It’s a simple question: Would you recommend your dentist to other families? If the answer is a “no,” or the question makes you hesitate, it probably means that you are not getting the level of service you want from your dental healthcare provider.
On the other hand, if the answer is “yes,” ask yourself: Have you done so lately?
Most families find their dentist through the recommendations of others. Often, concerned parents will tap their social networks—either online (like Facebook), or offline, by simply asking their friends and co-workers—to get good local recommendations for dentists.
Because of this, most dentists build their practice through positive word-of-mouth, plus online reviews. If your dentist really is great, recommending him or her is a simple way to help ensure that the practice stays in business.
If You Would Recommend Your Dentist, Leave a Review
Besides word-of-mouth recommendations and social media, many dentists rely on their online reviews to generate new business. If you like your dentist, it helps to let others in your area know.
Some of the best and most popular places to leave reviews for dentists include:
What should you say in your review? It helps to first let others know about your specific experience. For example:
- Let people know the location of the office.
- Describe which procedures you had done (for example, regular cleaning, tooth extraction, root canal, teeth whitening, etc.)
- Mention who the service was for, i.e., whether the service was for you, your child, your whole family, etc.
- Call out the names of any staff members who really stood out and made the experience a good one (whether the dentist, an oral hygienist, front desk staff, etc.)
Your review need not be long, but it should help others get an idea of who they helped, and how. Most importantly, be true to yourself. You don’t need the review to “sound formal” or fit a particular format. Speak from the heart, as that is what others will find credible.
Remember, leaving a review to recommend your dentist is the best way to tell him or her “Thank you!” for fabulous service.
If You Are Hesitant to Leave a Review, Ask Yourself Why
What makes most parents hesitate to recommend their own dentist can vary, but you can get a feel for potential problems with a dentist you are considering by looking at their negative reviews. We did some initial analysis here at the Dental Health Society by looking at a random sample of negative online reviews from across the country. We found three common causes for the majority of patient complaints:
Issue #1: Poor service in the front office. Long wait times, rude staff, and scheduling errors that conveyed a lack of respect for the patient’s’ own schedule turned off many people from their dental provider. Ironically, even if the disgruntled patient liked the dentist and the service they provided, unpleasant treatment by the support staff was enough to keep them from returning.
Issue #2: Never knew what was going on. A good dentist will communicate what they know and what they are doing, and will make the patient an equal partner in treatment. On the other hand, people will often be upset with a dentist that does not communicate and set proper expectations regarding the length of treatment, the frequency of treatment, and the estimated cost for treatment.
Issue #3: Pain. Modern dental techniques are actually pain-free nowadays, and for those that do generate some pain and discomfort, there are well developed ways to manage it. Therefore, patients can reasonably expect a relatively pain-free treatment experience. When they do not get it, this is an issue. Pain management works better when patients have frank conversations with their dentist about how invasive a procedure is, their level of worry about pain, and the options for dulling the pain. So, finding a professional dentist who knows how to ask questions about your pain and comfort levels is important.
If you’ve had any of these issues with your dentist, it might be time to find a new one. (Our dentist finder tool is a good place to start.)
Do You Need a Family Dental Practice?
Sometimes, an adult will stick with a dentist they’ve always used, but feel uncomfortable recommending that dentist to a family with kids. Or, a new parent might feel that they need to find a new dentist for their growing family. Is this the right way to go? Should families see a dentist or dental group that specializes in kids and families?
Many dental practices advertise treatment for the whole family. However, there is a difference between a “family group” practice and a general practice. There is also a difference between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist who works with kids and families.
Just because an office uses the word “family” in their name does not mean that they have any special training in pediatric dentistry…then again, they might be great dentists who work well for your family. You shouldn’t discount them just because they are not pediatric dentists or a family dental group.
More than anything, you should focus on finding a kid-friendly dentist. Here are some tips for doing so.