- An Asian American Orthodontist Celebrates APPI Month
- Funnily enough, I never knew Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month existed until it popped up on my calendar on May 1st. I actually thought that this was the first year they had celebrated it until I did more research. Little did I know that it started more than a decade ago in 2009. The celebration of the AAPI community really resonates with me during a time where Asian hate crimes are at an all time high.
I grew up in Central Pennsylvania and at the time the Shungs were only one of no more than eight Asian families in the city. I believe I was the only Asian American in a high school class of around 450. I grew up with identity issues, which I know is a struggle with other Asian Americans as well.
As children of immigrants, my siblings and I were trained to be like our Asian parents—Respect everyone. Try to be like everyone else. Keep everything inside and don’t express your feelings. Be dutiful. Stay silent. Don’t draw attention to yourself.
However, when others treat you like you’re an outsider, but you yourself feel like an insider, it can get confusing. Your parents tell you to not forget you are Chinese, but you were born in America. You don’t particularly like things in the Chinese culture and your friends around you don’t do Chinese things. Their parents feel much cooler than your own. Wait, they can wear shoes in their house? That’s blasphemy! You mean their TV remote isn’t covered in saran plastic wrap nor do they save napkins from restaurants? Where is their cabinet filled with plastic bags and repurposed containers? I would have loved having pancakes for breakfast instead of congee with pickled lettuce.
When I visited Taiwan for the first time, I thought that finally people would look at me like I was at home. Instead, they told me that I was American, not Chinese. To them, I looked American, I dressed like an American, and I spoke like an American. In my head, I thought to myself, “So if I’m not American and I’m not Chinese, then what the hell am I? Where do I belong?”
It’s difficult to describe the feeling of walking through the high school hallways and hearing strangers call me “Chink” or when everyone made Kung Fu karate chop motions everywhere I went.
Here is a list of just a few of the things I’ve encountered in the past:
“Simon, what’s for dinner tonight?…Sukiyaki?” —In 3rd grade, I didn’t even know what that was.
“Stupid Chinese! You walk like you drive.”—I was just walking slowly browsing the aisles at Walmart.
I left a restaurant once and someone said, “Sank you. Sank you, vedy much” in a Chinese accent while pulling up on their eyes into slits.
My wife and I were on a walk and were passing a group of white kids having a party. They yelled, “Stop looking at us. Go home and do some math.”
In a grocery store, I was asked, “Are you Oriental? How is the frozen beef and broccoli?”
The list goes on and on. Each one of these incidences, no matter how long ago they occurred, remain locked in my mind and have affected me.
When I moved my family to Irvine and started my orthodontic practice in the Woodbury Town Center, I truly felt like home. The diversity we have in this city is astronomical and I realized that I could relate to so many other families in the area. It was a weird sense of euphoria to be able to relate to my neighbors (and not have to explain why we take our shoes off in our home).
It makes me so proud to see big picture Hollywood movies that portray Asian Americans as love interests or lead roles and not Kung Fu masters or rickshaw carriers. I’m so happy that Hidecki Matsuyama won the Masters! I’m so happy to see people stand up for Asian discrimination. I’m so happy that my kids have the privilege to grow up in diverse Irvine where they don’t have to go through the negative experiences that I did.
My message is that I am both ecstatic and relieved that America is recognizing the AAPI community. I don’t feel different anymore. I feel like I belong somewhere. Thank you to those who are paving the way for a future where my children won’t get asked, “Is it hard to see for you because your eyes are so small?” Yup, who else has heard that one before?
- Introducing Our Newsletter–The Simple Tooth
Although we recommend children to visit us as soon as age seven, not everyone will be ready for treatment. In fact, Dr. Shung is very conservative in starting treatment for children and only makes recommendations for orthodontic treatment if absolutely necessary.
This means that we have a lot of children in our observation program. We will monitor them every six months until they are ready for treatment. To make this program more exciting for these awesome kids, we have created a special newsletter just for them. Our mailing list consists of patients under the age of 10 and our goal is to both educate and entertain.
You can view our full newsletter here:
You can view the Tooth Fairy video we described in our newsletter here:
We hope you and your children enjoy this as much as we enjoyed putting it together!
- Helping Your Child Prepare for Braces or Invisalign
As parents ourselves, we understand that your kids may have some apprehensions and worries about orthodontic treatment. We get it--It’s a BIG deal. At our Irvine orthodontic office at Simply Orthodontics, we will take extra care in making you and your child feel comfortable about the awesome smile journey ahead.
Here’s what you can do before your consultation with us that may help put yours and your child’s minds at ease:
Let them know that they are not alone!
With so many tweens and teens lining up for braces, it seems like they have now become almost a rite of passage in the United States. An estimated 4.5 million Americans -- most of them children and teenagers -- wear braces on their teeth, according to the American Association of Orthodontics. About 80 percent of those undergoing orthodontic treatment range in age from 6 to 18 years old.
Explain why they need treatment.
Orthodontic treatment results in an overall healthier mouth. Crooked or crowded teeth can be harder to clean, and this can lead to all sorts of nasty problems - tooth decay, gum disease and even tooth loss. Teeth that are not aligned properly can result in difficulty chewing and speaking, excessive wear on tooth enamel and problems with the jaw.
You can also talk to them about societal values of having a beautiful smile, as addressed previously in one of our blog posts.
Talk to them about their options.
New technology in orthodontic treatment has opened up more options for families to choose from when it comes to straightening teeth. We wrote another blog post that talks about Invisalign aligners, traditional braces, or lingual braces for you to consider before your visit with us. Still uncertain? Here’s another post on the pros and cons of Invisalign versus braces. Don’t worry, we’ll figure out what’s best for your child and family together during your consultation.
Explain to them just how easy that initial consultation will be for them.
The first visit to our office is always the scariest for kids. We keep it easy and we will start with diagnostic photos, a panoramic x-ray, and a quick visual exam by our Irvine orthodontist. Our Treatment Coordinator will go over every step with you and your child. We will also entice them with complimentary snacks and iPads! Want more details? Head here to our blog post on what to expect during your first visit.
Help them focus on our end goals.
We’re going to work hard together to get the results: a healthy and beautiful smile. Very few people actually want to get braces, but we all want the end results. Orthodontic treatment on average takes about 18 to 24 months. Remind them that orthodontic treatment is a privilege and not every child is so lucky to be able to be treated.
We will make their experience with us as painless and easy as possible. Once you’re a patient with us, we will treat you like family! Plus, we have our awesome Simply Rewards Program to encourage patients to do well during treatment by giving them points that they can later redeem for gift cards.
Plan soft and easy to eat meals for the first few days.
That first night and the next morning will be the toughest adjustment. The best thing you can do for them is prepare braces-friendly foods for your child to come home to after they get their braces. Soft things like yogurt, fruit, soups, smoothies, steamed veggies or ice cream are perfect foods for people with braces because they’re easy to chew and won’t get caught in your child’s braces.
Remove temptation to eat restricted foods by removing items such as popcorn, chips, or candies that may be too hard, sticky, or chewy.
If they’re having Invisalign treatment, they will be able to continue on with their normal diet because they will take the aligners out while eating.
Purchase a Waterpik or airfloss and some mouth rinse.
Once braces are placed on their teeth, our amazing orthodontic assistant will sit with you and your child to talk about the importance of oral hygiene. Keeping those braces clean is no easy task, but we will teach you all the tips and tricks to make sure we keep those teeth healthy while they are in treatment. There are special flossers you can purchase specifically for braces, but we find the Waterpik or similar product to be especially helpful. It is important that your child continues to see their dentist every six months for their cleanings as we do not do cleanings in our office.
We can’t wait for you and your child to visit us at our orthodontics office in Irvine! Remember, consultations are complimentary and we will reserve enough time for you and your child to ask any questions you may have.
- Irvine Orthodontist Feature: Nancy
As a father of six, I know how difficult it is to put myself before my family. This is even truer for the most important woman in my life--my wife. Mothers are known to put everyone before themselves and they are no strangers to sacrifice. Heck, it seems that it may as well be their motto sometimes.
While we love all of our patients, we have an extra special place in our hearts for moms who finally see that, yes, they are worth it and it is okay for them to do something that is completely for themselves. They deserve to smile confidently, too.
On a very unique Mother's Day edition of our Irvine Orthodontist Feature, we asked our friend and patient, Nancy, to write about her Invisalign journey.
1) What motivated you to begin treatment for yourself? Is this something you have thought about doing for a while?
What motivated me to begin treatment was my daughter’s progress with her teeth. Elizabeth’s teeth moved SO quickly, and her compliance was great too! But, I had settled into the idea that at my age, couldn’t I just settle with the smile I had for years now?! After all, my teeth didn’t “prevent” me from smiling. I just didn’t like seeing my smile in pictures when my crowded teeth were close up.
I finally started looking at getting Invisalign as “self care.” Similar to getting in better shape at the gym, or having “me” time. I thought if I have a treatment that’s short term, manageable with my busy schedule, and affordable...why not try it!
2) Was it difficult to do something nice for yourself as moms tend to put everyone before themselves?
Of course! When you say “yes” to something, you are obviously looking at it as a “no” to something else. As a stay-at-home mom of three kids, and now a puppy, I enjoy taking care of my family first. I guess it was a natural reaction to think - yikes - is this ok to do? Is it for me?
My family has genuinely encouraged me from the beginning. I have never felt selfish for starting treatment, and have only felt support by my family throughout the process! And, honestly, it now makes me wish I would have done it sooner!
3) Why did you choose Invisalign over braces?
First off, I chose Invisalign for easy maintenance for sure, and of course, it’s nature of being such a discrete treatment option. I didn’t want issues with avoiding certain foods, or breaking brackets and wires as I painfully remembered from my childhood. I wanted something subtle and effective, and easy to integrate into my lifestyle! Invisalign was the only option for me. If a treatment like Invisalign wasn’t available, I probably would have been fine with my smile the way it was!
4) Why did you choose Simply Orthodontics?
I chose Simply Orthodontics probably for the same reasons that everyone does! The facility is immaculate and packed with technology, the staff is amazing, and Dr. Shung has a heart for his patients AND his community. I can confidently say I would not have gone anywhere else for treatment. His office is definitely close by, which helps, but I would have driven across town for him and his practice. Appointments are quick & easy, and prior to beginning treatment, I never felt pressure to start - even after a consult. In fact, it wasn’t until about six months after my first Invisalign consult that I finally decided to go forward with treatment!
5) Would you recommend orthodontic treatment for others?
That’s easy - of course! But, do it for the right reasons. I know numerous people who I asked for their opinion about Invisalign first and if it actually worked! The funny thing is that I didn’t realize how many people I knew that were getting Invisalign or had it previously until I started treatment. Like anything, if you are going to get the benefits and transformation out of your treatment, you have to be a compliant patient.
Now, I can’t believe how quickly my teeth corrected through Invisalign, especially when I see side-by-side scans of my before and now at the end of treatment!
Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your story! We hope this inspires others to seek treatment for themselves as well.
As always, our consultations in our Irvine orthodontic office are complimentary. Call us at 949.264.3314 to schedule your visit today!
- Taking Orthodontic Photos at Home
While our orthodontic office is closed, we ask our patients to do us a huge favor and email us their progress photos from home. These pictures will be incredibly helpful for us to keep track of your treatment while we are unable to physically have you in our office.
Here's what you need: two spoons, your phone camera, good lighting, a friend or family member (or self timer), and a good sense of humor. You're going to look a little silly taking these. Don't worry, we've seen it all.
Head to the link below for a short video on how to take your pictures:
Take the five pictures as they appear below:
It is important to keep your lips away from your face as best as you can. Take pictures of your teeth straight on like the photos above (no weird angles). Finally, make sure you're biting down all the way on your back teeth.
Once you have your five pictures ready, email them to us at [email protected] and Dr. Shung will look at them and provide feedback within one business day.
You can do it! We believe in you! Hey, if you're really good at it, you may have a job with us once we reopen 🙂
- Finding Light
Bad things happen. It is a constant in all of our lives. In my 42 years on Earth, I have never met anyone amongst the dozens of people I encounter daily who has said, “Nothing bad happens in my life. It’s amazing!” I have had plenty of bad things happen in my own life, and every time I think that it can’t get any worse than this, guess what? It does.
But do you know what's amazing? I'm still standing. I’m still here seeing my patients in my orthodontic office in Irvine. I have a great family of six rambunctious kids and a spectacular wife. I live in a great community in one of the safest cities in America. Your life may be picture perfect, but you can't escape bad things from hitting. What makes the biggest difference is how your mind and heart deals with those tribulations.
COVID-19 is unprecedented and we are currently living through a historic event. Who could have ever predicted something that could stop the entire world to a screeching halt? I have been doing a lot of reflection amidst the chaos. The news spits out figures of more confirmed COVID-19 cases and reports more deaths. We have record-breaking unemployment rates, the stock market is crashing, and businesses are closing. We are overwhelmed every day with the negative. Fingers are pointing the blame in all directions.
It's normal to feel as if everything is hopeless. Although there is no "right way" to deal with all of this, I encourage you as you sit at home to try seeing things the other way around.
Shutting down my business was not an easy decision to make. I can see my patients and my team members--people I really care about--suffering and it breaks my heart. The reality is that life will go on and we only live this one, precious life. We are doing this for a higher cause. In the midst of despair, I am also seeing resilience and kindness.
I am seeing fathers who may not have had the opportunity to cook or clean at home now stepping up and giving moms a break (myself included). Parents are teaching kids to ride their bikes without training wheels or drive on empty streets for the first time. Families and couples are getting bored with normal streaming television and instead playing board games or doing puzzles together. The act of giving is rising on a whole new level. Neighbors are offering to go grocery shopping for others who are elderly or immunocompromised. Can you spare a square of toilet paper? Yes! Here you go!
Malls and shopping centers are closed, meaning people can’t go out and buy unnecessary items. With schools and extracurricular activities closed, families are no longer rushing around town trying to catch practice on time and get homework completed. This has forced us to slow down. When was the last time you took family walks together?
FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Zoom meetings are more common and friendships are reinforced. I have even seen my own team members grow more tight-knit and support one another in ways they never had to before. This has given us all an opportunity to miss and appreciate each other. Our virtual dance party was the highlight of our week.
Mother Nature has been healing itself with less people commuting and fewer emissions from factories due to shutdowns. Countries are reaching out and helping each other. Medical staff from China who battled COVID19 in their own country travelled to Italy with supplies to support Italians in their own fight. Scientists worldwide are collaborating together to find a cure and putting differences aside for the common good.
Before there were any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, our office had mistakenly ordered too many surgical masks for our inventory. This ended up being a small blessing as that meant we had over a thousand masks we could donate to healthcare provider friends who were in desperate need for PPE to protect themselves.
A childhood friend living on the East Coast saw what we were doing with our donations on Facebook and asked for some masks to be sent to him for use at his Emergency Room. We probably never would have connected again otherwise. Local dentists in the area have also been reaching out to me with donations so that we can connect them with healthcare professionals in need. These selfless doctors and nurses may be thankful for the supplies we are donating, but we are the ones who are eternally grateful.
This is no doubt a tough situation and a time of great uncertainty. We must remember to support one another now more than ever. We are by far stronger together ( but six feet apart). Remember, you are not stuck at home. You are safe at home.
Until we meet again, wishing you and yours health and joy.
- What Should I Do If I Can’t See My Orthodontist?
It is with a heavy heart that we decided to shut down our office until May 1st. This date is subject to change based on the recommendations by government officials.
Every day, we are given new information as to how best approach this new world with COVID-19. Things are changing fast, and we are doing our absolute best to change our protocols to ensure the safety of our entire Simply Orthodontics Family.
Our administrative team has made hundreds of phone calls these last few days to help patients reschedule their visits and many have the same concerns about their treatment. We thought a blog post to address these popular questions would be helpful.
1) Will my teeth be okay? Is it okay to go without an appointment for so long?
Yes! Your teeth are in a stable position at this time and as long as you keep your teeth clean, we have zero concerns. Think of that time you went on vacation or maybe missed an appointment and had to push out your visit. Delaying your treatment a few weeks is obviously not ideal, but everything will be just fine.
2) I've been wearing this last aligner for over a week. What should I do?
The great thing about Invisalign is that your aligner will act as retainers until you can be seen. Continue wearing your last aligner until we are able to get you a new set. Not too long ago, Invisalign actually advised patients to wear their aligners for a minimum of two weeks before they could move to a new one! Just don't lose them and keep your aligners clean by brushing with a toothbrush every night.
We also suggest you switch to wearing your final set of aligners at night time only once you have worn it for at minimum two weeks full time. This will extend the longevity of your aligner.
3) Can you mail me my aligners or can I pick them up?
As long as we're able to do so, we can offer to mail you some aligners. This is dependent on whether or not you have any left in our office and how USPS is running. We can also arrange for you to pick up your aligners by appointment only. In order to encourage social distancing, we are staggering patient pick ups and making the proper arrangements. Send us a text or give us a call at 949.264.3314 so that we may be ready for you.
4) What should I do if I'm in braces?
The most important thing you can do for us right now is to keep your teeth clean and not break any brackets. Remember, stay away from anything crunchy, sticky, or chewy. If you break a bracket while we are shut down, we are unable to repair it for you at this time. However, you may make an appointment for an emergency comfort visit.
5) Should I continue to wear my rubber bands?
Yes! And we can always mail you more or arrange for pickup if necessary. Remember, you can still email or text us photos if you are uncertain.
6) Can you please make an exception and see me for my appointment?
As a team who emphasizes customer service and making others smile, this is the hardest part of it all. We're not used to saying no! However, the American Dental Association and OSHA guidelines prohibit us from any appointments that are not an emergency. We also believe in doing our part in flattening the curve. The less interaction with people the better. This is a great article to read to understand the importance of self quarantine (https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/corona-simulator/). We are big proponents in saving equipment for our healthcare professionals who are on the frontlines.
7) What if I have a question about treatment and really want to speak with Dr. Shung?
This one is an easy one. Dr. Shung is still reachable via email by emailing us at [email protected]. If you would like to speak with him, we can arrange for a phone call or virtual exam. Isn't technology the best?
8) Will you really be back and running on May 1st? What will happen if you have to close for longer?
The truth of the matter is that we are taking things one day at a time and making adjustments as necessary. We are doing everything in our power to get our office back up and running, but the safety of our team members and patients is our top priority. Our team will also be sure to notify you in a timely manner of any changes.
Check back on our Facebook or Instagram for the most recent updates.
Thank you all for your cooperation and continued support during this crazy time. We will get through this together!
- The Big Question: Should I Choose Braces or Invisalign?
While some patients who come in for their initial consultation at our Irvine orthodontist office already know exactly what they want, there are many who are absolutely stumped. Some patients don't even know that they can choose for themselves!
For most cases, Simply Orthodontics in Irvine is able to achieve all of your goals with braces or Invisalign equally. Patients who come in for their initial complimentary consultation with Dr. Shung have been able to choose Invisalign when they were previously turned away by others.
The key is finding an orthodontist who is confident and skilled with the Invisalign technology. This only comes to those doctors who have done hundreds of cases. We at Simply Orthodontics are Invisalign Diamond Providers in Irvine and have earned that status from Invisalign by our expertise and treating multiple cases with success.
So if you're able to choose Invisalign or braces with the same results and finish your treatment within the same time frame, which option should you choose? Here are some things to consider when making your decision.
- Clear and ridiculously discreet
- No food restrictions
- Fewer visits
- Shorter visits
- Fewer emergency visits
- Nothing poking or rubbing against your mouth
- Better oral hygiene. Brush and floss your teeth as normal
- Better at correcting certain bite issues
- Must remove to eat
- Possibility of losing aligners
- Must wear 22 hours a day
- Lag time with treatment changes due to manufacturing and shipping
- Always on your teeth, thus always working
- We do all the work
- Better at correcting certain bite issues
- No lag time in treatment changes
- Visible (although you can choose clear ceramic brackets)
- No crunchy, sticky, chewy foods
- More effort in keeping your teeth clean
- Possible broken brackets and wire pokes
- Longer and more frequent visits
There is always a financial differential on both modalities and, in the end, the choice between braces or Invisalign typically comes down to a lifestyle choice. The key to Invisalign success is compliance. You will hear that "C" word all the time in our office. Since we are relying on you to wear your aligners to get the results you want, you have to ask yourself, "Will I wear these as directed?"
If you do intermittent fasting, Invisalign will be easy for you. If you like to snack throughout the day or eat all the Costco samples (who doesn't), Invisalign will be a difficult fit in your daily routine.
Still not sure which option you want to choose? Come in for your complimentary consultation in our Irvine orthodontist office and our team at Simply Orthodontics will guide you to success.
- Your Retainer… Your New BFF
One of the most common questions I am asked when people come to the end of their braces journey is “How long do I have to wear my retainer for?” That's a great question! After putting in all that time and money to get such an awesome smile, why would you not want to protect your investment? So here’s the deal - your braces are off or you have finished your Invisalign treatment and from now 'til eternity (well, maybe not quite that long)… your retainer is your new BFF!
Yep. True story. Many people don’t realize that teeth naturally try to shift throughout your life - your entire life - and only by wearing a retainer can you keep them as perfect as they did look the day you had your braces removed. It is important to wear your retainer full time (except when eating or brushing) for the first six months to a year, depending on your teeth. After that, you can switch to nighttime wear only while you are sleeping. Types of Retainers
There are two main types of retainers: removable and fixed. Removable retainers easily slide out of your mouth when you eat or brush your teeth.
A hawley retainer, the most common type of removable retainer, adheres to your mouth's shape and is kept in place by a wire that wraps around your teeth. Most patients who finish Phase I or Interceptive Treatment will be given Hawley retainers.
Another type of removable retainer is the invisible, or Essix retainer. These are made of clear plastic and are barely noticeable. We typically give Essix retainers to our patients after comprehensive braces or Invisalign treatment. They can also double as bleaching trays.
Fixed, or permanent retainers, consist of a solid or braided wire that is curved to fit the shape of your newly straightened teeth. The wire is cemented (bonded) to the inside of your teeth to keep them from moving. They are also called lingual wire, or bonded retainers. Permanent retainers are only recommended to patients who are more prone to relapse, such as a gap between their two front teeth or a lot of crowding not their lower arch. These are not recommended for everyone due to the difficulty to floss properly. Removable Essix retainers are still required over permanent retainers to hold posterior teeth in place.
Like all BFFs, retainers can’t be neglected, and require some maintenance! For a fixed retainer, regular checkups with your dentist are especially necessary to check for cavities and keep the areas around those teeth clear of tartar and plaque. Removable retainers can be cleaned by soaking them in warm water or even denture cleaning tablets. Do keep your retainer in its case if you’re not wearing it, and remember - no BFF should be left for too long in a hot car!
- The Value of a Beautiful Smile
In this image obsessed society, it is not surprising to hear that the health and beauty market is a multi-billion dollar industry. But what is ‘beauty’ anyway? Is it tall, tanned and slim? Is it pale and petite? Is it chubby and cheerful?
If you interviewed a range of people from different parts of the world, your answers would probably include all of the above - and more. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder", or so they say!
But one thing which holds universal appeal is the value of a beautiful smile.
Studies show that lasting impressions are made within the first three seconds of seeing someone, and that straight teeth play a large role in how a person is perceived. From relationships to your career, to other people’s overall perception of you, your smile could have a greater impact on your life than you realize.
Numerous studies have shown that having better looking teeth increases the amount you smile, which in turn leads to various health benefits, including lower stress and improved happiness.
Research also indicates 48% of people think a person’s smile is what makes the most impact - far more than any other physical feature. So whether you’re on a first date or going for a job interview - having great teeth could be a deciding factor in whether you make it to the second round!
Straight teeth also help to improve your confidence when socializing and talking with others. Those who have crooked or decaying teeth, on the other hand, are often too embarrassed to smile, for fear of showing their teeth. Have you ever seen someone desperately trying to hold their lips together when asked to pose for a photo, for fear of showing their teeth?
People who smile more often also tend to look younger, because they are exercising their facial muscles and therefore improving their skin’s elasticity.
In this selfie-saturated society, our team at Simply Orthodontics in Irvine love to help people show off their best self. It all starts with your smile!
- Why do I Need Interproximal Reduction?
Tooth crowding is a fairly common problem which, in the past, left orthodontists with little option but to extract those unwanted teeth to create the space needed to realign the crooked culprits and create that perfect smile.
Thankfully, these days, there is another safe and effective option, which is way less drastic! Usually combined with Invisalign or braces, orthodontists can now treat over-crowding with interproximal reduction (IPR).
In IPR, the orthodontist uses a dental drill or specialized sanding strips to accurately remove a maximum of 0.5 mm of the outer surface of the tooth, known as the enamel, between the teeth. This technique is used to make space for crowded teeth or to change the size of specific teeth to improve the bite, and is the safest and most effective way of aligning teeth without actually extracting the teeth.
Filing my teeth back… wait, WHAT?
Will I lose enamel? Will my pearly whites still look the same?
Yes, you will lose a small amount of enamel between the teeth, but fear not… it is safe! A tooth has two layers (enamel and dentin) - the enamel being the hard part and the dentin the soft part. There is an average of 2.5 mm of enamel thickness between each tooth, therefore having 0.25 mm stripped away is completely safe.
Is this going to hurt?
No! IPR does NOT hurt! Numbing is not even required! Enamel does not have any nerve sensation, so it is completely painless.
Therefore, when an orthodontist tells you, you need IPR - don’t fear! It is a routine method used to help align teeth, create better esthetics and a better bite. If you don’t believe me, I did it to myself!
- The Little Things You Miss
There’s nothing like a medical scare to make you think about life and clarify your values. Some of you may know I recently had such a scare. To some, it wasn’t a big deal – nothing to worry about. But when it’s happening to you, it’s a different story! You catch yourself worrying and stressing about the “what ifs”. It certainly made me think. It changed my perspective on a lot of things.
Life is short! Being an orthodontist in a growing practice here in Irvine makes it difficult to find time for myself. As a business owner, I never stop thinking about the practice, my employees, my patients, and how to provide the best customer service. This comes at a sacrifice – usually to yourself and your own family.
After this recent medical event, the little things that used to go unnoticed were now glaring me in the face. A couple days after the diagnosis, my daughter asked me to read her a book and I was busy. But I thought in my head, “I might not have that many more chances to read to her!?” So I put down what I was doing and read the same book (that she’d already read 100 times before) one more time. Then there’s that bottle of wine you’re saving for that special occasion. Thinking you might not even have a chance to drink it in a year, you’re more inclined to want to break it open it and share it with the people that care about you.
As you age, you realize you aren’t invincible – something could happen at any time! And, being a father of five – I’m just not ready to go! The thing about health issues is they can pop up at any time – in even the most healthy individual.
So my newfound take is… stop waiting and start doing! #yolo used to be a joke for my friends and I, but truth is, it’s a reality – YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE!
Time flies, my friends, and you never know what tomorrow may bring. Even if you made all the money in the world, you cannot take it with you. Make the most of the time you have building relationships and doing things that people will remember you by. Do things that you enjoy… take that vacation, cross that item off your bucket list – before you can’t!
- Irvine Orthodontist Patient Feature: Chloe
Here at Simply Orthodontics, we see patients of all ages, with a host of different orthodontic issues. From an outsider’s perspective, you might think all braces look the same. But when you drill a little deeper, you’ll find no two sets of teeth are alike, and each person’s reasons for visiting the orthodontist are equally as varied.
Photo by Lisa Hu Chen
One patient we have loved working with at Simply Orthodontics is 13-year-old Chloe, whom we first met in mid-2016 when her mom, Julie, came searching for answers.
We’ll let Julie tell their story:
“Chloe got braces for the first time back in December 2014 with another orthodontist,” explains Julie.
“Her case was more complicated than most. She had a number of teeth that hadn’t come through yet, and a couple of her wisdom teeth were growing in crooked and could have become impacted.
“After 18 months of wearing braces, the other orthodontist wanted to take them off and wait several years to do phase two. Up until this point, we hadn’t seen much progress at all and were getting rather frustrated. That’s when someone told us about Dr Shung.”
Julie brought Chloe to Simply Orthodontics in mid-2016, to get a second opinion.
“So often you find that people just want to give you the same answer they give everyone else. They are not willing to think outside the square,” says Julie.
“When we spoke to Dr Shung, he came up with a bunch of creative solutions to help Chloe. I feel like I can trust him because I know he’s thinking it through and not just giving you the same cookie cutter solution that he gives everyone else. He treated my kid as an individual. We were so grateful for that. Getting braces is a big investment, so you want to know that you’re getting a solution that’s going to be successful.”
Chloe is excited to see her teeth straightening up and is hoping to have her braces off by the time she starts high school next year.
Thank you, Julie, for sharing your experience with others. We are so appreciative of your family!
- 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?
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.
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!)
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!
- 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.
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?!
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!
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
- 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!).
(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.
“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.
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!”
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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?
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!
- 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 protected] 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 [email protected]
- 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 dentist said I don’t have to get teeth taken out” or “Another doctor said if I get Damon braces or Fast Braces then teeth don’t need to be removed.”
Sometimes when I hear these statements it makes me upset. As an orthodontist, there is no reason why I would want to put a patient through teeth removal if they absolutely do not have to. If there is the slightest chance that I can straighten your teeth without having to extract teeth then I will always choose 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 improve how your face looks and even makes the treatment progress faster because there is room for the teeth. Extractions is still a proven effective method of treatment and if anyone 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 technology” where you don’t need to have teeth removed, i.e. DAMON Braces or 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.
There are four main reasons why most orthodontists recommend the extraction of teeth:
1) Severe Crowding
2) To reduce teeth sticking forward in a non growing patient
3) To reduce an underbite in a non growing patient
4) Protruded teeth
1) Severe Crowding
Teeth crowd for a vast array of reasons and some are unexplainable. There is a mix of genes in your body and you may have a small mouth but the genes for large teeth. Perhaps 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 as a garage. You have a two car garage, but you have four cars. There is no way you are going to be able to cram four 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 cars. Just like your mouth, you can’t fit all your teeth into your jaw unless you remove some teeth or make your jaws bigger.
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 include gum recession and lip and teeth protruding forward.
2) To reduce teeth sticking out in an 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.
There are two options for these patients who aren’t growing anymore (ie adults)
- Extraction of two top teeth
If there is enough room for the top teeth then a combination of 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 it is not absolutely necessary. There are patients where the skeletal discpreancy is so big that it is warranted. Talk to your orthodontist and they should give you the best options and limitations.
On the borderline cases, the optimal treatment usually involves the extraction of two upper teeth, especially if your teeth are protruded. Below are pictures of a patient before and after extractions and orthodontic treatment.
Buck teeth After
3) To reduce an underbite in a non growing patient
The reverse of teeth sticking out on the top is an underbite. The lower jaw sticks forward. The best option for full correction of an underbite is through surgery. However, most often, the patient does not want to undergo surgery and we can instead extract teeth in the lower arch to mask the underbite.
When your your teeth don’t crowd and they try to fit in a smaller jaw, they have the tendency to stick forward. This is what orthodontists call "protrusion." Your teeth look like they lean out and make your lips stick forward. This is very common in the Asian population called ("Bao Ya" in Mandarin). It’s a feeling whereyour lips don’t fit over your teeth and you can’t close your mouth completely. The only way to fix this is with extractions.
In a nutshell, extractions should not be seen as a negative in your orthodontic treatment if prescribed or recommended by a professional. Orthodontists recommend it for your health and to give you the best results. I have treated many extraction cases and the results are dramatic and spectacular. I have never had a patient regret taking out their teeth. Taking out teeth does not affect your eating or speech.
If you are still uncertain, 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.