Patient Reviews: 4 Things People Look For When Choosing a Dental Practice

dental messaging

Dentists don’t have an easy job when it comes to bringing in and retaining patients. Studies show that people generally feel more concerned about a dental visit than a routine checkup with their general practitioner. Because of the prevalence of dental anxiety, patients may shop around for dentists with more vigor than they would other healthcare providers. 

That’s why reviews are so incredibly important for the vitality of your practice. With excellent public patient reviews, you’ll encourage people to book an appointment with your practice. That means greater access to quality dental care and better business for your practice, all through the power of patient reviews.

Discover the key factors people consider when selecting a dental practice that aligns with their needs and preferences. Here’s what matters to patients amid their decision-making process:

  1. Patient communication
  2. Cleanliness & atmosphere
  3. Review responses
  4. Scheduling & wait times


Arm yourself with the necessary knowledge of the importance of patient reviews, and you can make all the suitable adjustments to increase your online visibility. When you know what people are looking for, you can prompt them to give you feedback on specific aspects of your practice or narrow down review prompts to cover some general areas. Patient reviews have the power to grow your practice in unprecedented ways. 

#1: Communication keys to positive patient reviews

Dentists need feedback to attract new patients and retain loyal ones. According to this Dentistry Today article, 82 percent of people believe online reviews are essential when choosing a healthcare provider. We’ve covered how to receive and manage reviews in past blogs—but how can you encourage your patients to touch on subjects that matter the most to other readers of these public patient reviews? No big surprise: it’s all about communication.

When patient reviews mention straightforward and accessible communication, your practice appeals to other potential patients reading online reviews.

Set the precedent for great communication, and positive patient reviews will follow. Establishing a great line of communication is about building a foundation of trust and confidence between yourself and your patients. 

  • Explaining procedures: Be transparent about what patients should expect before, during, and after a procedure. Patients seek dentists who take the time to do so. 
  • Approachability & attentiveness: Practice active listening and engage in an open dialogue using layperson’s terms to create an environment where patients feel heard and understood.
  • Empathy: Be empathetic and emotionally supportive of nervous patients. Create a safe space for patients to express concerns. This fosters a trusting relationship that patients crave and will address in patient reviews.
  • Managing expectations: Be honest about potential discomfort or side effects. Set realistic expectations. When likely patients read reviews saying the care was as or even better than expected, they will be more attracted to your practice.

In essence, you should focus on excelling in patient communication. Then, when you prompt patients to review your practice, ensure some of the survey categories address your style and commitment to communication. When people surfing the web see that you and your team are great at letting patients know exactly what is going on, they will be attracted to your practice. 

Build positive reviews that cover what matters to people from the ground up when you start with high communication standards.

#2: Cleanliness & atmosphere

Research shows that recommendations from friends or acquaintances are among the most important factors people consider when choosing a dentist. Check out this study that ranks it second most important, after dentist competence. Those recommendations can come by word of mouth or through public patient reviews. Give current patients an easy talking point by making your practice pleasant. The atmosphere of your practice plays a pivotal role in shaping patient perception and comfort.

Here’s how a well-maintained environment can boost positive reviews and attract new patients:

  • Comfortable waiting areas: This is your first point of contact for patients. A well-designed space with reading materials, soothing music, refreshments, and appropriate distractions alleviates pre-appointment nerves and makes short waits more bearable.
  • Organization: An organized office fosters a sense of efficiency. Make the most of your time together, and your team’s well-coordinated energy will be the star of a patient’s following review. Patient reviews that highlight your timeliness and professionalism will draw in all kinds of people with little time on their hands, such as busy parents, young professionals, university students, and C-suite executives. By attracting people from all walks of life, you grow your interpersonal network and practice’s reach.
  • Immaculate facilities: This is a no-brainer for any healthcare environment. Patient reviews with negative information on the cleanliness of your practice are guaranteed to turn past and potential patients away in the blink of an eye. A spotless and well-maintained environment reflects your commitment to hygiene and instills confidence in your practice.

Patient reviews that cover positive factors such as the great atmosphere of your office not only attract new customers but also increase the visibility of your practice online. Increased visibility taps into the importance of search engine optimization—a trend that is here to stay. 

The more patients talk about you online, the easier you are to find. Your follow-up survey and review prompts should surely include sections where patients can rank the atmosphere of your office. It’s important to people’s trust and confidence.

#3: Patient review responses

People look for engagement from you and your practice in the review space, especially if they’re the ones leaving the reviews. Responding to publicly posted patient reviews also shows potential patients that you are paying attention to what people love about your practice and what they want to see change. Begin by implementing best practices for managing public feedback, and you’ll be well on your way to responding to reviews regularly.

Here’s why responding to patient reviews is important and how it factors into what people look for when browsing online reviews and choosing a dentist to visit.

  • Demonstrates a commitment to your patients: When you take the time to thank patients for positive reviews or respond with thoughtful solutions for negative reviews, you show that you care about what they think.
  • Builds a positive online reputation: Online reviews are often the first thing prospective patients consider when evaluating a dentist. Actively engaging with patient reviews builds a positive online reputation and boosts your SEO. Addressing negative reviews constructively shows your commitment to improvement and proactive problem-solving.
  • Promotes open communication and transparency: This bolsters our first point about the importance of communication for successful practices. Bring that communication online to patient reviews when you respond to feedback. Here, you can provide additional information, clarification, and context to potential patients reading reviews.

An increased level of engagement signals that you are approachable, value patient feedback, and are willing to address concerns publicly. All these factors strengthen your patient-dentist relationship.

#4: Patient reviews, scheduling, & software

Hit scheduling issues, long waits, and other timeliness concerns head on when you first use patient engagement software to gather constructive feedback. If you do stumble upon a negative experience, you can address the issue internally with a personalized response and potentially stop a bad patient review making it to a public platform.

Technology tools can help your practice get great reviews to draw in new patients and keep current ones by making scheduling seamless, follow-up easy, and soliciting feedback simple. 

Here’s a step-by-step how-to guide:

  • Prompt your patients to review your practice after their visit. Send a friendly reminder via email or text with an easy to use link that contains a survey.
  • Hint: This survey should include parameters you know matter to other people reading public patient reviews such as satisfaction with scheduling proccess, wait times, and follow up. Give your patients categories to answer as well as an open comment box for any subjects your didn’t cover.
  • If you get a negative response, jump on it! Reach out with thoughtful solutions and offer remedies to unhappy patients.
  • Positive response? Yahoo! Ask that happy patient to please post their thoughts to a public platform like Google Reviews, Yelp, Facebook, or any specialized dental forums in your area.

Make it easy to review your practice with patient engagement software. Whether they come in the form of a survey or an open-ended prompt, make sure you ask your patients to please offer feedback on their visit. When it’s positive, you can push it to the public eye! 

How Intiveo Helps

Intiveo’s bespoke patient engagement software makes getting feedback easy. Tailor the surveys you send to cover specific areas that matter to patients, such as the ones covered in this blog. These are the things people are looking for when they browse the internet for a new dentist!

Auto reminder systems, chat options, and follow-up make offering great services to your patients easy. From there, harness Social Reviews to ask for feedback that increases your awesome online visibility. 

Intiveo starts the process by making dental appointments a breeze—from there, we can help you get patients talking about your practice in positive public patient reviews. Learn more about how we can help your patient reviews contain more and more meaningful content when you book a meeting today.