Dr. Humam Salahieh, known as @dr.humie on TikTok and Instagram, is a rising star in the world of dental social media. Having started posting on social media less than 1 year ago, Dr. Humie’s videos have been reposted and passed around by everybody in the dental community, garnering millions of views. I had the opportunity to sit down and Zoom with him in what was meant to be a 20-minute interview that turned into an hour and a half of chilling, scheming, and “bro-ing out” as the kids say these days. It was very evident that Dr. Humie is going places in dental social media and beyond.
He went to the University of Detroit Mercy in Michigan for Dental school and is now working in private practice in Georgia. He splits his time between 2 practices, one fast-paced and the other slower but with bigger, more complex cases – something he highly recommends to new grads looking to achieve balance and learn the two types of practicing dentistry.
Q: When did you start your account?
“I’ve had Instagram for a while but was not very active. I started TikTok in late 2021.”
Q: So when did you become active?
“My first video was around April or May 2022.”
Q: What prompted you to start it?
“I’ve always had a passion for music and film since I was young. I put it on hold in dental school even though I was still in a band, recording original music throughout. After practicing for a few years, I hit a point where I was doing a routine day-to-day and had to reflect on what it is that I enjoy doing outside of dentistry that could bring back the excitement of going to work every day. I was a super TikTok hater and thought it was going to ruin the world (I still kinda think that, haha). My assistant would show me videos of dentists and staff dancing, and everyone was super happy, and I was like, this is not real life. I personally could not relate to any of it. I wanted to show the real side of what it’s like to work in this field and the day-to-day struggles and dilemmas that we go through but in a comedic and dramatic way. We started making a few videos to test the app, and our first big video that blew up was the one where the assistant was running to get an instrument for the doctor.”
Q: Did you know that video was going to go viral?
“Honestly, no. Even to this day, I never know if a video will do well or not. And that’s not the priority. I usually get inspired by something that happens at work and think: Hey, this is funny. I am sure I am not the only one dealing with this. Let’s make it into a video and see what happens. During the editing process, if I am laughing, then I know I made something that other people will relate to, and that’s what matters to me at the end of the day.”
Q: What’s your video setup when you shoot? And who edits? etc?
“iPhone. I shoot, edit, and do everything myself. There are two videos where I even recorded music in my studio, especially for the videos, because I wasn’t able to use the original tracks due to copyright issues. I shoot at the end of the day after patient care. I usually have everything planned out in my head before I turn on the camera. I’ll know exactly what angles to shoot, what line to give a staff member, etc. If a video requires a lot of dialogue (like Friday the 13th), I’ll write a script at home and print it out. When you plan properly, the process itself shouldn’t take more than 15-20 minutes.”
Q: How do you motivate your team?
“I’ll buy them lunch from time to time, but I think they enjoy it too. They get excited when they see the final product. Making these videos has been a great bonding activity for our team. We all come together and laugh so much when we film. Suddenly, the stress of the day is gone. And we’ve all gotten closer because of it. Now I’ll have some team members come to me and recommend ideas and give their input on how we should film it, etc. It’s really fun.”
Q: Do you have any formal training?
“No, it’s all self-taught. If I like a certain movie, I will research all the behind-the-scenes footage and absorb it like a sponge. I love to learn about why a scene triggered an emotional response or why a certain shot was taken from this angle, etc. I’ve also been doing it for a while. When I was 10, I would make very dramatic videos using pictures of my family with Spiderman music in the background.”
Q: Have you gotten any patients from the videos? Do existing patients engage with it?
“Yes, we’ll get new patients every now and then that tell us they found us on TikTok or Instagram, which is great because they feel like they already know us before stepping foot in our practice. As for engaging, most patients are shy and don’t feel comfortable acting in front of others. But every once in a while, I’ll get a patient who asks to be in a video and has no problem acting.”
Q: What advice do you have for dental offices starting out on social media?
“Have a clear intention on why you want to do it. Is it to attract patients or staff members? To promote a specific service you provide? Or merely for pure fun? Everyone has a different agenda, but the most important advice I can give is that people just want to connect with you. They don’t care about what material you use for composite or how fast you can crank out a porcelain crown prep. They just want to feel heard. Ultimately that’s what social media is all about. Keep that in mind when posting on this platform, and always ask yourself, how is this relatable, and what is my message behind this video?”
What’s up next for @dr.humie?
“You’ll have to wait and see.”