How to Respond to Reviews of Your Dental Practice

Responding to your practice’s Google reviews matters for two reasons: reputation and rankings.

  1. Reputation: When patients leave a review, they’re opening a conversation. A brief, friendly response wraps things on a good note and shows your gratitude to the reviewer. When someone finds your practice on Google, they’ll see your professionalism right away and assume you’ll treat them the same way. 
  1. Rankings: Responding to Google reviews helps with SEO. According to Google: “When you reply to reviews, it shows that you value your customers and their feedback.” Responding to reviews helps you get the maximum return on your review strategy. It can even help you get more reviews! A controlled study by Harvard Business Review showed that companies that responded to every review saw a 12% increase in reviews submitted.

Plus, companies responding to reviews is just the modern expectation. 53% of customers say businesses should take less than a week to respond to a review. 33% say the business should take three days or fewer for a negative review (Review Trackers).

Survey Says: 89% of searchers are ‘fairly’ or ‘highly’ likely to pick a business that responds to every review (BrightLocal).

To respond to a review, all you have to do is log in to your Google Business Profile, select “Reviews,” and click “Reply” next to your selected review. If you use reputation management software, you can reply to reviews right from your dashboard.

To get your responses right, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Use Keywords in Your Responses to Maximize SEO

Insider Tip: Even some of the most successful dental practices don’t know that using keywords in your review responses gives you a big SEO boost. 

For example, if you offer cosmetic dentistry, this is your opportunity to say so. If the reviewer mentions it, your response can include a line like “Thanks for your review, we love providing cosmetic dentistry!”

Then, when someone in your area searches for “cosmetic dentistry” you’re more likely to show up at the top of the Local Pack.

Keep Everything HIPAA Compliant

Before we get into specific responses, remember to stay HIPAA compliant. In other industries, businesses can say pretty much anything when they respond to a customer – including providing specific details about the person and their visit or purchase. 

For dental and medical practices, it’s a whole different ball game. Just like in everything else your practice does, patient privacy is the highest priority. Don’t put your practice or staff at risk by forgetting that review responses are public and have the potential to compromise HIPAA.

The key, of course, is to avoid providing any personal information about your reviewer. 

Here are some common tips for HIPAA-compliant review responses:

  • Stay general and positive: “Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review, we really appreciate it.”
  • Don’t use specific details about a patient even if you know who they are, and if you reference a service they named in their review, keep it general: “We love providing Invisalignfor our patients.”
  • Avoid acknowledging they’re a patient: “It’s so important to us that our patients have a great experience! Thanks for sharing that feedback.”
  • When you can’t stay general, direct them to contact you: “We’re really sorry to hear that and want to learn more. Please contact our office at 123-456-7890.”
  • When in doubt, stick to a kind “thank you”

If you use a review management platform, you can set up a variety of HIPAA-compliant response templates so your staff can choose between options that have already been approved.

How to Respond to a Positive Review

Responding to a positive review is your opportunity to respond with keywords. You can repeat any references the patient made to their service. Overall, keep it friendly and brief, always focusing on your gratitude for the reviewer taking the time to help out with your reputation.

Positive Review Response Templates:

  • “Thanks for taking the time to leave a five star review!”
  • “Thank you for your feedback! We love providing Botox for our patients.”
  • “Our hygienists are the best and always strive to make sure pediatric patients have a positive experience.”


In summary, when you get a positive review:

  • Respond every time
  • Say thank you
  • Use keywords
  • Keep it simple
  • Remember HIPAA 
  • Try to vary responses

How to Respond to a Negative Review

A few negative reviews shouldn’t keep you up at night. While a business with mainly negative reviews will scare away 94% of prospects, those numbers aren’t the same if you mostly have great reviews with one or two rotten ones (Review Trackers).

Plus, as bad as it feels to get a crappy review, maybe one will give you an idea of how to improve your practice in a way that will lead to more happy patients in the future. 

Responding to a negative review is your opportunity to show who you are. In the process, you might even win over someone who reads it. In one survey, 45% of review readers said they were actually more likely to visit a business if it always responded to negative reviews (BrightLocal). 

Before you type out a response, take a deep breath and confer with your team. It’s not worth sending a hasty reply in the heat of the moment that might not reflect your practice’s values.

Negative Review Response Templates:

  • “Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. We’re so sorry to hear about this. Please call our office at 123-456-7890 so we can learn more.”
  • “Thanks for sharing a review. It’s our top priority that our patients understand exactly what the dentist is doing and that they always feel heard. Give us a call so we can understand exactly what went wrong.”
  • “We strive to start every appointment on time and treat every patient with respect. Our email inbox is open at dentist@bestdentistever.com, please reach out so we can continue this conversation there.”

In summary, when you get a negative review:

  • Don’t respond in the heat of the moment
  • Bring it back to your practice’s values
  • Keep it friendly
  • Lead the reviewer towards a one-on-one conversation
  • When appropriate, reach out to your reviewer via phone call to discuss their complaint privately

Responding to a review shouldn’t take longer than a minute or two, and it can make a big difference, including reducing the impact of negative reviews by 70% (Software Advice). Once you’ve gotten in the groove of getting and responding to reviews, it’s smooth sailing. 

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