- Custom Nike Sneakers Promotion for Invisalign Teen Patients
Since more and more of our new teenage aged patients are interested in Invisalign Teen treatment, we decided to encourage them with our new promotion.
For a limited time, new Invisalign Teen patients can earn their own custom NIKEiD shoes. One of the main concerns both parents and patients have when choosing Invisalign is the fear of non-compliance or losing aligners. With our promotion, our goal is to encourage our Invisalign Teen patients by offering them some sweet kicks just in time for back to school.
All they have to do is show three months of compliance–this means 22 hours of wear every day and being the responsible patient we know they can be.
At the time of their initial appointment with us, we’ll block out time to create their custom designed NIKEiD shoes. Since we have confidence with them, we will place the order right then and there and in three months they will be sporting their new shoes that are as unique as they are.
As an orthodontist in Irvine, we think success means working hand in hand with our patients and their families. The last thing we want is for orthodontic treatment to be stressful for anyone.
Happy teens mean happy moms and dads, which is always our ultimate goal. You know, other than a beautiful, healthy smile.
Invisalign is a fantastic option for those stubborn teens who need orthodontic treatment, but is maybe not too excited about the idea of braces. Contact our office at (949) 264-3314 to schedule your child’s initial consultation with us and we will walk you through the process.
Promotion only applies for Nike Free RN 2017 Essential iD sneakers. Only valid for new Invisalign Teen patients. Not valid for patients over 18 years of age. Simply Orthodontics is not affiliated with Nike. Promotion ends at the discretion of Simply Orthodontics and is limited.
- Two Years Gone in a Flash
I am writing this one day after our 2nd annual anniversary Ice Cream Social and just thinking about how fast the last two years have gone by.
Starting Simply Orthodontics in Irvine from scratch, as most of you know, was one of the most difficult things I had to do in my life. It involved faith, vision, support, hope, and perseverance!
Faith in that I always wondered if people would really trust me and follow my goals that I had set forth. Vision in that I wanted to do something different using my profession of orthodontics. Support in that needing my staff and family to really support my vision and follow my lead. Hope in that we could change the way things are done in our field and provide a better experience for patients and the community. Perseverance in that I had no idea what entailed in having my own practice and what is was like to run a business, manage employees, and, most importantly, take care of patients as if the were my own family.
Now, after two years, although we still have our ups and downs, are surrounded by stiff competition, and other financial obstacles, I have to say I’m not only surprised by myself, but surprised by the people surrounding Simply Orthodontics. I have to thank the people of the Irvine community that surround my practice. I’m amazed at how many patients are there to support our practice, all the PTA presidents and members who are looking for ways to support my office, without me even seeking them out. If it was not for you all, there might have been a “For Lease” sign in my window after year one. But getting to know the community around me, there is no way that you all would have let that happened and I am honored to be a part of such a great community of patients, friends and family.
I would like to thank you ALL for your generous and kind support as patients and community Irvine and Orange County families. I would also like to thank the staff that have stayed with me from the early stages and continue to work hard to provide the best service and experience one could expect from our office. I need to thank my children who hate seeing me go to work or ask, “You’re going to work again!?” and wear my Simply Orthodontics shirts daily. Most importantly, my amazing wife, Jenny, who has to watch my kids when I have to step out for emergency visits and work late nights and early mornings. I am so blessed to be surrounded by such great people! Who knows what the future holds for Simply Orthodontics in Irvine, but I can only imagine it getting better and better!
- Is That the Real Tooth Fairy?
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. To celebrate, Simply Orthodontics in Irvine and the Tooth Fairy visited a few neighboring Irvine schools to teach students about why it is important to take care of their teeth starting at a young age.
We wanted to share our lesson plan for those parents and teachers interested in teaching kids about oral hygiene. Our office visited children ranging from 2-11 years old. They focused on three topics:
Why Do We Need Teeth?
Teeth are necessary for chewing food, of course. We asked the students what sort of foods require chewing (carrots, chips, salads) and emphasized that if they don’t take care of their teeth, they wouldn’t be able to eat all of their favorite foods. Certain words we say also require our teeth for proper pronunciation. Try to say words that begin with “s” or ends with “-th” without your teeth. Lastly, we use our teeth to smile. Of course, as an orthodontist in Irvine, we need to talk about smiling!
Happy Tooth and Sad Tooth
This was a fun section of our lesson plan and it was interactive. Two students volunteered to wear two giant white shirts for us and we labeled one child the “Happy Tooth” and one the “Sad Tooth”. We then held out pictures of different types of foods and asked the students if the food would make a tooth happy or sad. Dr. Shung explained how sugar can cause cavities. Those food items that were sugary (cupcake, ice cream, soda) were placed on the Sad Tooth and food items that are healthy (celery, apple, cheese) were placed on the Happy Tooth using Velcro.
How to Brush
The students enjoyed this activity the most. Empty food boxes were stuck on the shirts to represent food or plaque stuck on teeth. Dr. Shung then took a giant toothbrush to “brush” off the food. He emphasized the importance of brushing at least twice a day and to brush the surfaces of your teeth in circular motions. Some food was stuck in between the students (teeth) even after brushing so we had to use rope (floss) to remove them. This showed the students that while your toothbrush can get a lot of plaque and food off of your teeth, the bristles can’t reach everything.
For the older students, we showed them these pictures of a person’s teeth with multiple cavity fillings along with their panoramic X-ray to show what can happen if you don’t take care of your teeth.
The bonus of our visits was being able to deliver hygiene kits with a toothbrush, tube of toothpaste, and floss to every student we spoke to at the schools.
We would love to bring the Tooth Fairy to other classrooms and educate more kids in Irvine and Orange County! Please contact our orthodontic office at (949) 264-3314 so we can come to your classroom!
- Your Treatment Coordinator Isn’t Passionate About Teeth
“Min! I’m upset with you. You owe me $5,000.”
That stopped me in my tracks. A mom was yelling at me at the reception desk in front of a crowded room and I was taken aback. But then she continued:
“I could have had Jaxon’s braces done in a different office for free because he qualifies under Medicaid, but you made him so comfortable in your office that he insisted on coming here instead. So, you owe me $5,000.”
With that, I embraced both Ms. Patty and Jaxon, officially welcoming them to our practice. They had just come into my office for a consultation two weeks prior. Jaxon was incredibly timid and I heard his horror story of how another doctor had attempted to correct his crossbite a couple years ago and left him emotionally scarred over dental work. I listened to them with an understanding heart and encouraged them to begin treatment with us. I promised them a vastly different experience and assured both Jaxon and his mom that this was a treatment he needed and he would be in great hands.
After a few months of treatment, the orthodontist there was able to correct his crossbite and since we caught him early enough, we prevented the need for any surgery or extractions. I made sure to give him a high five every time he came in and Jaxon grew more and more confident with every appointment as he saw his teeth change. He started to smile again. We changed his life. This was three years ago.
I will always be thankful for Ms. Patty and Jaxon for reaffirming that I am good at my job as a Treatment Coordinator at an orthodontics office and that I love what I do. When I was searching for my first job back after having a baby, I knew that I wanted to go back into the orthodontics field because of experiences like this.
I was fortunate enough to find Dr. Shung’s orthodontics office in Irvine last year. I read his bio and about his vision for his practice and knew that it would be a perfect fit. Just like him, I know that orthodontics isn’t just about teeth. While I find teeth to be interesting, I’m definitely not passionate about teeth. I am, however, passionate about the people who come into Simply Orthodontics in Irvine.
As a Treatment Coordinator, I am the lucky one who gets to know the patient first before anyone else. Part of my job is to educate you about your orthodontic treatment and work out finances with you that fits best for your budget. But my absolute favorite part is learning about all of your goals, your background, and working with you and Dr. Shung to make sure that we make you happy. You may not know it yet, but I can already envision you with your new, beaming simply amazing smile and how this will change your life.
I know that you moved here to Irvine from New York to be with your fiancé and want to finish Invisalign treatment before your wedding next year. I’m the one celebrating with you when you can finally get your braces on after wanting them for years because even your little brother calls your teeth “ugly.” And when you come in every appointment I make sure to check out your teeth and tell you how beautiful you are because sometimes it means more coming from someone else.
I make sure to have Shopkins ready for your nervous 7-year old daughter post-appointment to celebrate her bravery…and to make it easier for you, too. I try to accommodate your schedule to make sure that your growing teenage sons won’t be too sore after their appointment so that they can eat a great big meal for Thanksgiving. I block out time in my own schedule to make sure that you have someone to watch your baby while you come in for your appointment because, Mama, it’s time for you to do something for yourself.
Simply Orthodontics is the third orthodontic office I’ve worked for and Dr. Shung is special in that he gives me the freedom to go above and beyond for my patients and even complete strangers.
Just had surgery or a death in the family? Let us bring you some dinner so that you have one less thing to worry about. On bedrest with twins? Here’s a gift bag with ginger ale, trashy gossip magazines, and trail mix. Recovering from the flu? How about some hot chicken soup for you at your front door? Going through a terrible divorce? Hugs, flowers, and chocolate because, darn it, you deserve it!
Through Simply Orthodontics, I have been able to extend kindness to people who aren’t even our patients. I’ve treated a group of new moms meeting for lunch at Panera to cookies. I’ve paid for meals for unsuspecting others. We handed flowers to random strangers in the Woodbury Town Center just to cheer up their day. I dropped off Starbucks gift cards at a pediatricians’ office to give to weary moms with sick kids. We organized for our patients to write Christmas cards to Troops serving overseas.
All of these things along with the great volunteer work we get to do envelop who we are at Simply Orthodontics. Yes, we make crooked teeth straight, but it is so much more than that. We consider our patients and community to be part of our family and so we treat them as such.
And this is why I am in love with my job. I hope that I get the opportunity to show you, too!
- What to Expect at Your First Visit-Irvine Orthodontics Office
Congrats! You’ve scheduled a complimentary consultation with us and you’ve started your journey to a better smile!
We are so excited to meet you! Please allow about an hour for your consultation. This will ensure that we have plenty of time to get to know each other and allow you to ask any questions you might have. Here is what you can expect when you meet with Dr. Shung:
Welcome to Our Practice!
When you first come in, you will be warmly greeted by our front desk coordinator. She will walk you through your new patient paperwork and invite you to enjoy one of our cold refreshments and healthy snacks. We have streamlined your paperwork to include all of the information you have already given to us over the phone so it should be a quick and easy process.
After your paperwork is completed, you will be given a tour of your beautiful new office by Dr. Shung’s treatment coordinator and then led to the consultation room.
Let’s Talk About Your Smile
The next step is to take a series of diagnostic photographs to create a record of your teeth in their present state. These pictures will also help us to point out areas of possible improvement. Another important record we need to have for a proper diagnosis is a panoramic x-ray image.
We have in-house low radiation digital x-ray machines that make this process painless and safe. This x-ray allows Dr. Shung to see beneath the gum line and determine if you are ready for treatment, whether you are at risk for root resorption, and other factors that may affect your treatment.
Now is the time for you to tell us all about your main concerns and why you would like to improve your smile. What are your main goals when it comes to treatment? Is it to improve your overall oral health? Are you trying to get your treatment completed before a big day? Perhaps you’ve been putting this off for years and finally decided “It’s my turn!”
Whatever it is, we’re here to help you reach those goals. Your treatment coordinator will also go over your different treatment options and get a better idea of how to cater your experience to suit your individual needs.
It’s Time to Meet Dr. Shung
Here he is! The man himself. Dr. Shung will now perform a thorough exam on you to determine the best orthodontic treatment plan for you. After a proper diagnosis, he will then discuss your treatment options, the estimated treatment length of time, and how we can reach your goals together.
We have reserved this time just for you. This is your time to ask all of your questions and have him address your concerns. We know choosing to receive orthodontic care is a huge decision and we want you to leave feeling like you were given all the information you need to make a decision without any hesitations.
Your Financial Investment
Ah, finances. This is the part you were waiting for, right? Now that you have a diagnosis from Dr. Shung, you and your treatment coordinator will work together to discuss your total investment along with any insurance benefits you may have.
Our goal is to make this process as rewarding as possible. Dr. Shung created his orthodontic office in Irvine so that he could work with families in every way possible. He doesn’t want finances to be a barrier between his patient and the treatment that they need and deserve. This is why we offer flexible payment options in our office, all of which will be discussed during your consultation.
We can’t wait for you to join our family! You’ve made an excellent choice seeking out the best orthodontist in Irvine. In the meantime, feel free to email us at email@example.com if you have any questions or call us at (949) 264-3314.
- Why can't I get a quote over the phone!?
We get this question a lot. I understand people want to shop around and just get prices, but your smile is not a car or insurance where you can just get a quote. Every orthodontist in Irvine does not think and do things the same way, or diagnose the same, or provide the same services. See my blog on “What to Look for When Choosing an Orthodontist.” Be wary of ads that say “braces for $2000 dollars” because it will never be just $2000 dollars. There are always extras attached to that.
Orthodontics is an art and a science and a process. It takes time to straighten out your teeth and do it right. There are 32 teeth in the mouth, and no one person has the same tooth size, jaw size and facial shape. Even twins have different issues! Check out these identical twins, for example. They may look the same, but they both have completely different orthodontic issues!
We diagnose and treat you based on your goals and the complexity of your case. Our consultation involves a detailed diagnosis of your teeth and facial structure. After that, we are able to give you a treatment investment that fits your goals. Our consultation is complimentary so getting an accurate quote is easy and there are no surprises. If someone gives you a quote over the phone…I would be hesitant!
- Yes! Your Orthodontist is Color Blind!
I haven’t blogged in awhile, so I figured I would write about something non-orthodontics related. You guessed it…my color blindness! Why am I blogging about this you ask? Obviously, when my patients are telling me the colors to put on their braces I have the darndest time putting the pattern on correctly, or even picking out the right color! Then, most of them don’t believe me that I’m colorblind or look at me REALLY strangely as if I am a Kindergartener and think, “This guy doesn’t know his colors and is fixing my teeth!?” You know you’ve thought that if you are a patient reading this!
I’m not going to go into the detailed science of color blindness because you can just read it here, but I will go over the basics:
- I don’t see in black and white. That’s the first thing my wife thought when I told her I was colorblind. I’m not a dog! Colorblind people, depending on the severity, still see color, but cannot differentiate colors. Therefore, colorblindness is more of a misnomer and should be more properly named Color Vision Deficiency.
- When did I know I was colorblind? You know I can’t tell you the exact date, but I do remember the school testing all kids did for it called the “Ishihara Test”. I probably knew by the 5th grade, but I’m sure when I was coloring the sky purple in preschool the teachers suspected something. I always thought grapes and eggplants were navy blue.
- Color blindness predominantly affects males. Colorblindness is a sex linked trait. For those of you who don’t know genetics, to be a male we have the XY chromosome and a female is XX. The gene that causes color blindness is on the X chromosome so as long as the gene is on the chromosome the guy gets it. Unlike females, both X chromosomes need the gene for a girl to be colorblind. So it is very RARE for a female to be colorblind. I find that amazing, because, I think a color blind girl would be very much adversely affected compared to a male. Funny how the Great Designer in the Sky is.
- How did I get it? My grandfather on my mom’s side was colorblind so all his daughters became potential carriers of the gene. Funny enough…every male cousin of mine and my brother are colorblind. So blame my grandfather when I can’t put on the pattern of your colors correctly!
- How do you diagnose it? Pretty easily actually. Look at the picture below. Colorblind people see NOTHING, while those who can see color normally see the number 74.
In a nutshell, yes I am colorblind. Does it affect me daily? No, not really. I may buy some clothes that are ugly colors that don’t match, but now I have my wife and daughters to help me with that. Unfortunately, I can’t help my wife pick out a lipstick or eyeshadow color, but she does just fine on her own. I guess I just don’t see the world like everyone else does, which is why I hope someday science will develop something that can fix it.
Check out this video of these glasses that supposedly help people like me to see the way everyone else does. I think it’s pretty shocking. I’m not sure if they work, but maybe someday I may try it. I am a big cry baby so I did cry at the reactions of the people in the video.
Now that you know about my colorblindness, please cut me some slack if I mess up your colors! Just kidding, of course. I’m glad everyone gets a kick out of it and it always makes for great conversation. Kids love this fun fact and they start asking me a bajillion questions and quiz me on every color. I get it right…well, 50% of the time.
- Volunteering at the Saddleback PEACE Center
Often times, when people serve the community the people that are serving actually gain more than the people being served. So was my experience at The PEACE Center at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest. To be honest, when I closed my orthodontics office in Irvine for a morning to do community service, I just wanted my staff to have a team building exercise where we could be more outwardly focused. Even though we were only present for a short morning shift, our experience ended up really affecting me.
It was amazing to see the devoted volunteers and all the services that they provide at the Saddleback PEACE Center. My staff and I started off by helping stock the food pantry and getting everything ready for the families to come in for their groceries. We were then matched with more experienced volunteers to become personal “shoppers” for those who came in. We went down each aisle of the food pantry with them to choose their food items and helped them out with their fresh groceries. People were able to shop with absolutely no questions asked other than how many family members they needed to provide for to ensure that they would leave with enough. At the PEACE Center, as long as they are in need, they are more than welcome to be there.
These volunteer shoppers helped guide the families not only with food selections, but also by engaging with them to help them in any way they can as far as prayers, support groups, and trying to build relationships. It was truly an inspiring experience.
For me, it was refreshing to see that people were being taken care of with no questions asked. I was never aware of such a service available to the community. It was touching to see the interactions and the care that people gave to complete strangers. Being a health professional and orthodontist in Irvine, I can get caught in my little Orange County bubble and am unaware of the needs of the surrounding communities. There is a huge need out there, and I am so thankful to know that there are organizations helping those in need.
My staff and I will be back volunteering at The PEACE Center regularly. It is the least that we can do! We are currently collecting non-perishable food at our office to support them as well and we will match each donation. Please stop by Simply Orthodontics in Irvine and help support the Saddleback Church PEACE Center Food Pantry!
For more information, please visit their website. They also provide other services such as medical services, homework assistance, private tutoring, computer skills workshops, and healthy living workshops.
If you are inspired to volunteer, please contact Joanne Williamson at JoanneW@saddleback.com.
- Being Left Handed in a Right Handed World
So you all now know that I’m colorblind, but do you know I am left handed as well?!
Interesting Facts About Lefties:
10% of the population are left handed
Left handed people die earlier than right handed people
Left handed people don’t perform as well in school
May be caused by the mother stressing out during pregnancy
Are more likely to go insane
5 of the last 7 presidents are left handed
Are more advantageous in sports
This article writes why us lefties are so unfortunate:
I can’t speak for all lefties, but I can speak for myself. Unfortunately, I don’t get the sports benefit because all my fine motor skills are left handed, but my gross motor skills (used for sports!) are right. Aghhh! Get this… I play tennis with my right hand, but play ping pong with my left. I’m all messed up. For you righties who don’t think we have it tough, the next time you see someone taking a test in those big auditoriums look where the desk pulls out…THE RIGHT!
I can see why lefties might struggle in school. There was rarely a pair of left handed scissors when I was in school so I had to learn just to start cutting with my right or search for a pair of left handed scissors. I always had ink smeared on my hand because the whole English language writes from left to right. Our wrists are always contorted when trying to write on any spiral bound notebooks or three ring binders. We had to spend extra effort learning things in school unlike righties.
So many other things are made for right handed people. Door knobs and handles are made for right handed people. The mouse is always on the right! It’s hard to wear a watch because it gets in the way of writing. If you ever notice the watch’s stem faces outward if you wear it on the left arm, but inward if you wear it on the right so it makes no sense to wear a watch on the right hand. Tethered pens at the bank are the worst! AGHH! Even in dental school it was a huge ordeal to get the operatories to work for left handed people. Dental assistants aren’t used to working with left handed dentists. It never ends for us.
I’m not complaining though. I’ve gotten so used to it that it doesn’t bother me. People don’t even notice that I’m left handed unless they are really looking. There is a myth that left handed people are smarter and more artistic. I’ll take that stigma! So next time you look around at everyday things, notice how right handed the world really is! I just hope I don’t go insane anytime soon…
Famous Left Handed People:
Kermit the Frog (Cartoon)
Bart Simpson (Cartoon)
Leonardo Da Vinci (Renaissance Man)
Morgan Freeman (Actor)
Simon Shung (Orthodontist)
Just kidding! Just checking to see if you read the whole thing.
- Why We Support the Irvine Community
If you have been following our social media feeds lately, you may have noticed that we have been all over the Irvine community volunteering, sponsoring events, and making donations. One of my favorite things to hear when we are at an event is, “We see you everywhere!” This just gives me affirmation that our involvement within the community has been noticed and that we are making a positive impact.
When I opened up my orthodontic practice in Irvine a year and a half ago, I knew that one of my top priorities was to give back to the community that I love as much as I possibly could. I live in Woodbury myself, walking distance from the Woodbury Town Center in which my office is located (the best commute EVER). Four of my five children attend Woodbury Elementary School. Irvine is my city, too. Helping bring people together creates a safer environment that is beneficial to all of our children.
I always wanted my practice to be an outward focused practice in that people benefit from us being in the community. I never realized how much support schools, charities, and members of the community needed until I began to reach out to others. Opportunities to help are plentiful. We have grown to a point where others know that they can count on us to assist them when they are in need.
If you need us to hand out popsicles or water at a school jog-a-thon in 85 degrees weather, count us in! Do you need 2,000 toothbrushes for a community Halloween event? We’re on it! One of our patients was struggling to fund a party for her classmates so we threw one for her. Last school year, we awarded three teachers a total of $800 for being amazing educators for our children as part of Teacher Appreciation Week. This month, we collected over 800 pounds of candy to ship to our Troops overseas and will be donating another $800 to an Irvine middle school’s PTSA for winning our Candy Buy Back contest.
Currently, we are sponsoring a Food Drive benefitting a local food pantry. We will match each donation made in our office. We are also partnering with one of our patient’s parents to give a discount on adorable pajama sets just in time for Christmas. Ten dollars will be donated per pajama set purchase to the Orangewood Foundation in Santa Ana.
Although Irvine is a somewhat large city, we find that it is made out of tight-knit communities. Since I am a people person, I love being an orthodontist and building relationships with my patients and their families. Without these relationships, I feel like a practice could get lost. I love supporting people because I know how much I count on them for their support.
It is such an immense honor being a part of this great Irvine community.
Simply Orthodontics is about community. If you have any needs that we can support, please contact us and we would love to support you!
- The iTero Element Scanner is Finally Here! We're Goop Free!
The iTero Element scanner is one of the newest pieces of technology in the orthodontic world and I FINALLY own one. You all might be wondering, “Why didn’t Dr. Shung get this before and bring it to IRVINE?!” The top orthodontist in Irvine should have it! Well, let me answer that question for all of you that have been getting molds on your teeth in our office.Scanners have been around for awhile, but my focus has always been on the patients…you guys! If I am going to change something, it better benefit you all! I didn’t feel that the older scanners would benefit my patients. Scans took a LONG time and the scanner heads were HUGE and uncomfortable. I tried many and researched many, but some had powder you had to put on teeth (who knows what’s in the powder), some took pictures, some took 40 minutes to scan…. It just wasn’t worth the patient’s time when a mold can be taken in 10-15 minutes with negligible differences in accuracy.Then the iTero Element came along and definitely shifted the paradigm. Scans take 5-10 minutes and the scanner head is much smaller and more comfortable. The investment was steep, but I finally found something that I felt would benefit my patients and took the plunge. We’ve had it in our office for about a week now and it is a total game changer!What it is:An intraoral (in mouth) scanner is a medical device used to scan your teeth in real time. It takes 6,000 photos per second so we can get an accurate picture of all your teeth and your bite.What it does:In a nutshell, instead of having to put goop in your mouth to get a mold of your teeth it takes a series of pictures. Using these 3D pictures and scans, we can make orthodontic appliances such as retainers and expanders from it. What’s probably most exciting is the ability to do Invisalign aligners from the scans. Invisalign impressions used to take an hour and we would have to mail out the impressions. Now, we can do a scan in five to ten minutes and immediately send them off to Invisalign labs to generate aligners.We will also be able to show you a before and after computer simulation at your initial consultation. Truly amazing!Ways it benefits you:
Come visit Simply Orthodontics to get braces or Invisalign from a Premier Preferred Provider in Irvine and Orange County! It’s SIMPLE!
- No more messy impressions that can make you gag
- Faster turn around times for Invisalign aligners and orthodontic appliances (expanders, bite plates, retainers)
- Fewer appointments
- Faster and more comfortable appointments
- Virtual outcome simulator (instantly see your crooked teeth straight)
- The World's Second Toughest Job–An Irvine Orthodontist's Take
- My wife showed me a great video of an interview for a job position. The job required 365 days of work with no holidays off–In fact, holidays times required more work. There is no pay and no overtime pay, it’s completely a volunteer position. The interviewees were shocked, until they found out that billions of people were doing it every single day. At the end, the big reveal is that the job description is that of a mom! You can view the video here (but beware that it’s a tearjerker). Such a wonderful video inspired me to write (since I don’t have the skills to make a video) a job description for dads. In my opinion, dads are super underappreciated. In fact, some of you ultra busy and meek dads reading this might not even know that Father’s Day is coming up soon!
Writing these makes me laugh and the list can go on. Feel free to add more in the comments section or on our Facebook page! In all seriousness though, props to all the fathers out there. I never knew how hard of a job it would be until I had my own. Granted, I have five kids and am trying to run a new orthodontics office in Irvine, but any father goes through the same stress with their work and family. We worry about supporting the family and being good spouses and good dads. We want what is best for our children and families. We screw up a lot, but it’s not our intention, and sometimes we don’t even know when we screw up.This brings up my own experience with my father. Sure, he had some anger management issues, and he was not the the most talkative person, but thinking back he did his best and what he thought was his best. My dad’s father died when he was relatively young so he really had no idea what it was like to be a father. Sometimes I blame my dad for being so strict, or not being this or that, but the truth is I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for him. He didn’t drink, smoke, nor spend money lavishly. He gave me opportunities that many other people don’t have.
A second job is required because this job does not pay.
This job will be more difficult than your regular job. When you get home from your regular job you must work harder.
Sleeping on the job is frowned upon.
Holidays require increased funding from your wallet and more work.
You may get backlash from your associates if you try to help with good intentions, but not perform to your associates’ standards.
As your associates increase in age they may begin to resent you for not doing the things they want you to do.
Nighttime work is required.
Plumbing, electrical, heavy moving, and massage therapy skills are highly recommended.
There is no training for this job.
Associates are volatile at certain times of the year in which you need to spend extra time being understanding otherwise they will not feel like they are needed.
So to all you dads out there… keep your heads up high! We all go through relatively the same things, but the daily grind is tough. Believe me! I know! Being an orthodontist in Irvine, I see a ton of dads putting in time whereas 10 years ago it was always the moms. So kuddos to you! But in the end, hopefully you will look back and just be proud of what we did and that we left a good legacy for our children. At best, our children are cared for and they know we unconditionally love them no matter what they do and that is something we should be proud of. Happy Father’s Day!
P.S. Come by our office and pick up a free voucher for a 16 oz. draft from our neighbors at First Class Pizza. Cheers to you, dads!
- Orthodontic “Oopsies”
- Orthodontic treatment, for lack of a better example, is a marriage between the patient and the doctor for an average of 26 months. To be successful and finish treatment on time, the orthodontist is involved with 70% of the work, but the patient has to perform the other 30%. With Invisalign, the involvement is a 50/50 partnership. An orthodontist can plan your treatment, but you have to wear the trays to be successful. With braces, however, there may be some oopsies that happen once or twice throughout treatment. If these oopsies start happening on a consistent basis, then there are issues that need to be resolved in order for you or your child to be successful.It is important to note that there are very few orthodontic oopsies that I would consider a true “emergency” or urgent. Emergencies where you need to see the doctor immediately include:
Please contact us immediately if any of the above occurs.We have listed common oopsies below along with guidelines on how to deal with them at home to save yourself a trip to the office.Broken BracketWhat happened: This is usually caused by eating hard foods, chewing on ice, or biting down on a hard item, which then sheared the bracket off the tooth. We use the best bonding material on the market so rarely does this happen from poor bonding. There are occasions during the initial bond where this may happen, but if the bracket breaks off weeks later, then it is most likely due to improper care.What to do: Usually the bracket will stay on the wire. If it causes discomfort, put wax on it. If it’s the last bracket on the wire, just remove it, and clip the wire with a finger nail clipper or a small wire cutter by placing your finger on the wire and clipping it. Hang onto the bracket until your next appointment.Usually, the orthodontist can replace the broken bracket at your next visit. Just make sure to call the office and they will change the appointment time accordingly. If it is bothering you or your child, then call the office and we will get you in at your earliest convenience.Refer back to our Simply Orthodontics Success List to see our guidelines what you can eat and what you should stay away from to avoid broken brackets.Pokey WireWhat happened: The newest wires are made of a very flexible alloy material. In the initial phases of straightening teeth, we use these to reduce discomfort and for better aligning. It is not uncommon for the wire to come out.If it happens 4-5 months into treatment, it is most likely due to eating sticky foods or hard foods.What to do: If a wire is poking out the back or pops out of the the very back bracket, simply place it back into the back “tube”. If it’s not bothering you, just leave it alone. If it’s poking you, clip it with a nail clipper or wire cutter and the orthodontist will fix it at the next scheduled appointment. You may also place some wax on the wire to prevent it from poking your cheeks.The only thing a pokey wire can do is cause discomfort and cause small ulcers. If there are ulcers, clip the wire and the ulcers will heal in 7-14 days. If you can’t cut the wire yourself, call the office and we will schedule you a short appointment to clip the wire.Broken O-Tie:What happened: The colors or “o-ties” around your bracket hold the wire into place. They are made of a rubber material and can break due to fatigue or eating something hard.What to do: Call the office and schedule a quick appointment to have it replaced. If it’s only a couple days from your scheduled visit, then we can wait for a repair.Broken Elastic Chain:What Happened: Same as with the o-tie.What to do: If it is completely unraveled, call the office and we will fix it. If it is just one spot, we can wait to fix it at your next scheduled appointment.Tooth Soreness:What happened: Tooth soreness indicates tooth movement. Sometimes, the teeth that are more crooked will be more sore than others. Just remember that soreness means that the orthodontic treatment is working!What to do: Nothing. If your teeth are very sore, you can take Tylenol for the soreness. If the soreness persists more than two weeks, call the office and we can take a look. Sometimes it is NOT from the braces, and it may be something your dentist will have to check out.Sores in Mouth:What happened: Usually a pokey wire or a bracket can cause this. Stress may be a factor, too!What to do: Unfortunately, there is nothing to help heal these faster. You will have to wait it out. Things to alleviate the pain include Orajel or any other topical numbing gel until they heal. They usually heal in 7-14 days. Place wax over the bracket or wire that is causing irritation.If you have any questions or concerns, please give us a call at (949) 264-3314 and we will be more than happy to guide you through a repair at home or schedule for an appointment.
- Trauma to the face where the brackets are embedded in your cheeks.
- Fractured teeth and the brackets are still attached.
- Swelling causing pain or fever.
- SUGAR: THE OTHER WHITE POWDER
As a healthcare professional and an orthodontist in Irvine I have to be honest and admit that I was quite ignorant about the food industry. I was either too busy trying to pass a board exam or trying to get into residency. It’s funny that as a I type this, I am being offered something called a “stroopwafel”. The first four ingredients are glucose syrup, wheat flour, butter, and sugar. Ten grams of sugar in a 29 gram wafer! The wafer is basically 1/3 sugar and I am so tempted to eat it. I took a bite, but am resisting the rest…and it was delicious.
After I graduated and had children and moved to Irvine, I became more health conscious because I was suddenly surrounded by people that were more health conscious. They talked about organic food and I thought it was all baloney. I grew up in a blue collar town and my family wasn’t wealthy or educated so Little Debbie snacks, Sarah Lee pound cakes, and Entenmann’s danishes were what I ate for breakfast. It wasn’t until I was perusing through Netflix that I decided to watch a documentary called Food Inc. It blew my mind how unaware I was of the food industry! This led me to another documentary called Fed Up. I highly suggest you all watch these movies.
In the dental field, we are all about fighting tooth decay, but what about preventing it? What’s causing all the tooth decay? We all know it’s sugar! But do we ever realize how we are getting all this sugar?! My eyes have opened up to how much the sugar industry has taken over the American diet and the root (no pun intended) of the metabolic disorders and tooth decay.
How sugar is hidden in ingredients:
Sugar is hidden in ingredients lists as pure cane sugar, organic cane syrup, high fructose corn syrup, honey, and agave nectar. Don’t be fooled by fancy names. Sugar is still sugar.
How sugar is cleverly marketed:
Don’t fall for clever wording on packaging. Take, for example, Honest Kids 100% Organic Juice. Sure, no sugar is added, but did you look to see how much sugar is already in it? Is it really “honest”!? You might as well drink a soda. Sure, Honest Kids is a healthier alternative to other boxed juices, but let’s try to stick with water if we can.
What about chocolate milk? Have you ever checked how much sugar is in that?
We have been brainwashed to think that fat is bad. Have you ever noticed that Starburst and Sour Patch Kids are marketed as “fat free,” but really, is it truly a healthy alternative with all that sugar?
It’s hard to find protein bars or health bars that have less than 10 grams of sugar.
Important Changes to Nutrition Labels:
Did you ever notice that sugar doesn’t have a Recommended Dietary Allowance percentage listed in nutrition labels on food packaging? Finally, the FDA has changed the nutrition labels to reflect that because if you would look at a soda can, it would be 1000% of the recommended dietary allowance for sugar. Read more about the new labels here.
In a nutshell, I’m not a sugar Nazi or anything because it’s inevitable that we are surrounded by it. Restricting sweets at birthday parties are a futile cause and I don’t want to make a scene, but I do want my kids to be educated. My children already know which foods have sugar and which foods do not. My son knows how to make healthy choices at school. Whether or not he chooses to buy it is in his hands, but if you tell him, “If you keep eating Fruit Loops you are going to get a disease that could kill you and make you very sick,” it really opens their eyes. Kids understand germs and viruses, but they don’t understand things that you eat can make you sick, too. The sad thing is that most americans don’t realize this.
Finally, the detrimental effects of sugar are coming more to light and my goal isn’t to make someone feel guilty about drinking a soda or eating a lollipop. It is to make you aware of what you are doing to your body and to look at the labels when you think you are buying something like Yoplait fat free yogurt that seems healthy, but actually has 26 grams of sugar in it.
It’s okay to consume small amounts of sugar, but just be aware. You can save some extra trips to the dentist, too.
- When a Treatment Coordinator Starts Invisalign
I’ve always been told that I have a great smile, but when I started working in the orthodontic field close to five years ago, I realized that my “great smile” was far from perfect. I began to become self conscious about my crooked teeth and started to smile with my mouth closed for pictures. I envied all of my patients because I knew that their teeth would be beautiful when they finished treatment.
The previous orthodontists I worked for generously offered to do treatment for me, but the timing was never right. We were either moving to a different state due to my husband’s Army career or I was pregnant and didn’t feel that I would be a good patient. I kicked myself for not going through with orthodontic treatment when I was younger. I remember getting molds done in middle school and I was such a brat to my poor mother that I refused to follow through and get braces. Let this be a lesson to all–when your parents are willing to pay for treatment, do it!
When I joined the Simply Orthodontics family in February, I asked Dr. Shung if I could begin Invisalign treatment. “Of course,” he said, “I take care of my own.” I knew that my teeth would be in great hands. Dr. Shung is the only Irvine orthodontist who is a Premier Preferred Provider for Invisalign. His experience and personal investment in all of his patients made me comfortable enough to stop making excuses and finally pursue treatment for myself. After I had clearance from my general dentist, I scheduled myself in the books to get my Invisalign impressions done.
Jessica, our Clinical Coordinator, completed my impressions with ease. She’s notorious for being so gentle that patients fall asleep in the chair, and I could definitely see why. We watched “Gilmore Girls” together on one of our flat screen tv’s while my impressions were getting done. As a mother of a toddler, it felt like a mini-vacation! Once my impressions were mailed to the Invisalign labs, the waiting game was on.
I was able to see a computer simulation of my Invisalign treatment (ClinCheck) prior to my aligners being generated. It was comforting to see Dr. Shung’s comments about my treatment. The advantage of seeing an Irvine orthodontist versus a general dentist when it comes to orthodontic treatment is that an orthodontist has the knowledge to make the appropriate adjustments to safely and effectively move my teeth.
A few weeks later, my Invisalign aligners arrived. The following Monday, I had Jessica and Dr. Shung place my attachments and deliver my first set of aligners. The plastic aligners themselves don’t do a great job grabbing onto your teeth as they are like slippery watermelon seeds, so tooth-colored attachments are placed on very specific positions on your teeth to allow those aligners to do their work effectively. Within twenty minutes, I was sporting my new Invisalign Invisible Braces. For the benefit of all my patients, I agreed to take an unflattering time-lapse video of this process. You’re welcome, all!
I went through the rest of the work day just fine. A few hours later, Dr. Shung asked me if I was sore. I told him that the aligners felt a little tight, but no soreness. “Min, you’re going to hate me tonight,” he smirked. And he was right. That night my teeth were incredibly sore and the morning after I could only eat a banana. I was starving. We’ve had patients come in before telling us that they lost weight after beginning treatment and we joked that this should be the newest diet fad. As someone who really enjoys eating, I was kicking myself for beginning treatment. But then I remembered what I have always told my patients over the last five years: Think of the end results. The end results are worth it. Any soreness just means that your teeth are moving and it’s working.
By Thursday, I felt no soreness at all and was eating regularly. I was able to more easily remove my aligners and replace them on my teeth before and after brushing or eating. You can bet that I was eating like a pig that weekend! Thankfully, the adjustment to the first set of aligners was the worst. The sequential aligners have been a cinch in comparison and I feel very little soreness now when I change out my aligners.
In a blink of an eye, I am already on my fifth set of aligners, which is about two and a half months into treatment. Wearing my aligners is such a normal part of my daily routine now and, amazingly, I am already seeing some changes in the alignment of my teeth. While I went into treatment for aesthetic reasons, I also know that I am also reaping all the overall oral health benefits of aligning my teeth. Flossing has already gotten easier as my teeth are becoming less crowded.
During consultations, my new patients are always surprised when I tell them that I am wearing my Invisalign aligners. They move in closer and want to take a peek because they don’t believe me. And although I feel that my speech is a little different, no one has noticed at all. We will always be our own worst critic!
Overall, I am so thankful to be able to do Invisalign treatment through Dr. Shung. My estimated treatment time is about 18 months as long as I continue to be vigilant about wearing my aligners consistently, which is about 20-22 hours a day. While I did not have a simply amazing smile for my own graduation and wedding pictures, I’m excited that I will for my daughter’s.
So what are you waiting for? No more excuses! Come in for a consultation with Dr. Shung and myself and we are more than happy to walk you through the process of Invisalign or braces so that you reach your own personal goals.
- Simply Orthodontics Success List
Download PDF to post at home: Orthodontic Success List
S I M P L Y avoid these for SUCCESS!
Our goal is to provide you with a beautiful smile! What YOU EAT and DO is the key to successful orthodontic treatment.
Sticky – Chewy
Gum (Sugar or Sugarless)
Tootsie Rolls Tootsie Pops
Now & Laters
Hard – Crunchy
Nuts (Food And Candy With Nuts)
Other Orthodontic “No-No’s”
Chewing On Pencils or Pens Tearing or Opening Things with Your Teeth
Cookies (Dunk Them In Milk)
Carrots-Apples-Cut Into Pieces
Hard Breads – Tear Small Pieces
Corn On The Cob – Cut Off Cob
Meat – Cut Off Bone
Foods You Can Still Enjoy
Peanut Butter Cups
Use common sense!
- Hard foods: break or damage wires and brackets
- Sticky foods: get caught between brackets and wires.
- Sugary foods: cause tooth decay and related problems.
- Chewing on hard objects: break or damage your braces.
Teeth move their best with the braces on the teeth.
YOUR HELP is the key to successful orthodontics.
Check your braces occasionally for anything loose or bent. If a brace or band comes loose, or you break a wire, it’s not a problem! Call us and we can fix it.
- What to look for when choosing an Orthodontist?
The United State is the land of options. Especially in Orange County and even Irvine the options for anything you can think of are beyond numerous. I’ve always wondered why people choose Target over Wal-Mart or Costco over Sam’s Club and vice versa. So I always think to myself, without bias, what should be people look for when choosing an orthodontist? In Irvine there are four within one block of each other!?
An orthodontist is a practitioner unlike any other. It’s a long term commitment and relationship that can last anywhere between 6 months to 3 plus years and you are going to the office every 4-8 weeks. Besides palliative care in the medical field there is not another health field where the relationship is that long. So really, for lack of better words, you need to find someone you are willing to “marry” for an average of 2 years or more if you have more children.
So here is a list of what I consider important in no specific order. Each depends on what you are looking for and not every orthodontist is a perfect fit for you or your family.
- Convenience: You will be seeing us about every four to eights weeks. Is the commute convenient, is the office close to your house, can you run errands if the appointments are long etc. Can my child walk there or bike there.
- Trust: Is the orthodontist trust worthy. Do you believe in what the doctor is telling you? Does the treatment coincide with the most current research and is it evidence based. Is the office too “salesy” or do they have your best interest as top priority. Tough questions…but ones you’ll have to figure out.
- Personality: Does you are your child like this doctor? Can you build a relationships with the doctor and is he/she personable and polite enough to answer my questions and address my concerns. Does my child like him/her? You are going to be around the orthodontist for 2+ years so that’s important!
- Credentials: Is the orthodontist a SPECIALIST or a General Dentist that does orthodontics? You can look on the AAO website and if they are member of the AAO then they are usually an orthodontist that has gone through three years of training to specifically straighten teeth. It’s a lot harder than most dentists think so make sure the orthodontist is a certified specialist, meaning they came from an accredited program. All orthodontists are dentists but dentists are not orthodontists.
- One or multiple doctors: There are many ways to skin a cat. Having multiple doctors can be confusing as each can have different opinions so I would sway from a group practice multi doctor office. No one cares as much for patients as much as a single owner and orthodontist of the office IMO so you will get the best care from a solo practitioner. For large corporate office chains the doctors do change often so be weary of that and ask if you decide to go to one.
- Reputation: Are there any bad history or online reviews on the doctor or the office? Ask your friends and family who they use…friend can be the best sources. Any negative reviews. I know negative reviews can be very biased but they do mean something. Yelp and Google reviews can be helpful!
- Staff: The staff is a reflection upon the practice. You are going to be scheduling appointments making payments and asking the staff questions. Do they reflect well upon the practice. Sometimes I hear my wife say, “I love the doctor but I can’t stand the receptionist.” For other health professions would say “if you like the doctor just suck it up a couple times.” For orthodontists, you are going to be making at least 18 plus appointments… do you really want to have a negative expererience every time you make an appointment?
- Office cleanliness: Does the office use sterile instruments and is it clean? It’s scary what goes on behind closed doors so check out the sterilization area. Make sure all the instruments are sterilized and in pouches before they go into you or your loved ones mouths.
- Office protocol: Is the office smooth flowing or does it seem like everyone is flustered? Good chemistry usually means that things run smoothly and everyone knows what they are doing, especially the orthodontist.
- Availability of the doctor: Is the doctor available to answer questions conveniently or is he/she behind and impenetrable wall where only a death will bring them out. Sometimes it’s better to hear things from the doc than a receptionist and the doctor should be available.
- Hours: Is the office open most days of the week and do the hours fit within your schedule.
- Insurance: Do they accept your insurance. HMO and PPO are very different. If you have an HMO you may need a referral from your general dentist to find an in network provider so double check. (To be discussed in another blog! A whole different ball game!)
- Treatment Cost: I put this last on purpose! It is usually number one on everyone’s list for orthodontic treatment and I fully understand orthodontic treatment is an investment. It’s taken me awhile but I’m slowly learning you get what you pay for. I pay for an Apple product because it suits my needs so I am willing to pay more. I pay more for organic food in the hopes it is safer for my children. So in the same token, you pay more for and orthodontist that has your goals in the treatment and can provide you the service you desire. It’s a short term investment for a long term benefit. If you need financing find an orthodontist with flexible payment plans and options to suit your needs.
You can visit our office anytime and test us! Simply Orthodontics will pass all these tests with flying colors! Hope you see you soon!
- Why orthodontics as an adult: A Testimonial
Sometimes adults feel sheepish about getting braces or getting their teeth straight. The benefits of having a great smile go beyond just health benefits. Here is a personal testimony of a patient that decided to pursue orthodontic treatment in her 20’s. Thanks so much for writing this LN!
Growing up my parents didn’t think braces were a necessity for me. They felt that my teeth “came in pretty straight.” Consequently, I was being compared to my older brother who had teeth coming in from all different directions, and had orthodontic treatment for about 3-4 years. So…yes, compared to him my teeth were dealt the better hand.
Around the age of 20 I started to pay more attention to my smile, I was always told that I have a, “big beautiful smile and that braces would make it even better.” So I strongly considered them and how much better it could be if I just invested in braces. The mental image of Ugly Betty always came to mind considering what I would look like with braces on…especially in my 20s!
Luckily now there are options for those adults who would prefer not to have the traditional metal braces. Clear braces and Invisalign are a growing technology that in the past we were unable to capitalize on. Growing up in Orange County, California our looks are very important for more than just superficial reasons. Colleges and Employers strongly consider who is representing their schools/companies so impeccable appearance is a necessity, unfortunately but that is the reality.
A few more years passed and I finally committed to Orthodontic Treatment for the next 18-24 months of my life. It was everything I was told it would be: “sore for the first week, avoid certain foods during your treatment time” but that it would all be worth it once I saw my new smile. My orthodontic treatment was completed in 18 months! I never broke a wire or bracket. I understood the importance of properly taking care of my braces and how it would affect how long I stay in orthodontic treatment.
Women have a lot of pressure when it comes to psychical appearance. There is so much pressure to look perfect that many end up creating temporary and false perceptions of themselves. As a girl in my twenties I definitely felt a lot of pressure to be skinny, have perfect skin, and of course perfect teeth. There are so many temporary things a girl can do to make herself feel better about her looks such as, makeup, hair extensions, or the not so temporary and get plastic surgery. I decided that I wasn’t interested in the temporary or the drastic steps I could take. I chose to work on myself by being the best version of who I already was. I felt more confident with making a life long commitment to a healthy life style change at the age of twenty two to lose weight, have a healthy diet so that my hair and skin look healthy, and invest in braces to get my perfect smile. Now looking back at the transformation and the difference it has made to my confidence, and overall happiness, it was the best decision I have ever made! The results from my Orthodontic Treatment was much greater than I imagined.
Through my own personal journey with orthodontic treatment I learned so much about the process and had such a great experience that I made the career move to the dental field to work in orthodontics! To see every patient’s before and after pictures and go through their journey with them, to relate and understand how our patients feel along the journey to their perfect smile has been a very rewarding experience. -LN
- Simply Orthodontics' Successful Tips with Invisalign
The Invisalign site is a great place if you are thinking about getting treatment. The benefits of straight teeth and how Invisalign works can be see on their website!
If you are a new Invisalign patient refer to these guidelines to help you on your journey!
Do’s for Success!
- Wear the aligners at least 22 hrs per day. Take them out only when you eat and brush your teeth. “When they aren’t in your case they are in your face”
- Keep your aligners in the given storage cases when they aren’t in your mouth. This keeps them from getting lost. Replacements are not cheap.
- Refer to your instruction booklet for guidance or always feel free to contact us with any questions!
- Keep the aligners clean. Use a toothbrush an brush the inside and out. A denture brush is a good tool to purchase to keep them clean. If they start getting dingy you can soak in a mixture of peroxide baking soda and water.
- Use chewies or the bite tube to help seat your trays. This ensures a snug fit and proper movement of your teeth.
- Keep one aligner prior in case you lose or break your current aligner to hold your teeth in a position so we can replace your next aligner.
- Change your aligners as instructed. And monitor your progress. The aligner should fit snug there should be no gaps between the aligner and your teeth.
If you see gaps either use the chew stick more frequently or wear the aligner longer until the gap disappears. Also use the chewies more to help the tray seat.
- Feel free to contact us with any questions!
Do Not’s for treatment delays
- Put your aligners on a food tray! You will for sure accidentally throw them out!
- Wrap aligners in a napkin and place in your pocket or purse, you will forget about them and break them
- Change the aligners at your own pace.
- Stop wearing them if your teeth are sore. Soreness tell you your teeth are moving!
- Leave them sitting in a hot place. Leaving your aligners in a hot place like your car or by a heater can cause the aligners to fit or distort.
- Drink hot liquids with the aligners. This may distort the aligners because they are heat sensitive.
…I lose or break my current aligner?
If you lose or break the current aligner and the next one fits simply start wearing the next aligners.
If you lose or break the current aligner and the next one does not fit wear the previous aligner and we can order a new aligner for you. There is a fee for replacement aligners and it takes about 2-3 weeks to replace. This will delay your treatment.
… an attachment breaks?
This is happens do not worry. Give us a call and we can replace the attachment with your current aligner. Continue wearing the aligner until we fix it for you.
…the aligner is scratching my gums, cheeks or lips?
A simple remedy is to use a nail file or emory board to smooth the area that’s bothering you on the aligner. If you don’t feel comfortable we can fix it for you.
Invisalign is a great way to straighten your teeth! Just follow these simple steps for success and you will finish with a great result and on time!
- Dental Insurance and Orthodontics: Answers to your questions!
With dental insurance becoming more prevalent in our society we get a ton of questions all the time regarding orthodontics and dental insurance. Questions such as:
- Does my insurance cover braces?
- Does my insurance cover Invisalign?
- How much does it cover?
- Should I switch to a better insurance?
Hopefully this article well help answer YOUR questions.
There are two types of Insurances HMO and PPO dental insurances…let’s start with PPO.
PPO plans give you the freedom to choose any orthodontist that accepts your insurance and is in Network. PPO plans to be more pricey but give you the flexibility to choose who you want in case you obviously want the “best” orthodontist or one that fits your needs. (Check out the blog on How to Choose an Orthodontist.)
Most PPO plans cover orthodontic treatment. The range is usually between $500-2500 lifetime benefit, meaning you can only use the amount once while you have the insurance.
Lifetime benefit Important points:
- They can only be used once! If you use it up for early treatment it cannnot be used it for Phase II orthodontic treatment.
- It is SEPARATE from your general dental benefit. So you can still use your orthodontic benefit and your general dental benefits will not be affected.
- It IS NOT paid all at once, so you cannot use it, drop insurance and sign up for another one to get more benefit ;-p Insurance companies are smarter than us. It is paid in portions monthly quarterly depending on the insurance company.
- Sometimes it is not paid in full depending on the insurance company. Orthodontist are unsure why this is the case but ultimately it is the company that decides what they want to cover or not. In this case it is the patients responsibility to pay the remainder. It is what it is.
Percentage coverage: The percentage of coverage can be confusing. Let’s use 50% since that is most typical percentage. This essentially means that they will cover 50% of the covered benefit. Ex: Let’s say your orthodontic treatment costs $3000 they will cover 50% up to the max of $1500. If the treatment costs only $2500 they will only cover $1250. The rest can be used for something else orthodontically related.
Changing insurances: Often times insurance companies know people will pick up an insurance just for the orthodontic benefit. Many companies place a “waiting period” on their plans meaning you have to wear a certain ammount of time, usually 1 year, before you can utilize the orthodontic benefit.
If you change insurances often times they will no pick up treatment in progress. Double check with your insurance company prior to changing if you our your child is in orthodontic treatment. If your employer changes their insurance company, they are required to pick up the tab of the prior insurance company.
Adult coverage: As an adult if you are interested in orthodontic treatment make sure you check if “Adult orthodontics” is covered. Most insurance only cover orthodontic coverage up to age 19.
Invisalign: The best thing to do is to check to see if you Invisalign is covered by your insurance company. Some do some don’t.
HMO is a network of dental providers that accept your insurance. Therefore you often need a referral from a General Dentist to another orthodontist “in Network”. You are required to pay a set fee, set by the insurance company for orthodontic treatment anywhere with a network provider.
So if your set copayment for braces is $2000, you can go anywhere in network and you just have to pay $2000 regardless of the provider. You may be charged other fees by the provider such as records fees, retainer fees, additional charges for clear braces or Invisalign, and this is required by law. This fee/copayment unfortunately cannot be negotiated…it is against the law.
Hopefully this helps! Please comment if you have any additional questions and I will answer the best I can! If there are experts that want to correct me by all means please let me know!
- To remove teeth or to not remove teeth…The Irvine Orthodontist’s take
The thought of removing permanent teeth in your child or even yourself can be frightening for almost anyone. I have a lot of patients reject orthodontic treatment or some even say “my orthodontist said I don’t have to get teeth taken out” or “this dentist said if I get Damon braces or Fast Braces teeth don’t need to be removed.”
Sometimes when I hear these statements it makes me upset. As an orhtodontist, there is no reason why I would want to put a patient through teeth removal if they absolutely did not have to. If there was the slightest chance that I could straighten your teeth without having to extract teeth I would always chose that option. It comes down to a matter of trust and that is what Simply Orthodontics is based upon. There are often cases where there can be a compromise but there are also cases where extraction is a necessity. Taking teeth out often times extractions improve how your face looks and even makes the treatment progress faster because there is room for the teeth. Taking teeth out is still a proven effective method of treatment and anyone that tells you they don’t take teeth out anymore you should get a second opinion.
PLEASE be wary of all the marketing videos and media of “new techonology” where you don’t need to have teeth removed, i.e. DAMON braces, FAST braces. I just saw a video of a GENERAL DENTIST, not a specialist, telling the media “you really don’t have to take teeth out anymore to get your teeth straight.” I thought this was a completely ludicrous statement which inspired me to write the blog. I am going to write a completely new blog entry to break all the myths the the doctor “myth busts.” Like I said be WEARY of these videos.
There are 4 main reasons why most orthodontists recommend the extraction of teeth:
- Severe Crowding
- To reduce buck teeth in a non growing patient
- To reduce an underbite in a non growing patient
- Protruded teeth
Teeth crowd for a vast array of reason some unexplainable but there is a mix of genes in your body and you may have a small mouth but the genes for large teeth. You may be born with tight cheeks and a wide jaw. The explanations are limitless but the fact is…your teeth are crowded.
Imagine your jaw is a garage. You have a 2 car garage but you have four cars…you aren’t going to cram 4 cars into a two car garage. It’s just not going to happen no matter what you do unless you widen your garage or you sell your car. Just like your mouth, you can’t fit all your teeth into your jaw unless you remove some teeth or make your jaws bigger. And let’s say your property only fits only a three car garage there is no physical way you can get another car into your garage unless you move into a new house. So there is no way you are going to cram teeth into you mouth unless you get a new body or you grow your jaws or your extract teeth.
Below are photos of before and afters of an extraction case.
In a nutshell, extraction for crowding is very common practice in orthodontic treatment. Sometimes it’s the most healthy and best treatment for your teeth. Many people are scared that people will know they have missing teeth. You can see in the picture that unless your friend is a dentist, it is extremely difficult to notice. No spaces are left after treatment.
Common risks for not extracting teeth when indicated: Gum Recession, lip and teeth protruding
2) To reduce teeth sticking out in and adult
There are certain patients where their lower jaw didn’t grow as much as their upper jaw or the upper jaw grew too much or their upper jaw has crowded teeth because it is too small.
This is show below
There are two options for these patients people that aren’t growing anymore (ie adults)
- Extraction of two top teeth
If there is enough room for the top teeth then orthodontics and a surgical procedure to move your lower jaw to match your upper jaw position can be performed. This is an invasive and costly procedure that many people do not want to undertake especially if is not absolutely necessary. There are patients where the skeletal discpreancy is so big that it is warranted. Talk to your orthodontist and we should give you the best options and limitations.
On the borderline case the optimal treatment usually involves the extraction of upper teeth. Especially if your teeth are protruded! Below is picture of the patient above after extractions and orthodontic treatment.
3) To reduce and underbite in a non growing patient
The reverse of teeth sticking out on the top is and underbite. The lower jaw sticks out. Most often is the is present and the patient does not want to undergo surgery we can extract teeth in the lower to mask the underbite.
So when your your teeth don’t crowd and they try to fit in a smaller jaw this is masked by what orthodontists call Protrussion. Your teeth look like they lean out and make your lips stick out. This is very common in the ASIAN population called (Bo ya). It’s a feeling you have when your lips don’t fit over your teeth or your can’t close your mouth. The only way to fix this is with extraction.
In a nutshell, extraction should not be seen as a negative in your orthodontic treatment if prescribed or recommended. Orthodontists recommend it for your health and to benefit your treatment. I have treated many extraction cases and the results are dramatic and if prescribed correctly I have not had a patient tell me the regretted taking out their teeth. Taking out teeth does not affect your eating or speech. Be weary if you one orthodontist recommends extractions and another does not. Come to us! We’ll steer you in the right direction…that is our goal.
- Why is my orthodontist telling me my child needs braces so early!?
I get this question a lot! Even with all the information online I think coming from my mouth (ie a specialist) they feel more comfortable hearing it from me. A lot of parents think it’s a scam in that it’s a way for orthdodontists to get more money. There are truly so many philosophies on when a child should get braces. The goal of orthodontists is to be able to fix jaw issues before they can’t be fixed. Most of the time the treatment methods we use works but in some cases unfortunately they don’t. Growth in humans is so difficult to predict, and as orthodontists we try our very best to modify growth. Sometimes the genes are so strong that certain features cannot be fixed but it is definitely better to attempt treatment than not.
That being said…I base my reasons on research. So here is my research based professional opinion.
If you could fix something for your child and avoid a surgical procedure in the future why would you NOT do it? Herein lies the basis for interceptive orthodontic treatment or more commonly Phase I. Research shows five main reasons to treat children orthodontically with phase I
1) Finger/thumb sucking habits: These can cause open bites which are extremely difficult to correct later in life if they persist. These should be addressed once the permanent teeth begin erupting. Prior to the permanent teeth erupting there is not any permanent damage yet.
2) Posterior crossbites: This means that the upper jaw is too narrow and the back teeth are biting flip flopped. The palate in humans fuses prior to adolescence which is why kids need the so called “expander.” In adults this can only be corrected with surgery.
3) Anterior crossbite: Front teeth flip floped or an underbite. Single teeth in crossbite are bad because they can cause recession of the gums in the bottom teeth. They act like a wedge and wedge the lower tooth forward. Lost gums are extremely difficult to regenerate. An underbite needs to be corrected ASAP because bones that can be manipulated at an early age fuse later in life. Yes this may require the dreaded headgear/face mask but surgery later in life…or headgear as a child…pick your poison. The bad news is underbites sometimes cannot be corrected the genes are too strong and sometimes surgery is still warranted. My instructor once told me “play the game until you lose, then change the rules so you win.” That is the deal for the underbite.
4) Psychosocial: Who wants their kid to be bullied!? Not me. Kids now are getting bullied and made fun of at a younger age. I really don’t promote braces at a young age…it’s tough for the orthodontist, it’s tough for the parent, but if it prevents a child from getting made of, or makes them feel a ton better about themselves you bet I’ll recommend braces. It is a short term investment for a long term benefit.
5) Risk of palatally impacted canines: These are miserable to fix when all the adult teeth are in. A new study says that 85% of these bad boys can be prevented with some expansion and interceptive treatment to create space. Otherwise you are looking at a lengthy full phase of orthodontic treatment with surgical exposure of the canines. Doesn’t sound good to you? Doesn’t sound good to me either. It’s still correctable at an older age but if we can try to prevent them we should definitely try.
So early treatment, in my eyes if necessary, is definitely warranted. It can be a challege for child, parent and orthodontist, but the benfits outweigh the negatives. Don’t be afraid of it, bring your child to see me and we can make the best decision at Simply Orthodontics! -Simon Shung, DMD
- Your Orthodontist…My Story #IrvineOrthodontist
Simon Shung DMD | Orthodontist at Simply Orthodontics Irvine[/caption]
On a daily basis, I hear the line, “You like looking at teeth all day!” I’ve always wondered if patients care to hear about the personal background and career path that leads to becoming an orthodontist. Here’s my story, if you’re interested…
Oddly enough, I really wanted braces when I was young, probably because it was trendy and all the cool kids had them. I was totally bummed that I had to wait to get my braces because my teeth weren’t ready until the age of twelve. I would bend paper clips and put them in my mouth so it would look like I had braces. Sad…but true. My orthodontist, Dr. Campbell, did an amazing job on my teeth, and he was the coolest, happiest, jolliest person! He worked with tools, he was fun, and he had a great staff. I knew I had to do this! I love tools, I am happy, I like having fun, and I love being around people. This was something I definitely wanted to do.
With Dr. Campbell’s inspiration, my quest to become an orthodontist began by ninth grade. I asked him, “How do I become an orthodontist?” He replied strictly, “Well, you have to be at the top of your class and have the best grades. Orthodontics is extremely difficult to get into, and you have to go to dental school first.” That is not what I expected to hear, but it didn’t change my mind…Drive on!
I graduated from Penn State with a degree in chemical engineering; it’s technological and biological, and it fulfilled all my prerequisites for dental…perfect! Chemical engineering was a tougher road than I had anticipated. I mean, what does entropy, enthalpy and fugacity have to do with teeth? Absolutely nothing (other than my life being entropic), but I did what I had to do…Drive on!
I was accepted to the University of Pittsburgh for dental school. Dental school went by in a flash. Of course, there were the pressures of making it to the top of the class so I could get into Orthodontics, but in the end I had a huge commitment to fulfill prior to my career—the Army! It was frustrating to see my friends moving into their respective specialties, but I just had to…drive on.
I joined the Army under a health profession scholarship to cover my expenses. During my second year of dental school, 9/11 changed the world and our military mentality. At Officer Candidate School, the first thing the commanding officer said was, “Ninety-eight percent of you will be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.” How scary is that!? On top of that, I was getting married after training…Drive on!
The Army taught me leadership, perseverance, respect, honor, integrity, and a whole lot about dentistry. My first year in the military was an internship in general dentistry at Fort Lewis, Washington. After that I was stationed in Korea and then moved to the Capital Region, where I was placed in the Pentagon Dental Clinic. I excelled as a dentist and leader, so the command placed me as the officer in charge of the Headquarters Marine Corps dental clinic. During my last year in the Army, my dream of becoming an orthodontist was fulfilled when I was accepted into the Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics Advanced Dental Education/Residency Program at the University of Pittsburgh…SCORE!
Orthodontics is a three-year training program in which we get certified to straighten teeth. It is a program on top of dental school which is four years. My residency exposed me to that numerous advancements, controversies, at pretty much every way to make teeth straight and fix a bite. It was an awesome experience. It is way beyond what a weekend Six Month Smiles course provides. It only increased my passion for creating great smiles and doing it the right way! So how did I end up as an orthodontist in Irvine!? My father is a professor at USC, so my family relocated to Southern California about ten years ago. My wife and I determined that Irvine—with its great people and great schools—would be a great place to raise our children! After graduation, I worked as an associate for a dental corporation before I decided to open Simply Orthodontics in Irvine. My associateship allowed me to treat tons of cases. I’ve been exposed to the good and bad of capitalistic health care, and it is scary for the layperson. I always a dream of having my own practice and patients to care for since dental school. It took me ELEVEN years before I took a massive leap of faith. Every colleague was telling me “Irvine is a competitive market, it’s financial suicide, don’t do it” but a perfect space corner space opened in the Town Center and it called my name. It wasn’t easy in that we all know the Irvine Company has a lot of rules. To get approved to even be IN the Town Center was a HUGE challenge that I couldd not imagine. To be affiliated with the elite Irvine Company, a new business needs to be approved. Fortunately, the Irvine Company liking my vision and proposal, approved me! There was no turning back. The risk was great, the rent was greater…Drive on!
I opened Simply Orthodontics in Irvine so I could have the freedom to treat people how they should be treated and more! My passion is people. Straightening teeth is one thing, but making someone smile by giving a child a Disney sticker, referring someone to a good dentist, listening to a life story, and building relationships is my true joy, as cheesy as it sounds. Simply Orthodontics in Irvine was also created to be an asset to the community; supporting PTAs, sports teams, and local organizations is a dream for me. I plopped us in the middle of Woodbury, rather than a medical plaza, so we could be a part of the community. Our success leads to the betterment of the community. I have the luxury of meeting a variety of people on a daily basis, which is amazing. (My teen patients keep me young!) Where I am at is the scariest thing for me, and with five kids it’s not easy! Fortunately, I love and am good at what I do…Drive on!!
- Are your teeth almost perfect?
Did you know that many folks who would have never considered braces because of the way it makes them look while they’re in the treatment period? This has always been the “toss-up” for people who’s teeth are nearly perfect but still could use a little work. They realize that the trade-off might not have been there; to have the look and feel of metal in their mouths for a few years only to make a minor improvement on their smile.
Well, there is good news if this is you. Did you know that orthodontic treatments are now virtually unnoticed from just a few feet away? Watch this amazing video below for more information on how new technologies are helping people just like you to get an even more amazing smile!
If you think you’d like to come in for a free consultation and hear your options, you might be in for a big surprise. Not only will you look amazing during your treatment time, but the duration of your treatment can be very short in comparison with legacy braces. So give us a call, your Irvine orthodontics office is waiting to hear from you! – Simply Orthodontics
- Marketing misconceptions to the public
There are a lot of marketing strategies in today’s orthodontic world and I felt it necessary to educate my friends and patients on what’s out there and current claims so they aren’t deceived by them.
- Damon Braces: This is one of the biggest misconceptions in the orthodontic world. Damon braces are a brand of bracket or commonly known as a “brace” that orthodontists place on teeth. They are part of a group of brackets called “self-ligating” brackets. They are unique in that instead of a wire or a elastic “o-tie” to hold the wire in, a closing door built into the bracket holds the wire in. Damon braces claim that you if you get them you can avoid extractions, your braces will be less painful, and your teeth will move teeth faster. Time is of the essence…we want everything faster, our computers, our cars, and even our teeth to move faster! As orthodontists of course we want your teeth to move faster! The reality is teeth move at a rate regardless of what bracket an orthodontist uses. This will be the factor in the discussion of other products or marketing tactics. There are ways to manipulate the cells in the body that help teeth move faster but a bracket that is branded as “fast moving” will not. Damon braces have not been proven to “cause less pain” either. They reality is if you’re teeth aren’t sore after visits they aren’t moving. Tooth movement is an an inflammatory process which is why your teeth get sore. Plenty of research justifies this! In a nutshell Damon braces are no better than any traditional orthodontic brace.
- Invisalign or clear aligners: Invsialign is a brand of clear aligner that are removable and used to move teeth. Other less well known branded clear aligners are Clear Correct, Simpli5, MTM; Red, white, blue and the list goes on. Invisalign, IMO, is probably the most innovative and well marketed of the other brands. Not all people are candidates for clear aligners but they have the ability to move teeth just like braces. Sometimes I call them a double edged sword in that you can take them out….and you can take them out. They must be worn at least 22 hrs to be effective, that being said one still feels tooth soreness which tempts patients to take them out. They cause the same soreness as regular braces. Tooth soreness is usually a sign of movement. They are great for adults in that they are clear and removeable and most often more comfortable and tolerable than braces. I fully endorse clear aligners for the right patient and case. Make sure you find an experienced orthodontist to formulate your treatment and one that has formal orthodontic training. We specialize in moving teeth!
- Six month smiles is marketing scheme to claim to that people can have straight teeth in Six months using their technique. The reality is teeth are able to become relatively straight in six months with any orthodontic treatment. It’s the other important details that an orthodontist provides that extend treatment past six months. Correcting bites, smile esthetics, and minor detailing all take time to get a complete result. Simply Orthodontics can provide straight teeth in six months if that is your goal, but an orthodontist doesn’t need to be a Six months smile provider to do this. As an orthodontist we want to understand your goals and treat you accordingly…trust us…don’t just trust the brand.
- Fast braces is a branding similar to Six Month Smiles but the same marketing strategy. They claim using their “special” wires moves teeth faster and their bracket moves teeth faster. Another marketing misconception.
That being said you probably are wondering: “What brackets do you we use then?” I’ve been around awhile so I have used pretty much every bracket out there. At Simply Orthodontics in Irvine we use 3M Unitek brand brackets. We use them because they are completely sterile and probably the best bracket on the market in terms of quality. Little research has been done on this, but I look for a bracket that doesn’t break often, can take abuse, looks and feels the best for the patient and puts the teeth where the I want them with minimum adjustments. Those are the biggest benefits to my patients. 3M brackets are individually sealed, so the only thing they touch is you or your child’s mouth prior to placement. They are the only company to have patented the sealed bracket. Other brands of brackets are left out and most likely not sterilized prior to placement in the mouth. I chose 3M because I want my patients to know they have the best, safest product in their mouth from a world renown company . As an orthodontist, I am the one that knows how your treatment can be shorted and less painful…not the bracket. So be weary of the common orthodontic marketing misconceptions . They are all made for you to think that a bracket or technique is better than the other because of something they use, but the reality is they all do the same thing: move teeth. What is important is the doctor who is using them. A Ferrari can only perform as well as the driver can drive it… as a bracket can only move teeth as well as the doctor knows how the move them.