Dentist Suing Over Negative Online Review

Dentist Suing Over Negative Online Review: CourthouseNegative online dental reviews are making headlines again this week after an Oregon dentist filed a lawsuit against a former patient for disparaging remarks posted on, Google and

According to the Willamette Week Newspaper, Dr. Mo Saleh is suing dental patient, Spencer Bailey for $300,000 for damage to his reputation and loss of revenue.

When the dentist discovered the negative reviews, he immediately contacted Bailey and threatened legal action if the posts were not removed. Bailey states that he immediately went back to the sites and removed his remarks, which is unusual for people who post negative reviews, but the dentist moved forward with a lawsuit anyway.

Allegedly, some of the negative remarks by Bailey included telling site visitors to get a second opinion if Dr. Saleh tells them that they have cavities. The reports that Bailey claims that when he visited the dentist he was told that he had several cavities that needed to be taken care of, which surprised Bailey because he’d gone 32 years without a single cavity.

After receiving treatment, Bailey sought the opinion of another dentist who told him that many of the fillings Dr. Saleh performed were not necessary and that some of the dental work was substandard. That’s when Bailey became upset and took his anger to online review sites.

Meanwhile Bailey’s attorney has filed a motion to have Dr. Saleh’s lawsuit dismissed under Oregon’s anti-SLAPP law.

The Wealthy Dentist encourages dentists to not let emotion guide them when dealing with negative online reviews. Usually the negative publicity surrounding legal action taken by dentists over negative reviews further paints them in a bad light with the general public.

It’s better to calmly respond to what was said in a positive light and invite the patient back to your dental practice to discuss the situation further. Ask your best patients to post their thoughts about your dental office so the review sites have a more balanced view of your dental practice.

For more detailed dental marketing strategy for handling negative online reviews, see Dental Marketing: A Guide for Avoiding Negative Online Reviews.

How would you handle a negative online review?

About Jim Du Molin

+Jim Du Molin is a leading Internet marketing expert for dentists in North America. He has helped hundreds of doctors make more money in their practices using his proven Internet marketing techniques.

  • Guest

    I think people should have a right to free speech.  What I object with is when people use their right to do damage on purpose.  How would patients like it if their dental office were to call their place of business and make disparaging or defamatory remarks about them – or post on their social media pages these remarks.  The problem with social media is how it is too easy for someone to leave such remarks, both by patients and other offices.  Should he have sued, probably not.  I think these social media sites should be held responsible, there are so many these days it’s hard to keep up with them.  Why is it you can’t remove your negative reviews from them, yet you aren’t allowed to leave any about them?


    I, like Dr. Saleh, am a dentist in the Portland area.  Last year I had a patient who attempted to extort money out of me unsuccessfully.  Part of her tactic was to post an outrageous review and threaten to leave it there and do worse if I didn’t give her money.  I refused and used legal force to get her review taken down.  2 days after the story of Dr. Saleh made the news my former patient re-posted a reworded version of her review and used similar language about me that I have noticed in negative reviews about Dr. Saleh.  Thanks a lot Mo!  You empowered that nutjob back into my life!

    My advice is that professionals of all variety take a deep breath and remember that you cannot please everyone.  Going after a negative review (one that wasn’t that bad in my opinion) with a $300,000.00 suit will only pi$$ off your clients even more and empower others to flex their online rant muscles.  Do us all a favor and work toward a positive average online review score rather than losing sleep over anything that is less than perfect.

  • Cath

    Thank you DDS & Guest for leaving comments and offering your point of view to this ongoing issue that keeps reappearing for dentists.

  • As a professional internet marketer for over 13 years, I can tell you that the impact of online reviews is only going to expand.  This is a good thing because reviews currently encourage service providers to put patients first.  Eventually the reach of online comments will force all businesses to put customer satisfaction ahead of all else.

  • Jessedictor

    There is a big issue with small businesses and “Review Websites” like Yelp, CitySearch, and Google Reviews and that is the ability for them to decide what is a valid review and what is not, with us having little or no say.

    A dentist I work with got a negative review because a patient claimed “He was charged because the dentist found a cavity”. Dentists don’t charge by finding cavities- its the mans only review. Yelp won’t take it down. Meanwhile, elite yelpers constantly find their reviews to be filtered.

    Google Reviews are just as bad. A dentist I work with got a one line negative review from someone in India, and me arguing with google over it amounted to “Unless you plan on Legal action, that comment stays”.

    Not to mention horror stories I hear about a dentist getting negative reviews because they see a news program air about a dentist and them getting barraged with negative reviews.

    I have a feeling that Dr. Saleh tried being reasonable with Bailey about it, ended up insulted and feeling in the right, and that lead to this action. I bet if Bailey wrote what he wrote as a news paper article he would of lost also- but anti-SLAPP laws protect people who just want to make up stuff online.


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