Tips For Getting Patients to Write Reviews

Getting patients to write reviews about your practice is probably the furthest thing from your mind, especially since your focus is on caring for patients, learning new procedures and dealing with day-to-day operations. However, online reviews are important, especially positive ones. A study by Invesp shows that 92% of users will use a local business if it has at least a 4-star rating. And online reviews don’t just impact potential patients/consumers but job candidates as well. A Harvard Business Review study found that a bad reputation costs a company at least 10% more per hire. 

Beyond being a snapshot of what your current patients think of your practice, online reviews are also an essential part of increasing your overall website rankings on search engines. The higher your website ranks, the more visitors your website receives. And more traffic to your website means more people who are likely to convert into new patients which means more revenue for your practice. 

It’s easy to see now why making sure you have as many positive reviews as possible is key to the success of your dental practice. But just how do you get patients to write reviews for your practice? Here are 6 tips to get your patients to write reviews about your dental practice. 

1 | Just Ask!

Believe it or not, most patients will write a review if you just ask them to. Don’t believe us? Then take a look at this stat: a BrightLocal study found that a whopping 68% of consumers will leave a review if asked. Each time you finish an appointment with a patient who is happy, ask them to go online and leave a review. It really is that simple. 

If you aren’t asking in person then design a system that sends your patients a follow-up email right after they have left your practice. This ensures that their experience is still fresh in their minds, making it easier to write a review that is more meaningful to your practice. In the email, simply ask how their experience was today and then direct them to your review links where they can then leave a review. (Pro Tip: make sure that someone regularly checks that these links are not broken.) 

2 | Provide Exceptional Care

We just mentioned that you should ask happy patients to leave reviews. This is something you probably already know, but in order to have happy patients you have to provide exceptional care first. Exceptional care is what motivates patients to actually take time out of their day to write a review for you. If your services are average, your reviews will be too. Going above and beyond is what will make your practice stand out from the competition. 

3 | Make Patient Reviews Easy to Submit

Making reviews easy to submit starts with signing your practice up for multiple online review sites. Besides having multiple options to choose from so they don’t have to sign up for a new account just to leave you a review, be sure to send the links to all your review sites in an email directly after they have left the practice, as mentioned above. This makes it easy for patients to go home and write a review when it’s convenient for them on their favorite review site. Before signing up for review sites, take a few minutes to research which ones you believe are most relevant to your practice and your patients. Some examples of review sites include Google Reviews, Yelp and Facebook Recommendations. 

4 | Offer an Incentive

It is common to have patients that love your practice, but lack the motivation to leave a review. One of the best ways to motivate these types of patients is to offer them an incentive. How generous you want to be is totally up to you (think free travel-sized tooth brushing kit or free dental check voucher) as well as knowing what will personally motivate your patients. 

5 | Make Leaving Reviews Accessible

We understand that not everyone has the technology at home to leave a review, such as no internet connection. The easiest way to combat this issue is to offer the technology and assistance necessary to leave reviews while your patients are still in your practice. Set up a tablet in the waiting room that patients can use between treatments or just before they leave. If time and resources allow, be sure there is a staff member who is available to assist them if they need help navigating the process. 

6 | Put those Reviews to Work

Once you have collected those reviews it’s time to really put them to work. Add your reviews to your website on a testimonial page or in your website’s footer or sidebar. Depending on the review platform you use, there are widgets you can install on your website that easily help share the most recent top reviews. 

If you do get a negative review, be sure that you don’t ignore it. Answer it promptly (you should have a staff member regularly checking all your reviews) in a polite and professional manner. After acknowledging the issue, provide your email so that the unhappy patient can resolve the issue with your practice out of the public view. If there are fake or misleading reviews, put in a request to the platform that they be removed.

Cross Training in the Dental Office

If inefficient office procedures are weighing your practice down, it may be time to reevaluate your management style. One of the best ways to change up your management style is to cross train your employees and even share the responsibilities of management. This can lead to positive growth and help you lose the “boss stigma” as you become seen as an involved and supportive leader instead. 

How To Set it Up

Just how does this cross training look? It’s actually pretty simple. Beyond their current clinical or business role, each member of your team will be cross trained to also manage one particular system within the practice to help the team achieve growth in that area. This basically makes each person a systems manager for that particular area of the practice. 

<span>Photo by <a href="">Jon Tyson</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a></span>

To achieve real results, each systems manager should study and organize the system to obtain measurable results and produce progress reports. Being able to measure progress brings in a higher level of accountability for the whole team. The progress reports can then help the team make decisions together with input from the leader and can also serve as a good visual that can help push the team forward when needed. 

The Benefits

Not only can it help your practice to achieve growth, but cross training can make life easier by sharing the responsibilities of management. It can bring more organization to the management side, plus with the whole team involved, you will even see an increase in profit. It can also bring enthusiasm, especially to meetings, and your employees will develop the kind of emotional ownership that you may have been trying to instill previously with no results. Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the benefits.


It goes without saying that the profit center of most dental practices is the time spent with patients. For the dentist who works a 30 hour week, the majority of those hours should be focused in the profit center and not on management. Furthermore, the remaining time should be spent on leadership as well. By spreading out the duties of management, it makes it possible for the dentist to spend over 90% of their time in the profit center. 


With the whole team now focused on the important management systems, this also frees up the dentist to focus on clinical dentistry. With the dentist focused more on the clinical side and a whole team of people making management decisions, this can lead to growth in size, quality or even in culture. Without an entire team focused on management, this can lead to a lack of resources and energy, and even cause higher staff turnover. 


By getting the whole team involved in some aspect of managing the practice, you are empowering your team. Cross training your dental staff can lead to feelings of a shared responsibility and more pride in improving the workplace and the practice. Plus, the progress reports that show measurable results can help keep employees from feeling bored or even burnt out with the day-in-day-out routine they would otherwise have. Cross training can increase team spirit, cooperation, problem solving and innovation. So, not only does it make your employees leaders in their own right and feel good about what they are doing, but it also makes your practice better in so many ways!

The Key Aspect

The key aspect to this whole restructuring are meetings! We suggest a systems report meeting at least once a month so that the team feels safe to make changes. And now, these meetings won’t be top-down, but more like a board meeting where each manager will have the opportunity to lead the meeting for a few minutes. These meetings are also a great time to brainstorm solutions to problems. Don’t forget to keep in mind that each system runs parallel, with all aspects of the business affecting each other. This is one of the reasons why meetings are crucial to achieving balance among all systems. 

What Systems to Manage

What systems need managing? The list could be endless. We recommend listing each system out in order of priority and then assign as many of them as you have staff members. Be sure that the person you assign to the system has some genuine interest in that system. Some examples of systems that need managing include:

  • The financial system
  • The scheduling system
  • The recall system
  • The inventory and ordering system
  • The new patient activity system
  • The internal marketing system
  • The continuing education system
  • The health and hazard communication system

Once these systems are managed, others may stand out like laboratory-case coordination or equipment maintenance. 


The role of your managers may continue to evolve slowly as you find new areas to cross train in or as new issues arise. With the whole team on board sharing the responsibilities of management, you can create a sense of empowerment among your staff, create positive growth and increase your efficiency and profits!

How to Restructure a Dental Office Company

Perhaps you have been thinking about restructuring your company or dental practice lately. However, if you do decide to restructure, it is important that you do it properly and that you don’t use it as a half-measure to fix your issues. Let’s take a look at the benefits of restructuring your dental office and some tips on doing it properly.

Why You May Want to Restructure

The Benefits

There are huge benefits to tax planning for small businesses and many dentists are restructuring their practices to maximize the tax benefits that come with a customized business structure. One of the most popular ways to restructure is to establish a management company that helps with the 

operations side of your practice. A management company can be very beneficial, especially if you have multiple offices.

Throwing Caution to the Wind

If you decide to restructure to establish a management company for your dental practice, it is extremely important that you do it correctly. In January 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided against a dentist who sought to claim fees charged by his management company as expenses to be deducted from his federal income taxes. While his management company was performing services vital to the operation of the practice, they decided against this dentist because he made some key mistakes when establishing his management company. 

Tips to Properly Establishing a Management Company

Functioning Employees

When you establish a management company, be sure that the company has functioning employees. Do not make anyone a “co-employee” and do not have your office manager be the booker. It is important that the functioning employees of your management company be separate; in other words, they should not be employees of the dental practice, but employees of the management company. 

Have it On Record

There needs to be records of what services the management company actually provides. Having sound procedures in place will help your office staff keep appropriate records that are not only vital to your practice’s operation, but are also required under numerous federal laws like HIPAA. 

Invoice It

The management company needs to issue monthly invoices for the services provided and those charges should be paid on a monthly basis. Do not pay the management company one lump sum at the end of the year. Also, the dentist who owns the practice should not be the one calculating how much the management company is owed. This work should be done by an accountant of the management company. These invoices are also part of the documentation needed to prove expenses of the management company. 


If you decide to create a management company, it is important that you do it properly in order to take full advantage of the benefits that restructuring offers. Having separate employees, documenting and invoicing are very important to the success of your restructure. If you think this option is for you, be sure to work with experienced dental professionals that can help you properly and fully integrate your new business structure into your practice. Think of it this way, you wouldn’t buy a new piece of dental equipment and then plan to use it improperly or not at all. So it also makes sense that when you restructure, you do it properly in order to receive all the benefits!

Misnomer of the Independent Contractors/1099

Sometimes, dental hygienists are misclassified as an independent contractor. When this happens, they receive a 1099 in the mail for their tax document. Unfortunately, misclassifying workers can have serious consequences. The IRS is starting to crack down on employers who misclassify employees. What can you do if you notice you have been misclassified? We’ll go over everything you need to know. 

 What is a 1099 Contract Worker?

A contract worker signs a W-9 instead of a W-2. However, the big difference is in how much an employee owes in taxes. Contract workers assume the entire 15% tax burden along with forgoing other employee protections, reducing the employer’s tax burden by an estimated 30%. Contract workers also do not have any taxes withheld from their paycheck and depending on how much they make, they most likely will be required to pay estimated quarterly taxes or pay all taxes in a lump sum come tax time. The IRS requires a business to issue a 1099 to any contract worker who earns more than $600 a year. In contrast, a W-2 employee has a significantly lower tax burden. This is because the employer is required to match the Social Security and Medicare contributions. A W-2 employee does have the option to withhold money from their paycheck for taxes. 

 How are Misclassifications Happening?

Some dentist employers misclassify dental hygienists as contractors. While this practice has been going on for decades, it is illegal in nearly every situation. This practice is often used when a dental hygienist works as a temporary, filling in for the regular hygienist or helping an office with a heavy schedule for a short time. However, this practice has been expanding with a growing number of dental offices reclassifying regular employees, either full or part time, as independent contractors. 

In some cases, the employer will claim their accountant has determined it is okay to pay dental hygienists as a contractor. However, the IRS definition of an independent contractor is very clear and specific and it is actually quite rare that a dental hygienist would qualify under the IRS guidelines as an independent contractor. 

So What is the Big Deal?

Misclassifying employees is illegal. Up until recently, the issue was rarely pursued. This was because the IRS’s goal was to collect taxes from whomever was willing to fork up the money. However, with more employers purposely misclassifying their employees, the IRS is now cracking down on this illegal practice. 

As an employee, if you are changed to a contract worker status, you get a huge pay cut (due to the increased amount of taxes you’ll owe) if you don’t also receive a pay increase. And you will no longer be eligible for employee benefits such as worker’s compensation, unemployment insurance or paid overtime. 

What Are Your Options as a Misclassified Employee?

All employee wages are made aware to the IRS, so failing to report income is illegal and can come with serious consequences. There are a few options an employee who has been misclassified can choose from:

  • Option 1 – Not the best option for your pocketbook, but the simplest option: Report your income and accept responsibility for the 15% tax burden, filing as a 1099 contract worker.
  • Option 2 – A slightly better option but may not get results: Contact the dental office and request a W-2. Include the definitions of a contract worker and a completed W-4 for their records. Hand deliver this request or use certified mail with return receipt requested to verify the request was sent and received. 
  • Option 3 – The ideal option: File an SS-8. This notifies the IRS that you may have been misclassified. A file will eventually be opened and the IRS will make a ruling. If the IRS determines that you were misclassified, the employer will be required to pay all back taxes, fines and penalties for late payment. Including IRS form 8919 in your tax return is the most correct way to determine the employee tax rate. 

Option one is probably best for those who made only a couple hundred dollars from a job; in the future, be sure an employer does not misclassify you. However, if you made a couple thousand or more, the third option is your best way to proceed.

Bullying in the Dental Office

We’ve all heard stories about kids being cyberbullied by peers online or bullied at school. But bullying can happen in any environment, including at work, and it has become a growing concern across the country. In dental offices, bullying of dental assistants has become an ever increasing concern. The forms of bullying in the workplace can include verbal, nonverbal, psychological and even physical abuse. 

The Effects of Bullying

Beyond that, bullying at the office can have devastating effects not only on the person being abused and the workplace culture itself, but it can also have a financial impact on your business. Bullying in the workplace can result in decreased productivity, sick leave, health issues, employee disengagement and the cost of training new staff. Dental offices aren’t immune to workplace bullying. And while a lot of dental offices are aware this problem exists, they are often unprepared for when it does happen. 

Reasons Why it Happens

So why does it happen and why are we not prepared for it? Often, bullying is tolerated because it is seen as a style of leadership for someone who is difficult to work with or for. In many cases, there is a lack of workplace policies about bullying and the procedures in place for dealing with it. And for those who are being bullied by a superior, it can be scary to speak out, for fear of retaliation.

What Bullying in the Office Can Look Like

Bullying in the office can come in many forms. It can be peer to peer or a superior bullying an employee. Just a few examples include withholding work related information, isolation or exclusion, micromanagement, setting an employee up to purposely fail, incessant criticism or even jealousy. 

What to Do if You Suspect Your are a Victim of Bullying

  • Document the who, what, why, where and when. Document the frequency and pattern of incidents. Having strong evidence of the bullying will make it difficult for the bully to deny it when confronted.
  • Read up on the subject. Knowledge is power that will help you deal with the situation. It will also help you know that you are not alone.
  • Talk to someone about it. Don’t bottle up your emotions. Talk to colleagues you trust to see if they have witnessed any of the incidents that you have experienced.
  • After the bully has been confronted and they haven’t changed, know your limits and when it is time to leave and find a place where you will be respected for your work and what you bring to the business. 

What to Do if You Witness Bullying or it is Reported to You

  • If you witness it, document it. Include the who, what, where, when and why. Use this information when discussing the issue with the bully. 
  • Confront the bully. Remind them that you are both adults and that their actions have no place in a successful business. 
  • Be strong and don’t be emotional when discussing the issue with the bully. Use facts and don’t be surprised if the bully tries to turn the discussion into an emotional one. Rise above that and be professional.
  • After confronting the bully, look to see if things change. If they do, that is great. If not, then you need to decide if they need to be spoken to again or let go. 


Remember, the common thread among bullies, no matter where the abuse is happening, is that they do it to feel better about themselves. Misery loves company. Don’t give them that satisfaction. For the person being abused, stand up to them or report the abuse to a superior. And if you witness abuse, don’t be silent. It will seem difficult at the time, but dealing with a bully can really improve the workplace environment and improve the business overall.

Make Yourself an Asset that Brings Value to the Office

It’s important to make sure that you are worth the pay rate or salary that you are asking for, otherwise, you won’t get that rate or raise. In order to make yourself worthy of what you ask for in pay, you must make yourself an asset. It’s important to understand that it is more than just showing up on time and doing your own work. It’s about bringing value to the office. Here are some tips to help make yourself an asset that brings value to the office. 

Work Ethic

Having a strong work ethic is important for success. It shows that you care about what you do and that you take it just as seriously as your boss. Forming these good habits is essential to impressing your employer.

Manage Your Time: Increase your productivity by using your time wisely. Some ways to help you manage your time include making a “to do” list and prioritizing it, planning ahead and don’t multitask (research shows you actually accomplish less when you try to multitask). 

Get Focused: Eliminate distractions and don’t procrastinate. Focus on the task at hand and be persistent. 

Follow Office Policies and Procedures: Be sure to follow all office policies and procedures. If you have an issue with something, bring it up with your boss in a respectful way that allows for dialogue. 

If You are On Time, You’re Late: Make sure to plan a little extra time into your morning commute just in case of traffic and arrive a few minutes early to work each day. This will ensure that you are ready to hit the ground running as soon as you’re on the clock.

Be a Team Player: Make sure that you are working as part of the team. Don’t complain when a task gets assigned to you or when you are asked to help with something. Go above and beyond by cross training so you can help others in the office when they need it or can fill in for someone when they are out sick or on vacation. Showing you are willing to take on more when needed means you will be an indispensable part of the team. And don’t forget to be kind to your co-workers!


Your attitude affects your work. Having a positive mindset will not only make the work you do better, but it will also increase your own personal job satisfaction. 

Don’t Gossip: Remember to not gossip about co-workers or patients. Not only does this waste time at work but it also creates cliques that can create bad attitudes, destroy trust and ruin teamwork. 

Show Enthusiasm: When you do your work with enthusiasm, you are more likely to do better work. Being passionate about what you do shows your employer you care. Not only that, but it is infectious and you’ll help your entire team be excited to come to work each day!

Be Kind and Courteous: Not only do you need to be kind and courteous to your co-workers, but show respect to your patients as well. Don’t make them feel like you are in a hurry. Instead, take time to answer their questions or concerns to show you care. This not only brings worth to your employer, but your clients as well. 

Professional Appearance

When you are at work, remember that you are representing your office or staffing company. Make sure you have a professional appearance and you’ll prove that you put the office’s reputation first. 

Personal Hygiene: It should go without saying, but make sure that you keep up with your personal hygiene. That means having clean teeth, breath and hair among other things. 

Neat Appearance: Have a clean and neat appearance and wear professional attire. Make sure your nails are clean and that your manicures are not over the top. Your hair should also be styled in a professional manner. 

The Nose Knows: Make sure that you don’t wear too much perfume or cologne. You don’t want to overwhelm co-workers and patients with sensitive noses. You also don’t want to smell like smoke, which can affect those with sensitive noses or asthma. And don’t forget to wear deodorant!

OSHA Compliance: Are Things Changing? Do They Need to Change?

The Effects of COVID-19 on Dental Practices

Coronavirus has had a huge effect on how we are living our daily lives, from many staying home as much as possible to wearing masks while out. Scientists have also said that life will continue to be different as we wait for the curve to flatten out across the country and for a possible vaccine or treatment for the virus. As the infection curve begins to drop, many governors are allowing certain businesses to open back up. What will this mean for your dental practice? Will things change and if so, how will they change?

During the time of Coronavirus, things will most definitely need to change in order to protect everyone and to limit the spread of the virus. Many scientists have agreed that there will most likely be a new “normal” even after we have flattened the curve. It may be some time before a real treatment or a vaccine will be discovered and until then, we will need to exercise caution in all types of settings. Some scientists think there could be a resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall. And this will mean that even after flattening the curve, there will need to be changes to how we live daily life, including how we receive medical and dental treatment. 

Who Can be Treated

First, it is important to understand we have to stop or limit the spread of COVID-19 until a vaccine is found. We must all do our part, including using infection control procedures in dental facilities. Because of this, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended that during COVID-19, dental practices postpone elective procedures, surgeries and non-urgent dental visits and prioritize urgent and emergency visits. This recommendation also aligns with the recommendations from the American Dental Association (ADA),  the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) as well as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In other words, all non-essential exams and procedures should be postponed until further notice. And by focusing on emergency dental visits in your office, you will also help alleviate the burden that dental emergencies would otherwise place on hospitals emergency departments. 

How to Treat Emergency Dental Patients with Coronavirus

If you have an emergency patient with known or suspected COVID-19, dental providers should follow interim guidance from the CDC for both dental settings and healthcare settings to ensure the safety of you and your office staff. Some of these steps include using proper PPE such as eye protection, masks, gowns and gloves. It is also recommended that during aerosol-generating procedures that your mask be an N95 respirator. All PPE should be thrown out after each patient visit, donning new PPE for every patient you see in your office. If you cannot follow this guidance, the CDC recommends that you work with colleagues and other medical providers to determine the appropriate facility for treatment. The urgency and need for a procedure should be based on your clinical judgement and made on a case-by-case basis. 

Keeping Your Clinic Clean

Keeping things in your clinic sterile and clean has probably always been a priority for you, however, it is of even more importance now. In order to limit the spread of Coronavirus, it is recommended that you implement a heavier disinfecting protocol in your clinic. This means that you should disinfect all surfaces in your examination rooms before a new patient enters. These surfaces should include but not be limited to: the dental chair, dental lights, countertops and drawer handles. It is also recommended that you cover some equipment with protective covers that are replaced after each cleaning of the exam room. Be sure that you and your staff also thoroughly disinfect all non-disposable tools between each patient. Before seeing a patient and putting on a new pair of gloves, your whole team needs to wash their hands thoroughly as well. 

Don’t forget to disinfect any areas in your lobby that your patients may have come into contact with, such as the reception desk and door handles. Only have one patient in your office at a time and the patient should come by themselves. If they need a ride home after a procedure, their driver should wait outside. 

Keeping Your Employees Safe

Not only do you want to ensure that your patients are safe, but your employees as well. If an employee suspects they have Coronavirus or has come into contact with someone with a known case, do not allow them to come into the office for two weeks. If they are not showing any symptoms after two weeks, it should be safe for them to come back to work. Remember that there can be asymptomatic carriers of the virus so you and your dental staff should practice social distancing as much as possible and wear masks when needed, even when there isn’t a patient in the office. Also, follow guidance from the CDC and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to keep you and your employees safe. 

In the Future: After the Curve Flattens

No one really knows what to expect in the future, other than that things will have to change until a vaccine is found. Many are referring to this as a “new normal.” At some point, you should be able to start seeing patients for non-emergency procedures and check-ups. You will need to continue to heavily clean and disinfect your clinic and it may be that you will only be able to have one patient at a time in your office. Now and in the future, you will need to continue to follow the guidance of the ADA, ADHA, CDC and OSHA to protect you, your staff and your patients. Remember, we are all in this together and must all do our part to help limit and stop the spread of COVID-19.