People of Plano: Our most popular orthodontist, Ben Winters AKA @thebentist

Ben Winters as @thebentist. photography Jessica Turner

TikTok may be known for Charli D’Amelio and teenagers creating viral dancing trends, but many businesses have found early success on the platform, including local orthodontist Ben Winters, @thebentist. In fact, he’s found so much success that he is making it his practice’s mission to give back.

“We have a big sign that says ‘Do Something Nice’ at the very front when you walk in because we need to have more positivity in the world,” Winters says. “It’s getting really dark lately and we just need a bit of happiness and positivity. I think if we all treated people better and did the right thing, we would all be better off for it.”

Winters became interested in orthodontics as a child when he got braces.

“I thought my orthodontist was the coolest person in the world. He just acted like a kid. His chairs in his office were hamburgers and hotdogs. He had [The] Simpsons’ paintings on the wall,” Winters says. “He was basically having fun all day long, and I thought ‘This sounds really really cool.’”

Ben Winters as @thebentist. photography Jessica Turner

In college, Winters followed that dream while maintaining a fitness Instagram page. Though the page saw success, he stopped posting when he began his residency in order to focus on his work. Winters started his residency at a corporate office in Bentonville, Arkansas, with a company turning around a poor-performing practice.

“When I got there, it was terrible. It was probably the worst office I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” Winters says. “As a doctor, the first thing that you normally do in these situations is going to lunches with the dentist in your area to get referrals and try and get people to start sending patients to your office. And I tried to do that, and nobody would take my calls.”

While working with patients, the majority of which are teens or young adults, he began seeing a trend in what they would do to pass the time — TikTok. After researching how the platform worked and how trending content was pushed through the algorithm, Winters began thinking about how to apply his social media background to the practice.

“We made one about getting your braces on and off just to be funny and posted it. We thought it was funny, but we didn’t think anything of it,” Winters says. “The next day around lunchtime, I looked at it expecting 5 or 10 likes, and in the very first day we had a million likes.”

At this point in early 2019, there weren’t very many adults and professionals that were successful on TikTok, says Winters. As the platform grew, it sought out ambassadors to promote the app for people of all ages, and Winters was chosen.

“I was one of the very first ambassadors for TikTok as a company when they were super, super small,” Winters says. “We traveled all over the United States talking about TikTok and how to do creation and teaching people how to use the app and getting people on it. And it’s just blown up from there like crazy.”

He talked to his corporation about the content, and they were weary of how a company TikTok account would drive customers, so Winters created the TikTok on his own.

“We grew really quickly,” Winters says. “Within that first year, we were probably the worst office in the state of Arkansas. After one year with me, we actually won the best office in Northwest Arkansas Award. That really shows you the power of how TikTok worked, but they didn’t think it was worth their time.”

Winters gave up the company account to pursue TikTok on his own, going from 500,000 followers to starting from scratch, this time under the name “The Bentist” instead of his company’s name. He filmed TikToks on lunch breaks and in between seeing patients.

Last year, while growing millions of followers, Winters started his own practice in Plano, called Wincrest Orthodontics, to be closer to metropolitan areas and a bigger airport to support his TikTok-related travels.

“We chose Plano because it is a great place right in the middle of the Dallas area,” Winters says. “We get people that drive three hours just to have me do their braces. But we really just like the community here.”

Now at 13 million followers (for context, the top 100 most-followed people in the United States goes down to 13.8 million followers), Winters has begun looking at the next steps to grow the brand.

One part of the orthodontic market that Winters is getting into is oral care products. Recently, Winters launched Something Nice, an oral care company that currently sells electric toothbrushes for $30 with $8 removable heads and a magnetically charging water flosser with a tonsil mode for easy tonsil stone removal for $100.

“There’s a lot of scamming that goes into oral care,” Winters says. “A lot of products are way overpriced, and they don’t do anything. We need to make an oral care company for this new generation that is science-based, no B.S., and well-priced with no gimmicks.”

In addition to promoting his brand, Winters is focused on giving back to the community and beyond. Wincrest has begun working with neighborhood high schools, and a portion of Something Nice profits will go to charity.

“We don’t have it fully aligned yet, but we are looking to work with St. Jude’s Hospital. We also have an opportunity to work with Usain Bolt’s foundation in the Bahamas that is creating a bunch of new dental offices there. For every brush purchase, we are giving one back.”

Wincrest Orthodontics is accepting new patients for braces and Invisalign and utilizes 3D printing, direct bonding, 3D scanning and other new technologies to enhance the teeth-straightening experience.

“Consultations are free, so come meet me and let’s get some braces on you,” Winters says.

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