The digital dentist

HE is not your average dentist. Dr Shawn Paul makes videos about oral health on digital platforms and even does online seminars, and teaches dental photography. And he does all this because he loves what he does.

“Honestly, I have always had a passion for raising oral health awareness among the public and also guiding younger dentists,” said Shawn. “Being pretty active on social media, I decided to combine both of my ‘passions’, so to speak.”

He started by making routine postings and even created a hashtag.

“I started by posting interesting or difficult dental cases on my social media account (Instagram story) with the hashtag #TeethTalkTuesday,” said Shawn.

As his content increased, so did the number of his followers and, in turn, the scope and quality of his content improved.

He added: “The platform gained traction and I saw it as a way to also raise oral health awareness among the general public. During the MCO, I utilised my free time to expand Teeth Talk Tuesday to what it is today.”

Currently, he has hosted six live webinar sessions on his Facebook page Teeth Talk Tuesday by Dr Shawn, and on Instagram (@ShawnPaul91).

“Most of the webinars had around 150-200 ‘live’ viewers at a given time, which encouraged me to keep producing content, even though at times it felt like such a challenge,” said Shawn.

The content that he created gradually evolved, but never strayed from his core goal, which is to raise awareness of oral health through information and facts about dentistry aimed at the general public.

“Let’s face it, quite a large number of people had some kind of fear of the dentist – I know I did – as a child. On top of that, we as dentist always hear dental myths such as ‘scaling makes my teeth shaky’, which in turn discourages patients from visiting the dentist.

“Would you believe me if I told you that according to a study done in 2010, nine out of 10 Malaysian adults have some form of gum disease?

“Hence, part of the content that I make on Teeth Talk Tuesday focuses on raising oral health awareness and to educate the general public about the importance of regular dental visits and good oral hygiene habits at home.

“Aptly, one of the live webinars that I hosted was entitled Dental Myths, Busted, where I had an interactive session with the audience, and dispelled common dental myths.”

At the same time, he also makes content aimed at aspiring dentists, sharing knowledge that he has learned through his practice.

“The other half of my content is aimed at inspiring young dentists,” said Shawn. “Most young dentists are eager to learn new techniques and brush up on their clinical skills, but lack an outlet or a platform to do so.

“I believe by providing quality dental content through Teeth Talk Tuesday, on every alternate Tuesday, they are able to elevate their level of dentistry and ultimately provide patients with greater dental care”.

But, Shawn is far from the only professional who has turned to digital platforms to make factual, educational content, and at the very least share their knowledge.

“In this competitive digitally-driven era, more and more professionals are drawn to produce digital content on their respective social media,” said Shawn. “I personally feel that making digital content is very gratifying, as this has granted me many new connections and opportunities to work with a whole bunch of people from different walks of life”.

Because of his work on digital platforms, he was recently invited to give a dental webinar for charity in aid of refugees in Malaysia.

“Ultimately, I see myself as a dental content creator, which serves as a gentle reminder to the public to always maintain a good level of oral hygiene, and also to plant seeds of knowledge and inspire the new generation of dentists,” said Shawn

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