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Catching up with one of endo’s favorite influencers: Dr. Brett E. Gilbert

By Elisabeth Lisican

Dr. Brett E. Gilbert graduated from the University of Maryland Dental School in 2001 and completed his postgraduate training in Endodontics from the University of Maryland Dental School in 2003.  He is currently a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Endodontics at the University of Illinois-Chicago, College of Dentistry and on staff at Presence Resurrection Medical Center in Chicago.  He is a past-president of the Illinois Association of Endodontists. Dr. Gilbert is Board-certified, a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics. He was named a top 10 young dental educator in America by the Seattle Study Club in 2017. In 2019, he was named to Academic Keys Who’s Who in Dentistry Higher Education (WWDHE). Dr. Gilbert lectures nationally and internationally on clinical endodontics. Dr. Gilbert has a full-time private practice limited to Endodontics in Niles, Ill.

The Paper Point: Please tell us about your work as an endo influencer. When did you first become interested in social media?
Dr. Gilbert: My social media journey started with Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.  LinkedIn was an easy place to create a profile for professional outreach and build connections across different industries. I joined Twitter in 2012 as a way of keeping up with news and sports.  After a few years, I started seeing the benefits of following other dentists and companies associated with endodontics on Twitter. I recognized how powerful social media can be – to share and connect.  My next step was when I started to post short videos to my YouTube channel. In 2017, I went “all in” starting an Instagram and Facebook account and really started to devote time to sharing endo cases and content.  I established connections with colleagues and friends and began to grow my following. In late 2018, I started to develop my own video content as a way of sharing one minute video lessons about endodontics and oral health care. I titled the segments “The Endo Files”. In early 2019, I developed an idea to welcome endodontic colleagues from around the world to join me for LIVE three question interviews which I titled “Three Questions with Dr. Brett Gilbert”.  I believe that these interviews show the world how passionate, intelligent and committed endodontists are to our specialty.  I have interviewed more than 20 colleagues from around the globe so far!

The Paper Point: How did you first learn to navigate Instagram, and what do you love most about that platform?
Dr. Gilbert:
I started on Instagram in 2017 and found it fun to discover and experiment with its functionality.  Instagram has changed significantly since I joined and continues to introduce new features. The allowance of LIVE video events on Instagram Live and the ability to post longer video content on IGTV were the most exciting developments for me. What I love most is how easy it is for users to consume the content of the people and pages they follow. I am beyond excited about the growing community of dentists and endodontists from around the world who share and learn with each other on IG. I have developed wonderful and sincere friendships on Instagram with individuals I have never even met in person! It is a gift to be able to connect with others in this way.  Instagram has also been a place where I can go outside of my comfort zone and share vulnerabilities and experiences I have been through as a way of helping others to grow along with me.

The Paper Point: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to create a thriving professional Instagram page like yours?
Dr. Gilbert:
My advice to anyone who wants to create a thriving professional Instagram page is that you must be committed! Your page is a machine that always needs to be fed new content. To grow your page, you must be avid about maintaining your presence, by engaging with your followers, and commenting and following the activities of those you follow. It is time consuming, but if you are committed and enjoy the interaction with others, it is a great place to learn, share and grow your personal or professional brand. From my own experience, I would say that creating your own unique forms of content are the best way to see your following grow!

The Paper Point: What’s your favorite thing about being an AAE member?
Dr. Gilbert: I have always embraced being a member of the AAE. It is imperative to have an organization that supports and stands behind all of the clinicians, researchers and educators that comprise our specialty. I love the AAE annual session and I appreciate the opportunities I have had to contribute to these meetings. I am also very grateful for the Foundation for Endodontics for providing outreach opportunities that allow endodontists to serve others in charitable missions.

The Paper Point: What are your goals for 2020?
Dr. Gilbert: My goals for 2020 are to continue to find ways to help more people around the world to save their natural teeth. It is my mission to continue to develop online education to help advance the education of dentists globally so that they can provide better and more successful root canal treatments to patients everywhere. Another goal I have for 2020 is to create content for patients and provide them with education on the importance of their oral health and the need for a commitment to their dental care.

Keep up with Dr. Gilbert at: