PHOENIX - One Valley dentist has gained quite the following all by using social media, and he's able to change lives one smile at a time.
"What it's done for my business, it's exploded it," said Dr. Brian Harris of Harris Dental. "It's taken it to another level I never thought possible."
Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Brian Harris is talking about Instagram. It's the specific social media platform that's boosted his business in a big way. Because of it, he's booked for the next five months.
"The biggest difference for me is before the process I would do about one smile design case every two weeks and now we do two cases every day," says Dr. Harris.
Dr. Harris has been practicing for 15 years. He started with general dentistry and over time developed a love for smile makeovers using veneers, something he's now known for.
It was three years ago he decided to start an Instagram page to show before and after photos of his work.
"At the time it was before it was cool," said Dr. Harris. "It was super uncomfortable to put yourself out there to be judged by the world with your art and your craft."
That vulnerability paid off. Starting from the ground up, Dr. Harris now has 380,000 followers and counting. Many of these followers becoming his patients, patients coming from near and far.
"That's not something that existed in dentistry even a couple of years ago, but now about 60 percent of all of my smile design cases are out of state," said Dr. Harris. "People fly in and in two visits have the work done and then go home and enjoy their smile."
One of those patients looking to gain a new smile is Katja Braden, who came from Utah to get her smile re-designed by Dr. Harris.
"I had so much gum, my teeth were so abnormally small," said Braden. "Even since 6th grade, I would go home crying because I would get teased about my smile."
Braden, like many others, found Dr. Harris through social media. Because of virtual communication, most of her pre-work up was done before arriving to her first appointment.
This is done with the smile virtual consultants. Dr. Harris gets photos of someone's current teeth, shows them what can be done, talks about the cost and then delivers a plan. The patient only needs to come in for two appointments, first to get temporaries and then the finished product.
"More attractive, just brighter and happier with the fact that I don't have to hide behind a wall anymore," said Braden. "It's a feature that I can be proud of when never before ever did I think I'd be proud of my smile."
Dr. Harris says, in the end, it's not about the limelight, popularity or social media standing. It's most importantly about his connection with his patients and helping them change their lives one smile at a time.
"The transformations are great, but I love seeing my patients three months, six months down the road," said Dr. Harris. "I just walked out before I came in here with a patient, she was in a dark place in her life, we're six months down the road now, new job, promotion, new relationship, just a totally different person than when we started working together. It's really not about the teeth it's about the people."
Some people help Dr. Harris with content but he says he's 100 percent the person behind his page and does all of his postings and responding himself.