excited about dentistry. The former garage MC has noticed this too; he says what started as a spontaneous joke between friends has somehow turned into kids coming into his surgery singing his songs, absolutely thrilled to see him. “It’s the kids who are showing their parents the videos,” he says.
I suppose seeing your dentist pop his eyebrows and sing along to Omi’s Cheerleader about sugar must be a bit more exciting than the anodyne lecture kids usually get at the end of their check-up. Posts on Milad’s YouTube channel Singing Dentist attract 20k to 40k hits, and he’s been on Lorraine, ITV London News and BBC South News talking about them.
Their lack of gloss seems to be part of the appeal. Milad says: “I have a studio at home and really enjoy producing, but that’s not the point with these songs. I do them in one take without editing, just me and my phone when everyone’s left the surgery at the end of the day, and I’m not trying to make myself look good – it’s more about getting a message across. It really wasn’t planned but when I saw the resonance the first video had with kids I decided to do more.”
Would he like to become some kind of outside the box figurehead for children’s dental health? “If it helps get away from the stuffiness in the profession and educate kids then definitely – maybe I could help give advice in schools. I seem to have accidentally found a way to combine my two passions, and if that encourages kids to brush, or helps nervous patients relax, that’s great. Just today my associate had a nervous patient who totally eased up upon seeing one of my videos – it really works!”