In our previous post- “How do Negative Reviews affect my Dental Practice.” We discussed how negative reviews affect a dental practice and how to create postivie reviews instead. In this post we want to discuss how to handle those negative reviews.

When a negative review shows up many dentists may be tempted to respond. They may feel that this negative feedback reflects poorly on them personally. Responding in the wrong way may actually draw more attention to the review than it should.

Most professionals advise dental practices to think carefully about responding to negative reviews and leave well enough alone. Sometimes that may be the best way but in my opinion take a note from tripadvisor’splaybook and look at how hotels respond to negative reviews. When done right, answering a negative review can be a positive. Most people want to see that you own your mistakes or have offered a resolution (even when you aren’t to blame). Make sure this is genuine and timely.

Some tips for answering negative reviews:

  • Try to take the conversation offline. Something like: “Sorry to hear about your experience. We want to make sure every patient is satisfied. Please call our office and we will get you back in right away.”
  • If they misunderstood their insurance or billing try to do the same. “We want to make sure we have answered all your questions and your bill is correct. Call our business manager Janet and she will get it straightened out for you.”
  • Never be specific to what work they had done, any discussions you or your staff had, or put yourself in any position to create a professional or ethical violation.
  • Never engage in a back and forth trying to defend yourself. It will look childish and reflect poorly on your practice.
  • Answer the reviews yourself or designate one person who you have explicitly laid out guidelines for. Don’t have everyone in your office chime in.

Keep in mind that most people just want to be heard and a genuine response will be enough. In a lot of cases when these reviews come up in a forum setting your satisfied patients will defend you. The best thing to do is to make sure you truly are providing great dentistry and great customer service.

You run a professional business and people are people. Keep being a professional and respond accordingly. Negative reviews shouldn’t be a cause for panic.

Ben Shaver
Lead Strategist & Consultant

Ben Shaver is a dental marketing consultant for Dental Inbound. He works with practices of all sizes.

His main focus is to develop strategies that provide congruency between traditional media sources and new media platforms.

You can email him at