Online dentist reviews can be a great resource for choosing a new dentist, but they shouldn’t be your only resource.
More and more people have been relying on online reviews when searching for a new health care provider or vendor. In fact, in 2017, approximately 97 percent of consumers looked online for local businesses, according to BrightLocal’s latest Local Consumer Survey. Positive reviews reportedly helped 73 percent of consumers trust local businesses more, and 30 percent of respondents said reviews were a key part of judging businesses.
So of course, when looking for a new dentist, you and your coworkers will want to check out local reviews. But you don’t want to stop there. Here’s some advice for rounding out your search.
Visit Multiple Online Review Sites
When considering new dentists, don’t just look at one review site—look at several. Some review sites remove negative reviews or tend to hide them at the bottom, and others might get flooded with people leaving fake reviews. This is why you need to look at more than one site.
Filter the reviews by the most recent and also be sure and read the “hidden reviews.” Look for patterns appearing in the comments that may indicate a problem or a positive trend of great service. Some review sites you might want to visit include Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google +, among others.
Consider Nextdoor & Other Resources for Ideas
Nextdoor is a neighborhood-focused website that you can only join if you provide proof of where you live. At that point, you’ll create a profile and you’ll be able to communicate with people within a specific radius of your community. This is a great site to use when you’re looking for dental reviews because people are more likely to be honest.
Try searching NextDoor for the term “dentist” to look for old reviews or just make a new thread and ask for referrals. As an added bonus, most of the recommendations you get will be for dentists in your immediate area.
After NextDoor, you can also turn to social media sites (like Facebook) for recommendations. A referral can mean a lot more if it comes from someone you trust. You might even use Angie’s List to look at reviews. Since users have to pay to use Angie’s List, these reviews are also more likely to be honest.
Additionally, you can visit the American Dental Association website and search for ADA member dentists in your community. You can search by ZIP code or address, as well as the type of dentist and the maximum distance from your home or ZIP code that you prefer.
Additional Points to Consider
Online reviews can be a good starting point when you’re looking for a dentist, but they certainly won’t tell you everything. When you find a dentist with good reviews, your very next step should be to contact your insurance company and make sure the dentist is in-network.
With an HMO plan, your dentist must be within network for any kind of coverage. With a PPO, you may have a wider range of options but different levels of copayments depending on your choice of dentist.
Next, consider taking the following measures:
- Check to see if your prospective dentist has a Better Business Bureau ranking or any claims listed on your state’s dental board. You can typically search for state board disciplinary or public actions online, such as through this portal on Texas’ dental board.
- Find out the dentist’s hours and how far away they are from you. Location can mean everything, especially if you need to visit frequently or during rush hour.
- Ask the dentist about policies with new patients. Are they currently taking new patients? Do they require a visit first before a cleaning? Do they offer specials for new patients?
- Find out if you can have copies of your X-rays sent over. If you’re ever concerned that your dentist is suggesting too many fillings, you might want to get a second opinion.
- Ask how the staff handles emergencies outside of business hours.
- Finally, ask for a sample of treatment costs. Does the dentist offer any type of financial payment options outside of what your insurance covers?
At the office, you can help your fellow employees by ensuring an insurance agent is available to talk to them about any dental insurance questions they may have. Some dental insurance providers might even offer a list of covered dentists up front, to help with the search. Finding a new dentist doesn’t have to be difficult, but you’ll definitely want to dome some research beyond reading online dentist reviews.