How to Destroy Your Dental Practice Online Reputation

Is there even a difference anymore?

Really there is no line; it dissolved into the ether when wireless connections and mobile phone accessibility advanced into our personal lives like an invasive force of convenience coated consumerism.

As it will remain from here on out, there is no difference between the online and offline reputation of a dental practice.

Patient word of mouth has gone digital…in a SoLoMo way.

Rather than tackling the monumental subject of monitoring and actually benefiting from online reputation management of the dental practice, we’ll just look to identify three seemingly obvious points of exactly what NOT to do in developing an online sphere of local social dental influence.

We figured this would be pretty obvious, but with recent news out of New York that is obviously not the case.

Seems a Manhattan dentist who also moonlights as an opera singer, has recently come under fire for (allegedly…) forcing patients to enter into a contract preventing them from publishing any negative comments about their dental experience online.

Before embarking on (throwing money at) a total control negative review assault that just turns out to be a waste of money scam, a real honest in-depth conversation (with yourself and your staff) discussing practice insurance, HIPPA regulations, office administration, legal representation, and patient communication methods, would be recommended.

If worry and dread is the first thought when confronted with the thought of having patients ‘spout off online’ about their recent dental appointment, consider why that may be – from the patients perspective.

And fix it, or go find another career.

Not easy, not quick, hard work; and a conversation best left for the individual practice, at least anything more than the broad strokes we’ve already covered in this ORM blog post.

For all those dental practices out there that welcome the digital word of mouth and revel in the recent transparency trend, here are three no no’s for online dental practice reputation management:

  • Do Not Have Patients Enter into a Contract in Order to Prevent Negative Online Comments!
  • Do Not Take a Negative Review Personally…it may not read negative to everyone!
  • Do Not Argue!


Nor for the removal of them EITHER!

There are plenty of unscrupulous marketing services out there probably contacting your office each day, bottom line is, if it sounds too good to be true it usually is, right?

And here are 3 real life dental online review debacles illustrating the above-mentioned points:

Don’t let fear, uncertainty, and doubt hold your dental practice back in this age of social connectivity and digital communication!

Do you think online dental practice reputation management is snake oil?

What were your first impressions when the words “dental practice website” first crossed your thoughts 10-15 years ago?

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+Chris Barnard is the Managing Partner at Social Dental Network, a boutique digital marketing agency consistently generating tangible return on investment for dentists across North America & the U.K.


  1. […] we can see from the evolving dental online reputation case study discussed in the Washington Post article and elsewhere throughout digital dental circles, […]