Hannigan Dental Care & Systems for Dentists

Hard work and personal sacrifice have paid off for Pearse and Hazel Hannigan who have taken a tired old surgery and created a modern, innovative business that offers their patients a welcoming and peaceful environment

When Pearse and Hazel Hannigan first saw the dental practice housed in an attractive Edwardian house in Muirhead, near Cumbernauld, they knew it was exactly what they wanted: large rooms and communal spaces, a car park at the back and on a busy road – perfect for the new Hannigan Dental Care practice

The only problem was it was practically dilapidated. Pearse said: “It had everything we wanted, but it was in such a poor condition. The building was 100 years old and had been a GP surgery for much of that time, but for the last 10 years or so had changed to a dental surgery

It had been run with three associate dentists with the owner based in England and there had been little investment in the practice. However, it had a good patient base and experienced and loyal staff who have stayed with us to help build our practice up.” After five years practicing dentistry with Greenlaw Dental Care in Paisley, Pearse was ready for a new challenge, and that meant owning and running a practice of his own

The University of Glasgow graduate explained: “I’ve always had an entrepreneurial streak as my family in Derry ran a property businesses so, even as an undergraduate, I was always thinking about running my own practice. I felt that my time with Richard Alexander at Greenlaw had given me a good grounding in running a dental business, particularly the amount of admin that goes on in the background to make a business a success, so I was looking for a practice to buy near to where my wife and I lived in the Kirkintilloch area.” The couple bought the property in August 2016 and, while Hazel continued with her dental sedation work at Hallcraig Dental Care in Airdrie, Pearse ran a single surgery on the ground floor of the newly named Hannigan Dental Care practice

However, in addition to looking after patients and managing his team he was also co-ordinating a team of construction workers who arrived in September to repair the roof and replace all the windows. Pearse also decided to reconfigure the site of the entrance, creating the main door to the practice on Station Road rather than its original location around the corner on a side road

This also allowed for a ramp for disabled access. He said: “It was a bit of a building site for a while but as a lot of the work was on the first floor and above we were able to run the practice on the ground floor without too much disturbance to our patients.” For phase two of the building programme SAS Shopfitters were commissioned to create a new look for the reception, waiting room and communal areas as well as the two surgeries and other rooms on the ground floor. Pearse said: “We wanted to recreate the feel of a hotel lobby rather than a clinical setting so that patients would feel comfortable and at ease

We re-sited the reception right in front of the entrance so the first thing that our patients would see coming into the practice would be a smiling face. We fitted out the waiting room with comfortable seating and used a simple but attractive colour scheme of off-whites and different tones of grey to create a clean and peaceful ambiance. “We lowered the ceiling in the waiting room and incorporated overhead mood lighting as well as air conditioning for the comfort of our patients

Looking at the end result, I think Dereck Lang and his team at SAS Shopfitters did a remarkable job.” The off-white and grey colour scheme is repeated throughout the building, particularly on the original wooden panelling, which has been preserved on the walls and up the stairs to the first floor. There is also clear signage throughout the building to help direct patients to the three dentists ‘suites’, which are named after Scottish islands and have their names etched on to their glass doors: Iona, Harris, and Arran. “We’ve called our waiting room a ‘patient lounge’ and refer to the surgeries as ‘suites’ with evocative Scottish island names to create a welcoming and non-clinical atmosphere at the practice"

The practice has also upgraded its phone system, allowing reception to answer multiple calls simultaneously, and revamped its entire IT system with support from Systems for Dentists

As a result, the reception has now gone paperless with signatures taken on tablets, and receipts and treatment plans emailed to patients. Dominic Greer, sales manager at Systems for Dentists, said: “It’s fantastic when a practice embraces new and innovative software products. Pearse and his team have really transitioned to our practice management software with such ease, and it makes all the hard work we put in worth it, from developing new features right through to our support and admin”

The final phase of the redevelopment of the practice is just finishing on the first floor where a new state-of-art clinic has been built by IWT Dental & Services. They were also responsible for the refurbishment of other clinics in the practice in addition to providing the flooring, plumbing and electrical works through to the final décor. Modwood, the bespoke dental cabinetmakers, supplied the cabinetry. The practice has installed a compressor supplied by Dencomp Systems and a Durr Dental suction motor, with all the LDU equipment provided by Eschmann

The practice has two Belmont Clesta chairs and one from Stern Webber, and NSK provided all the practice hand pieces. In addition to the three dental clinics, Hannigan Dental Care has also converted three rooms within the building for its partner services, Diane Hunter Physiotherapy and WilsonGrant Podiatry. Diane offers treatment in the practice’s recently renovated Skye suite on the ground floor while podiatrists Stephanie Wilson and Michael Boyle now work out of two converted suites on the first floor

Newly qualified dentist John McCall joined Pearse in August 2018, and at the beginning of 2019 Hazel came on board after taking maternity leave following the birth of their daughter Ada in March 2018. With the building work finally completed and a full complement of staff, including three dentists, seven dental nurses and a hygienist under the watchful eye of experienced practice manager Jacqui Dougan, the Hannigans are now looking to expand the services they can offer at the practice, specifically through sedation referrals and implants

Pearse has just completed an implant surgery course with the Scottish Centre of Excellence for Dentistry and is now looking to offer this service to his patients, while Hazel is keen to use her specialism in sedation techniques to take on referrals for anxious patients. She said: “Our recent successful NHS sedation inspection has given us approval to offer a range of support for anxious dental patients

There are lots of techniques we can offer from the Alpha-Stim relaxation aid that uses electrotherapy stimulation to help relieve symptoms of anxiety quickly and safely without any medication or injections, to the Wand computer-assisted anaesthesia system, supplied by Dental Sky, which gives pain-free injections. We can also providing IV sedation that helps patients relax too before dental procedures.” Hazel said getting married in 2015, opening the surgery in 2016 and then having a baby in 2018 was quite a whirlwind experience, but she loves the renovated practice and particularly her new surgery. She said: “The practice looks wonderful and it’s the first time in my professional life where I have worked in a surgery with a window. It’s so nice having the natural light and knowing what the weather is outside”

Over this period, the Hannigans had to make a lot of personal sacrifices to realise their dream, which included selling their home and moving in with Hazel’s parents in nearby Bishopbriggs to help finance the project. Pearse said: “Although it was hard work and difficult at times, to be honest I enjoyed the whole process – it was fun

We have to say a big thanks to Patricia Munro of Strictly Confidential for her expertise in helping us buy the practice and to Royal Bank of Scotland to help finance the project. And, of course, we could not do it without the support of our parents: they’ve been brilliant too”

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