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Living the Dream: A Love Letter from an Irvine Orthodontist

As we celebrate our third anniversary here at Simply Orthodontics, I can’t help but think back to the time when having my own practice was just a dream – and quite an overwhelming one at that! Words like ‘financial suicide’, ‘too hard’ and ‘too risky’ were coming at me thick and fast. What was I thinking? I had four kids – did I really want to do this?

 

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But I didn’t want to be defined by what people around me were telling me. What’s the worst thing that could happen by taking this risk? It was my dream to have my own practice in the community I lived in. My dream to be able to serve others and be a blessing to the people I serve. To “be the reason people smile.” I’ve learned in these past years that orthodontists are natural pleasers – they love to see people happy, and I’m no exception. So why not do what I was designed to do – make people smile?!

 

I decided to take a leap of faith knowing that, if worst came to worst, those who cared most about me would still be around to support me. As Denis Waitley once said: “Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.”

 

When I look back over these past three years, I am amazed and grateful at how Simply Orthodontics has grown from a dream into a full scale practice. I am so grateful to all those who have supported me, and thankful that I have also been able to fulfill my dream of giving back to our community.

 

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Of course, I could never have done this without my family, my wife and our kids – my biggest cheerleaders! Hardly a day passes when one of them is not wearing a Simply Orthodontics T-shirt. My wife is the backbone of my dreams and is always there to help me make wise decisions.

 

Thanks also to my wonderful staff – the lifeblood of Simply Orthodontics in Irvine! They serve with smiles and share the same vision of being passionate for people as I do. (If they don’t let me know!)

 

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I also want to thank the various local dentists, who entrust me to take care of their patients. I will continue to treat them as you do.

 

I am so grateful for all the wonderful people of Irvine. You all help me to live out my dream of serving the community. Thank you.

 

And to our patients who choose to come and see us, I also say a heartfelt thanks. Thanks for understanding our values and choosing to be a part of our family. You too have taken a leap of faith, but I hope it’s obvious that we are here to serve you and your family as our own.

 

I look forward to many more years of serving you all! Please visit our practice if you haven’t already, and choose to be embraced!

 

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The Tooth Fairy Is Back!

Here at Simply Orthodontics, we love the month of February. Not only do we get to celebrate Valentine’s Day (who doesn’t like a little extra love) and give away a romantic dinner for two… but it’s also National Children’s Dental Health Month.

 

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Dental health can be a hard message to get across to kids. Let’s face it, what kid voluntarily chooses to eat less candy? And who wants to stand in front of a mirror twice a day, with a toothbrush in your hand, when there’s fun to be had?!

 

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But, as we discovered last week when we visited a few local Irvine schools, the kids were more than happy to pay attention when our very own Tooth Fairy (AKA Min) arrived on the scene.

 

Through our interactive and fun lesson, we were able to share with the kids why teeth are so important, what makes your teeth “happy teeth” and what makes them  “sad teeth”, and how to brush and floss. We were having so much fun, the kids didn’t even notice they were learning!

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If you would like to learn more about our oral hygiene demonstration targeted towards toddlers, head over to our blog from last year.

 

Photos taken by Celia Southcombe

 

 

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Irvine Orthodontist Patient Feature: Tiffany Mink

One thing I love about being an orthodontist is that I get to meet a lot of interesting people of all ages and from all walks of life. I love hearing the stories of bright-eyed 10-year-olds as much as I enjoy those of my adult patients (Yes, big people get their teeth straightened, too!).

 

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(Photo taken by Madeline Barr)

 

One patient who never fails to entertain is Tiffany Mink. Not being a big social media user myself (who has time for that when you have five kids?), I was previously not aware of Tiffany — unlike her 34,000 Instagram followers and her many thousands of YouTube subscribers— who follow her travels around the world, laughing her way from one Disney theme park to another! In 2016, Tiffany visited every Disney park in the world. Her commitment to all things Disney is apparent by her colorful princess half sleeve tattoo on her right arm, not to mention her purple hair, and her fun clothes (from her own Disney-themed clothing line, Whosits & Whatsits)!

 

Being in front of the camera so much meant Tiffany was always conscious of her teeth – particularly one tooth that was noticeably out of line with the others.

 

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“Whenever I was getting my photo taken I would always say, ‘Don’t take my bad side,’ because I had one tooth that was pushed back, and it made me look like I had a tooth missing,” explains Tiffany. “I’ve never really felt held back by my teeth, but I didn’t love them.”

 

I started working on Tiffany’s teeth just over five months ago. After explaining the various options, she decided to go with Invisalign rather than braces. “Because I have my photo taken so much, I didn’t want to have traditional braces so when I heard about Invisalign, it seemed to be a solution that was a good fit for me,” she says.

 

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So what does an Instagrammer who is always in front of a camera do when she’s getting her photo taken? “Most of the time I just leave the Invisalign in when being photographed,” she says. “I feel just as confident getting my picture taken with them in, as I do with them out, because you can’t even see them. It’s pretty amazing. I was fully expecting to be more aware of it. But there are pictures of me wearing them, and people don’t even notice. It’s even more unnoticeable than what I thought it would be. You just have to remember to take them out when you’re eating.”

 

Tiffany can’t believe she’s seen such a remarkable difference in her teeth in just four months. She says she was shocked when the buttons, that were placed on a couple of her lower teeth to rotate them, were removed after just three months. “It made such a difference in such a short time. I was amazed!”

 

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Of course, you can’t talk to Tiffany without asking which is her favorite Disney park in the world? “Tokyo Disney Sea,” she exclaims. “It’s really special and truly the most unique park experience out of them all.”

 

Keep an eye on Tiffany’s Instagram account where she is documenting her Invisalign journey along with her seriously funny YouTube channel to watch her videos on all things Disney (including the time she rode on Star Tours with none other than Luke Skywalker himself).

 

P.S. She really is as sweet, charismatic, and funny as she seems.

 

 

All photos taken by Celia Southcombe unless otherwise noted. 

 

You Don’t Need Metal Mouth Anymore to Have Straight Teeth

We live in an age of endless options. Whether you’re shopping for a new car, cell phone, or even cereal, you never have to settle for just one choice. The same goes with straightening your teeth.

 

Braces are not the only option anymore to have a beautiful smile!  Traditional orthodontists may shy away from different technologies, but the newer generation is embracing invisible methods for aligning teeth.

 

As a modern orthodontic office in Irvine, we are constantly listening to your concerns and want to give you the opportunity to give you a great smile with the newest technology and without the metal.

 

Clarity bracket by 3M

 

Clear brackets have been on the market for many years. In our office, we choose 3M Unitek Clarity Advanced ceramic brackets because they are the best on the market. Our ceramic brackets stand out from the rest for several reasons.  The MAIN reason is that they are individually sealed which means they remain completely sterile and go right from the clean laboratory from 3M right into the patient’s mouth.

 

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Our brackets are made to allow us to get them on your teeth faster and more comfortably. They are also less bulky than other ceramic brackets and you don’t have to worry about them staining from foods or hurting when they are removed.

 

 

Best of all, they are just as durable and effective as traditional metal braces. And, of course, they are more discrete and less visible.

 

Invisalign:

 

Invisalign is one of the most innovative products to hit the orthodontic world in terms of a whole new way to straighten your teeth.  A lot of patients have concerns about the effectiveness of Invisalign. Invisalign will yield the same results as traditional braces as long as you are compliant and you have a great orthodontist behind you.

 

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Since Dr. Shung is designated as Premier Invisalign Provider in Irvine, he can confidently guide you through the process and give you a simply amazing smile.

 

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Beware of imitation products or do it yourself products as damage can be done if not executed by a professional.  It is always important to look for an experienced orthodontist. Invisalign assigns provider denominations for the providers that are more experienced.

 

You can read about them here

 

INBRACE Lingual Braces:

 

Lingual braces, or braces on the tongue side, have also been around for a long time.  Famously, Miley Cyrus had them, but lingual braces never gained much popularity. Why?  Because appointments were significantly longer, they were uncomfortable, and they were expensive.

 

We choose to provide INBRACE technology in our orthodontic office in Irvine because it is completely different from traditional lingual braces. INBRACE is a new style of braces that hides behind the teeth and uses a space-age memory wire to perfect a patient’s smile. INBRACE has the added benefit of allowing you to brush and floss normally.

 

They are 100% esthetic, meaning there is nothing bonded to the front of your teeth.  The benefit over Invisalign is that they are fixed on your teeth and therefore there are no aligner changes to remember and there is nothing to put back in after eating. We are one of the few orthodontic practices in Orange County and Irvine who provides this service.

 

With these three options, there leaves little to hold you back from getting your teeth straight! We are here to meet your goals and help you achieve that smile you’ve always wanted.

 

Spreading Cheer and Smiles

Tis the season to be jolly – and here at Simply Orthodontics we’re feeling particularly festive. We’re always looking for creative ways we can give back to our community, and are grateful for an opportunity we had recently to spread some joy by giving away four real Christmas trees.

 

Not only were four worthy families blown away to receive the trees, but we bought them from a patient who was selling Christmas trees as a fundraiser for the Lutheran High School of Orange County Lancer Baseball Program – a double win!

 

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One of the recipients, Lilly (pictured here with myself and Min), is a single Mom with five children, who is always giving out to others. We found her through the fantastic organization Open Gate International. She works two jobs, but the budget didn’t quite stretch far enough to buy a Christmas tree. She was so excited the morning we knocked on her door with the tree – and her kids were even more so when they arrived home from school that afternoon to see the surprise tree brightening up their living room!

 

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Another tree was given to a great family we met over Thanksgiving, while helping to deliver turkeys to families with critically ill children through the Miracles For Kids program. A third tree was delivered to a family who had spent all of their money buying gifts for needy kids, and didn’t have enough to buy their own tree… and the last tree was given to one of our great patients here at Simply Orthodontics.

 

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Ever since opening my orthodontic practice here in Irvine in mid-2015, giving back to the community I love has been one of my top priorities. Our family lives here in Irvine and four of my five children attend Woodbury Elementary School. I believe that by supporting one another and building bridges into the community we can create a safer environment for us all to live in. Who doesn’t want that?

 

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It has been said that true happiness comes not from what we can get, but from what we can give. Here at Simply Orthodontics we don’t just want to fix people’s smiles (although we DO love to do that!) – we want to give people a reason to smile!

 

Merry Christmas!

 

 

Custom Nike Sneakers Promotion for Invisalign Teen Patients

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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!

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

cavities

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

Costco Thank You

 

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.
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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.

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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 info@soirvine.com if you have any questions or call us at (949) 264-3314.