Our Blog

How NOT to Forget Your Retainer

August 15th, 2018

The alarm sounds in the morning, you wake up and realize "I forgot to wear my retainer!"

If this only happened once, don't panic. Missing one night with a retainer is unlikely to cause significant teeth movement. However, if it has happened often, give our Tomball office a call to make sure your teeth haven’t shifted position.

Here are some tips from Dr. Matthew Coats to help you remember your retainer:

1. Write down the instructions we give you for wearing the retainer, whether you should wear it all day or at night, or just a few times a week. Writing things out like this helps set the schedule in your memory.

2. Clean the retainer when you take it out each time. If you don’t you may not have time when you’re rushing to get to work or school to clean it properly and may be tempted not to wear it.

3. Put a note on your mirror or in your purse or wallet reminding you to wear your retainer.

4. Set an alarm on your mobile phone to remind you when it’s time to put the retainer in. If you have email with a calendar you can set up daily reminders, too.

5. Always put the retainer in its case when you take it out to eat or sleep. You’ll reduce your risk for losing it or accidentally throwing it away.

6. If you don’t have to wear the retainer every day, you can use some recurring events to help you remember. With this system for example, watching your favorite weekly TV show, laundry day, or family pizza night can all serve as reminders that you should put in your retainer.

7. Don’t be shy about asking for help if you’re forgetful. Assure your spouse, parents, siblings, or roommates that you won’t consider if nagging if they remind you to wear your retainer.

8. Surf online for examples of how teeth can shift when retainers are not properly used. Those stories can serve as timely warning not to let the same thing happen to you!

Remember, you can always call our Tomball office if you feel your retainer is uncomfortable or painful. We'll work with you to protect your smile!

TMD Problems and How You Can Prevent Them

August 8th, 2018

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) describe a set of conditions that involve trouble with your jaw and face muscles. They result from a problem in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is a hinge that connects the temporal bones, in your skull in front of each ear, to your jaw. The joint enables you to talk, yawn, and chew by letting your mouth move.

TMD can be very painful and interfere with functions such as eating and speaking. This what to watch for and how to try to prevent TMD.

Risk Factors for TMD

You are at higher risk for TMD if you are a women than if you are male. The disorder is most common among adults between the ages of 20 and 40 years. Other risk factors for TMJ disorders include the following.

  • Arthritis in the area, making movement more difficult
  • Excessive tooth grinding, because it increases stress on the joint
  • General stress, which can lead you to clench your teeth and strain facial muscles

Symptoms of TMD

Symptoms of TMD can last for just a short while, or for several years. Seeing Dr. Matthew Coats is important if your symptoms make it impossible for you to eat regularly or if you have unbearable pain or discomfort. The following symptoms can occur on both or one side of your face.

  • Aching or very tired facial muscles
  • Jaws that are fixed open or shut without you being able to unlock them
  • Grating or popping sounds when you chew or close or open your mouth
  • Pain in the entire area, including the mouth, jaw, neck, or shoulders, that comes on when you chew or yawn

Preventing TMD

You can try to prevent TMD by focusing on reducing risk factors. If you grind your teeth at night, ask Dr. Matthew Coats about wearing a mouthguard. If you are overly stressed, look into ways to better manage your stress and relax your muscles. Another strategy for trying to prevent the development of TMD is to avoid chewing gum, since that puts stress on your jaw.

If you have questions about TMD, don’t hesitate to contact our Tomball office.

Summer Family Fun with Dr. Matthew Coats

August 3rd, 2018

Two children take a picture with Goofy at Disneyworld

We’ve officially hit August, which means there’s only one more month for final summer fun. That means it’s time for a summer vacation getaway!

The best way to spend my vacation is by traveling, especially traveling with family. My family loves traveling because it’s a great way to see, experience, and appreciate other cultures. One time, on a Disney World riverboat, the tour guide asked the riders for jokes. My son raised his hand and shared one with all the people on the tour!

On that same note, travel is a great way to meet people across the world. The farthest place I’ve ever been to so far is England. I hope to take my family on the Orient Express across Europe, and to see Paris, Italy, and the Holy Land.

However, the best places to visit can be in your own backyard. The most perfect summer getaway I’ve had was in Kohler, Wisconsin a few years ago, and my kids still talk about it today! You can find amazing weather, people, and services anywhere, but the most important thing about vacation is to spend it with a family you love.


As summer draws to a close, don’t forget to schedule your visit to the dentist. And if you leave a review for us on Yelp or HealthGrades, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a $150 clothing gift card, just in time for back to school shopping!

It's time to go back to school!

August 1st, 2018

Now that many of the schools in Tomball are back in session, Dr. Matthew Coats would like to remind all of our patients about the importance of scheduling appointments in advance. With school, clubs, sports, and family duties to consider, we know that it can be challenging to find time to visit Coats Orthodontics this fall. In order to accommodate all of our patients’ busy schedules, it is important that you plan ahead for your appointments so that we are able to provide you with a convenient appointment time.

As always, please remember to give us advanced notice if you’re unable to make your regularly scheduled appointment with Dr. Matthew Coats and our team. Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions, or if you would like to schedule your fall appointment.

We’ll see you soon and hope summer is winding down nicely for you and your family!