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Award winning Co Armagh practice keeping patients smiling and sleeping soundly

'The story behind the smile, the bride on her wedding day, yes that will change their quality of life but the work in sleep is actually extending lives. If someone with severe sleep apnea is undiagnosed it can shorten their life by eight to 12 years'

Dentists Stuart Black, Paul Reaney and Kerry Stewart

It might come as a surprise that a local family run dental practice has been awarded International, UK and Irish awards over the past few years.

Dentistry@Markethill has been serving the community of the Co Armagh and beyond for over 30 years.

In 2019, they won Best Digital Practice at the International Digital Dentistry Awards at the NEC in Birmingham, succeeding over some of the top dental practices in UK, Ireland and even international entries.

Success continued in 2020 by winning Best High Technology Practice at the Irish Dental Awards and in December at the UK Private Dentistry Awards they were awarded Practice of the Year (Northern Ireland and Scotland) along with Highly Commended in the Best Patient Care category.

Armagh I caught up with Dr Paul Reaney, Principal Dentist and Owner.

Originally from Armagh, Paul graduated from Edinburgh Dental School before returning home and ever since has been based in Markethill.

He stated: “The ethos of the practice has always been prevention of dental disease to promote health and the overall wellbeing of everyone in our care”.

Paul is a recognised general dentist practitioner with a Special Interest in Orthodontics, having gained his qualification in Primary Care Orthodontics from the Royal College of Surgeons of England and in recent times he has successfully used this training to incorporate a Dental Sleep Medicine Clinic, Snoring SolutionsNI, within his general practice.

Paul comments “One of the recommended treatments for suitable adult patients is based on an orthodontic principle used in children, when the orthodontic brace postures the lower jaw forward. However, in adults the aim is to use this jaw movement to stop the tongue falling backwards and obstructing the airway when sleeping similar to the jaw thrust used in Basic Life Support.”

“Nowadays, we are constantly focused on how we breathe and our airway, but we as a team have been looking at this long before Covid,” he explained.

The first part of Paul’s award winning workflow is to successfully screen patients in the Dental Sleep Medicine clinic for conditions of Sleep Disorders Breathing ranging from Snoring to Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, where you actually stop breathing during sleep.

Paul explained, “we screen patients using home sleep monitors to assess accurately how best to manage their care. We always work alongside the patient’s Doctor, Hospital ENT or Respiratory Consultant. These medical professionals have also seen the difference we make and have sent other patients to us for treatment.”

“Many patients who are sleep deprived or suffer from snoring or Sleep Apnoea don’t know or understand the increased risk associated with medical conditions such as diabetes, stroke, heart attacks and the also the significant risks of accidents due to excessive daytime tiredness.”

“This not only effects the patient but also their partner and family whose sleep is also disrupted. This can have a major effect on family relationships and the patient’s emotions, their mood and general physical and mental wellbeing.”

45% of adults snore occasionally with 25% being habitual snorers. When it comes to Sleep Apnoea the incidence is 34% of males and 17% of females suffer with the condition. Unfortunately 80% being undiagnosed which significantly compromises the person’s quality of life and potentially can be life threatening.

“When I am teaching other dentists or lecturing, I demonstrate how grateful a patient is after a cosmetic smile treatment. Patients will very often post a before and after photo on their social media pages. However, we feel that is a more important story behind the patient who we provide care for in the Dental Sleep Medicine Clinic. The outcomes of this treatments are not only life changing but life extending. If someone with severe sleep apnoea is undiagnosed it can shorten their life by eight to 12 years.”

“The recent awards mean a lot as they are judged by our dental peers,” Paul said, “especially the Best Patient Care category as that is something our team work hard to achieve and pride ourselves on. The Awards are very welcome, but the recognition of the care our practice team provide to our patients is more important that any trophy.”

“Our experienced dental team have been working throughout the pandemic, as have many other local dental practices, to continue to provide care to patients. The extra work in preparing before and after appointments has been a challenge and I am extremely proud of my entire team for the dedication they have shown throughout. We are expanding our team in the next few weeks to accommodate the demand from patients, and we are delighted to introduce a third Dental Therapist / Hygienist as well as an experienced fourth dentist with a local background.

The pandemic has made changes to the way dentistry works but Paul stated that they are driving the practice forward and constantly seeking new ways to improve the treatments offered at the practice. “Our focus is on educating patients to maintain good oral hygiene for a natural healthy smile and to also help them get a good night’s sleep.”

Check out the website here.

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