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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. rt 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. teeth 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 if you have any questions or call us at (949) 264-3314.  

Why can't I get a quote over the phone!?

woman-791874_960_720 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! frontal-intraoral-photo2-1024x768 frontal-intraoral-photo-1024x768 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 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! img13 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:  
  1. 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.
  3. 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.
  5. 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.
  7. 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!
  9. 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.
img14 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. picmonkey-collage 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! canned-food-drive 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

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! img12 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. screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-10-12-51-am 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.   12496496_945745075533604_2594661899395204872_o   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.   14915166_1118818644892912_5933161331845543743_n   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.   canned-food-drive   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!

img1 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:
  1. No more messy impressions that can make you gag
  2. Faster turn around times for Invisalign aligners and orthodontic appliances (expanders, bite plates, retainers)
  3. Fewer appointments
  4. Faster and more comfortable appointments
  5. Virtual outcome simulator (instantly see your crooked teeth straight)
Come visit Simply Orthodontics to get braces or Invisalign from a Premier Preferred Provider in Irvine and Orange County! It’s SIMPLE!

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!
  • 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.
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.
img9So 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! img10

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:
  1. Trauma to the face where the brackets are embedded in your cheeks.
  2. Fractured teeth and the brackets are still attached.
  3. Swelling causing pain or fever.
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 Bracket
What 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 Wire
What 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.