Sleep apnea is a potentially very harmful chronic disorder that is surprisingly common among adult patients. While many sufferers consider sleep apnea to be a mere inconvenience, the truth is that, when left untreated, sleep apnea can actually increase your risk of suffering from a host of dental and whole-body health issues. That is why our Chapel Hill sleep apnea dentists strongly encourage our patients to reach out for help at the first sign of sleep apnea issues.

Here are some sleep apnea related problems for which to look out. And remember, you can always contact our team if you need more specific information.

One of the key symptoms that may indicate sleep apnea is disrupted or poor quality sleep. Sleep apnea causes your body to wake itself throughout the night in order to restart the breathing process. As you would imagine, this disrupts your natural REM cycle. You may find that you’re feeling fatigued during the day, or that you’re having trouble concentrating. Some people remember waking frequently, while others don’t, so just because you don’t have a memory of disrupted sleep doesn’t mean you’re not experiencing sleep disruptions.

Snoring is another sleep apnea red flag. Many people actually schedule sleep apnea consultations because their sleeping partners report that their snoring has become loud and constant. Going hand in hand with snoring, you may even find yourself experiencing a gasping or choking sensation at night—this is your body trying to bring enough air to keep your blood oxygen levels up.

Sleep apnea sufferers are also at an increased risk of suffering from headaches, and other chronic maxillofacial pain. These types of amorphous pain symptoms can be some of the most difficult for patients to directly tie back to sleep apnea, so keep your dentist informed of any chronic maxillofacial pain you may be dealing with.

There are effective, patient-friendly treatments for sleep apnea that can help you manage and even overcome this chronic condition. Our Chapel Hill sleep apnea dentists are happy to give you more information—give us a call to get started!


Sometimes despite our best efforts, dental damage and infections occur without warning. You may experience sudden dental problems due to an accident to trauma—for example a car accident or sport’s injury. However, in other cases, dental issues simply compound asymptomatically for a period of time, before revealing themselves in full force.

No matter what type of dental emergency you’re faced with, our Chapel Hill emergency dentists offer the prompt care you need to get your smile back on track. Keep reading to learn more about some of the treatments that are commonly utilized in emergency dentistry situations.

Dental bonding: this treatment allows our team to repair teeth using custom shaded composite resin. Once the resin is in place and cured, it bonds to the natural dental structure and blends seamlessly with the surrounding tooth.

Customized dental crowns: when a tooth is fractured, or when infected portions of a tooth need to be removed, our team may recommend that you restore your tooth with a personalized crown. The crowns we use are tooth-colored and durable, so you get the best of both worlds, aesthetics and function.

Restoration and implant repair: one common type of dental emergency occurs when a patient is faced with a damaged restoration or replacement tooth. If your dental bonding becomes compromised our team can likely repair it, while we will replace porcelain restorations and veneers altogether. Dr. Hourigan also provides dental implant repair, so you don’t have to deal with an unattractive and uncomfortable hole in your smile for long.

No matter what kind of dental issue you’re facing, it is crucial that you seek treatment for unexpected dental problems as quickly as possible. Prompt treatment will make life easier for you, and minimize your risk of suffering from long-term oral health complications as a result of a dental emergency.

Our Chapel Hill emergency dentists are happy to give you any more information that you may need. Please feel free to give our team a call to get started, or use the Contact Us page on our site to reach out to our staff!


Maintaining a healthy smile that will last for years to come is about so much more than caring for your teeth. Your teeth are supported by a complex structure of bones and tissues, and it is crucial that these parts of your maxillofacial system are likewise healthy and functional.

Our Chapel Hill TMJ dentists have seen firsthand how damaging chronic TMJ dysfunction can be. A dysfunctional TMJ can lead to an increased risk of oral health issues, as well as making daily life less comfortable and more cumbersome. That is why we strongly encourage patients to contact their dentists as soon as they notice signs of TMJ disorder. With that in mind, here are some common signs and symptoms of TMJ dysfunction:

1. Jaw clicking and popping

You may notice that when you chew your open your mouth wide your jaw feels or sounds like it’s popping. For many people this is not a painful sensation, but it may indicate that your temporomandibular joints are momentarily coming out of their sockets.

2. Chronic jaw pain & headaches

TMJ pain can manifest as headaches, earaches, neck pain, and even pain that radiates around these areas. Some TMJ sufferers experience TMJ-related pain as a “toothache” sensation.

3. Limited jaw mobility

TMJ may actually make it difficult for you to chew comfortably, and to open your mouth all of the way. Patients report that their jaws seemingly “lock” when they open their mouths to bite or yawn.

4. Shifting bite

When your temporomandibular joints are damaged, you may find that you have to alter the way that you chew and bite. You may start to favor one side of your mouth, or shift your lower jaw so that your teeth come together differently.

If you notice any of these issues in your daily life, it’s time to speak to your dentist about TMJ treatment. Our Chapel Hill TMJ dentists are happy to give you more information—give us a call!