Contrary to what you might think, very few of us were born with the potential for a perfect “Hollywood” smile. Many of the bright, beautiful smiles you’re so envious of may very well have had a little help from cosmetic dentistry!

Chapel Hill family dentist Dr. Diane Hourigan offers a wide range of esthetic treatments to fit your needs. Your smile makeover may be as simple as teeth whitening or cosmetic bonding; or, we may decide that a combination of treatments would be best for helping you achieve your goals.

Problems We Fix with Cosmetic Dentistry

Today we have more options than ever for designing your perfect smile. Here are just a few of the problems we can address with our state-of-the-art esthetic treatments:

Uneven Gaps and Spacing between Teeth

Your teeth may be in generally good shape, but uneven gaps and spacing can throw off the symmetry of your smile. Dental bonding is a conservative approach we can recommend, but our dentist will also be happy to talk to you about porcelain veneers.

Chipped, cracked, or broken teeth

Your teeth are highly durable, but they’re not indestructible. We will look at the most conservative option first, which is dental bonding. But based on your needs we may decide that porcelain veneers or even an all-porcelain crown would be a better choice for you.

Your Smile Makeover Awaits!

There are so many combinations of treatments we can offer, and the best place to start is with a smile consultation. Our Chapel Hill, NC family dentist will be happy to meet with you to find out what’s bothering you and how you would like us to help.


The Hidden Dangers of Sleep Apnea

by Dr. Diane Hourigan

Ask any spouse of someone that has sleep apnea, and they will tell you just how scary it is to watch someone they love have a hard time catching their breath while they sleep. The snoring, of course, is another nasty side effect of sharing a bed with someone that has this unfortunate condition, but whatever the pitfalls for the person sleeping next to someone with sleep apnea, the dangers can be much more serious and severe for the person actually dealing with this incredibly problematic sleeping disorder.

In fact, there are some scary hidden dangers to sleep apnea, including:

Heart Attacks

Breathing the way that people with sleep apnea breath puts significant unnecessary pressure on those people’s hearts, which is why it is not at all uncommon to see people with sleep apnea develop heart disease. Less oxygen is able to get to the heart during bouts of sleep apnea, which can cause strokes and fluttering heartbeats, but the worst-case scenario is that really severe apnea could cause a heart attack and potentially kill you. That alone should be more than enough to seek out some possible solutions.

Weight Gain

While it is true that weight gain actually can lead to sleep apnea, it also is true that sleep apnea can make it harder to lose that weight. According to WebMD, sleep apnea releases a hormone called ghrelin, which makes you crave carbs and sweets, and if you are in fact eating more unhealthy foods at a time when you’re increasingly tired and unable to exercise properly as a result, weight gain is practically inevitable. Getting treatment can help minimize that hormone and give you the rest you need to exercise more often, and the more weight you lose, the better your apnea is likely to be.

High Blood Pressure

People that wake up several times during the night are stressing their bodies out and causing the hormones to work extra hard and elevate blood pressure levels. People that never have had high blood pressure can get it when sleep apnea kicks in, and those that already had high blood pressure can see it worsen to dangerous levels. The good news is that apnea treatment can help considerably in getting your BP back down to safer numbers.

Car Accidents

There are literally tens of thousands of car accidents caused every year because of drowsy driving, which only happens when people aren’t getting enough sleep. Those experiencing sleep apnea are very likely to feel exhausted during the day because the disorder is keeping them from hitting their REM cycles properly, and that can actually make you a significant danger on the road. A better night’s sleep would improve your life in a lot of ways, but perhaps most importantly it would keep you safer out on the open road.

If you are serious about seeking solutions for your sleep apnea, make an appointment to see Diane Hourigan, DDS, for some non-invasive solutions that can improve your health and overall quality of life. Even better, your spouse, who has been kept awake by snoring and fear that you will stop breathing in the middle of the night, may get a better night’s sleep, too!


You invest a lot in your family’s oral health, so you need to take some thought when choosing a dentist who can handle the needs of all members of your family. You can enjoy the convenience of comprehensive dentistry with the Chapel Hill general dentist while ensuring that everyone’s oral health is monitored on a regular basis.

Prevention Protects Oral Health

If you’re looking for the secret formula to having a problem-free smile, look no further than your semi-annual appointments for exams and cleanings. These visits are all about prevention, the first and most important step in dental care.

The American Dental Association recognizes the importance of prevention and recommends twice-yearly visits to your family dentist for checkups. These appointments typically include regular cleanings, sealants, fluoride treatments, routine x-rays, and other basic dental work.

A Typical Dental Exam

During your semi-annual visits to the Chapel Hill general dentist, you will receive a routine oral examination, including oral cancer screening, and a professional cleaning.

The professional cleaning is essential to get rid of stains and plaque buildup, which in turn prevents tooth decay and gum problems. Your dental team will provide recommendations for proper at-home brushing, flossing and rinsing to help reduce the buildup of plaque between regular appointments.

A significant benefit of choosing a family dentist is that they can also monitor your family’s oral health from early childhood into adulthood. The best dental care is about compassion and trusting relationships. Young children need to be introduced to dental care in a welcoming and comforting setting to develop a relationship with dentists that will last into adulthood.

Please Call for Your Next Appointment

It is especially important to schedule regular appointments for checkups so that problems can be identified as early as possible before more extensive and costly dental work becomes necessary. Take the stress out of making and keeping your regularly scheduled appointments by selecting a general dentist who can see to all your oral health needs.