Encouraging positive reviews from our dental patients

Dec. 1, 2013
Good or bad, our patients are talking about us. So why not make sure those reviews are positive? Dr. Steven Goldberg discusses two tools you can use to encourage your patients to become social media evangelists for your dental practice, and they both center on eliminating pain and making your patients smile.

Our patients are talking about us. Whether good or bad, they’re doing it

With Internet use at an all-time high, Facebook hovering at 1.1 billion users, and consumer business review sites such as Yelp, DrOogle, ZocDoc, and RankMyDentist, there are certainly many social media platforms for our patients to talk about us and express their opinions to others ... millions of others!

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Patients have an open forum and are reporting their dental experience with us as they see it from their perspective. While we all hope for positive patient reviews, without a clear plan of action we could end up with this actual Yelp post, “I wish there was an option for negative stars!”

Here are a couple of ideas that I use in my daily practice to encourage the posting of positive patient reviews.

1. Stop hurting our patients!

We all use local anesthetics to help us practice pain-free dentistry. And these days, our patients expect that the dental treatment they undergo will be painless. Isn’t it ironic that the injection we use to practice pain-free dentistry is painful? No matter what we may believe, our patients say that injections hurt! If you anesthetize your patients comfortably, they will sing your praises to their family and friends all over the Internet.

I use the DentalVibe® Injection Comfort System to help me deliver the most comfortable injections possible. It’s a hand-held, cordless device designed to block the pain of intraoral injections. It “shakes up” the site where the injection is being administered, sending a message to the brain that closes the neural “pain gate.”

DentalVibe® Injection Comfort System

Using new technologies such as the DentalVibe are what stand out in a patient’s mind, giving your patients something to talk about with others. Through its use, you visibly show your patients that you are doing all that you possibly can to ensure their comfort.

After all, the patients experience receiving a painless injection is a highly “shareable” story. Those artful secondary grooves in a composite bonded molar restoration might impress fellow colleagues, but our patients are even more appreciative of the noticeable touches that make their visit to our offices as comfortable for them as possible.

Delivering pain-free care is the first part of the process. Providing your patients with a forum to spread the good word to their family and friends is the second.

Clinicians utilizing the DentalVibe, have access to an online patient sweepstakes that provides an additional tool needed to encourage the posting of positive patient testimonials on social media.

Here’s how it works.

At each procedure where DentalVibe is used, your patient receives a sweepstakes entry slip instructing them to post a positive testimonial about you and your practice on their own personal Facebook page or shares their wonderful experience with others by email.

The process is easy and patients are highly motivated by both a positive dental experience and the chance to win a monthly giveaway of an Apple iPad mini and a year-end grand prize of $25,000.

2. Making our patients smile!

Everyone wants to feel good. And what better way to feel good than to have a pleasing smile? With the many cosmetic dental treatment options available today, we have the educational and technical wherewithal to provide the most beautiful smiles for our patients.

Esthetic enhancements and transformations (smile makeovers) are surefire ways to prompt our patients to talk positively about us on social media outlets.

However, although many patients would just love to have that “perfect smile,” they may be apprehensive about undergoing traditional invasive cosmetic dental treatments. They may also be limited by economics or may be concerned about not knowing the final treatment outcome.

Use Snap-On Smile®. It is a noninvasive, completely reversible esthetic restorative or diagnostic option that is relatively affordable for many patients. Utilizing this comfortable, removable appliance provides patients with instant gratification. And when used as an interim cosmetic enhancement, “trial smile,” it often leads patients to undergo more extensive, permanent restorative treatment at a later date.

What better way to turn our patients into positive social media evangelists for us than to immediately make them smile?

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Steven G. Goldberg, DDS, FADFE, graduated from New York University’s College of Dentistry and has been in private practice for more than two decades. In that time, he went on to build a successful general and cosmetic dental practice in Boca Raton, Fla., and invented the new DentalVibe Injection Comfort System. Dr. Goldberg first recognized the challenges of the pain associated with dental injections during his years as a student at NYU. He developed the DentalVibe based on Drs. Ronald Melzack and Patrick Wall's "Gate Control Theory of Pain." This remarkable scientific device delivers a gentle, pulsed vibration sensation at the area where an injection is being administered. Because vibration travels faster to the brain than the sensation of pain, a neurological gating mechanism is closed and the patient feels no pain.