The Dental Anywhere Blog

Dental Anywhere Discovers the Top Ten Reasons Your Dental Office Stinks… According to Yelp Reviews

It is no secret that with the mass public adoption of social media, businesses– including dental offices– are affected by what consumers are expressing on the internet. Monitoring your online presence is essential for making sure that your business isn’t suffering as a result of these public postings. This is not to say that postings only hurt your business, but without proper oversight, you may be letting your reputation fall into the hands of the reviews.

Yelp was established in 2004, and has exponentially grown since. The review website reported 120 million monthly unique visitors at the end of 2013, with over 53 million local reviews written by users. Due to its massive and active online community, Yelp is a trusted resource for locals to research services and businesses. The Yelp mobile application is accessed by 2 million users a month, putting out a call to a local business every 5 seconds.

With this type of mainstream success, Yelp has the potential to make or break businesses. According to a recent survey done by The Boston Consulting Group, 90% of locals expressed that positive ratings influence their decision to visit or buy from a business, and 72% of consumers said they trust online reviews as much as recommendations from their friends and family. In communities where dentists are abundant, there is no question that locals who look up reviews will be more likely to choose an office with more stars. By letting your social media reputation solely fall into the hands of reviews, you are potentially jeopardizing the possibility of new business. You need to know what’s being said about your practice and how it is being rated.


The research team at Dental Anywhere Mobile Apps wanted to know: what are the top reasons why people rate their dentist negatively on Yelp?  We randomly selected 100 “Most Reviewed” Southern California dental offices listed on Yelp with at least 5 reviews or more. The offices pooled a total of 2,203 reviews, 1,090 of which gave offices 3 or less stars out of a total of 5; 50% of reviews were not complimentary! Within those ratings, Dental Anywhere found 10 consistent complaints that propelled patients to write a poor review, and most likely leave that dental office.


10% of Yelpers in our research complained of having procedures scheduled, started or billed without an explanation or their consent!


11% of Yelpers were bothered that they were not told the New Patient appointment/consultation did not include a cleaning, and that they would have to return (miss more work) to have that done.


13% of Yelpers explicitly mentioned aggressive sales tactics such as “up-selling,” and being bombarded with emails and sales calls.


16% of Yelpers said the dentist hurt them and handled them roughly, exacerbating their dental fears.


16% of Yelpers didn’t like that the billing wasn’t clear, and it was frustrating to receive collection attempts without knowing what they were paying for.


39% of Yelpers were annoyed that they never received a call back from the office or dentist once they had contacted them.


39% of Yelpers were angry their dental work had to be redone, either by the original dentist or someone new. Most of these reviews stated they had to pay for the correction.


42% of Yelpers did not appreciate their bill was incorrect. This included, but was not limited to, being billed for procedures covered by insurance, being billed for procedures not completed, and seeing a price different than originally quoted.


47% of Yelpers hated waiting one or more hours past their appointment time to be seen. Some even stated that after waiting several hours, they were not seen at all.


55% of Yelpers were furious to find out the extensive treatment suggested by one dentist was not needed after seeking a second opinion.

You may recognize that these common complaints ring true for you, and most every dentist. The question is: are your patients posting about it, and how is it affecting your business? Even if you discover your reputation has been momentarily tarnished, the fact is: online review sites can also be a great asset to auditing your practice. Keep an eye on your online reputation, as it is essential for both collecting new patients and learning what drives them away. Yelp can be a make-it-or-break-it resource, and the Dental Anywhere team hopes you will use this new information to your advantage to help your online presence benefit your business.


About Miranda Mendoza

Miranda is currently studying Communications at California State University, Northridge and has been with Dental Anywhere since June 2013. "My favorite part about working with Dental Anywhere is the family environment. We take care of our clients and we take care of each other, and that makes for a great company!"

4 Thoughts on “Dental Anywhere Discovers the Top Ten Reasons Your Dental Office Stinks… According to Yelp Reviews

  1. Great article Miranda. Did you discovered that some of these issues prompted a 4 star reviews while others were worthy of one star? I really appreciate you all doing this research. What a gold mine for dentists trying to improve their practice. Thank you.

    • Miranda Mendoza on May 21, 2014 at 4:32 pm said:

      Hi Bob! Thanks so much for stopping by. When conducting my research, I tried to pull the complaints from an office’s Yelp page that were being repeated across many reviewers, so to avoid isolated incidents. While some of the offices who had these complaints also did have positive reviews (4 or more stars), the presence of the complaints were too abundant to ignore!

  2. What a great list. Every dental practice should be using it.

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