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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 some overcrowding cases 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.




These are the common questions our patients ask us when IPR is suggested as part of their treatment plan:


Does IPR weaken my teeth and make them more prone to cavities?

If the thought of having your teeth ‘filed back’ a little makes you worry about getting more cavities, fear not! Studies show that IPR does not make teeth more susceptible to tooth decay, nor does it increase your chance of gum disease.


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 this is perfectly 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 one bit! Numbing is not even required. Enamel does not have any nerve sensation, so it is completely painless. The only uncomfortable part is for those with sensitive ears who hate the sound of a drill. 


Therefore, when an orthodontist tells you that you need IPR – don’t fret! 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!



Why We Need X-Rays at Your Consultation

While the Instagram age has everyone taking selfies or slo-mo’s–here at Simply Orthodontics we like to take panos…panoramic x-rays, that is!


Did someone say x-rays? #gasp


It’s true, old fashioned dental x-rays got a bad rap. But x-rays have entered a whole new age with the development of digital imaging technology, which means getting an x-ray emits about the same amount of radiation as spending a day at the beach. #winning




Because we at Simply Orthodontics care about our patients’ health, we invested in the top-notch x-ray machines. Since we own our machines in house, there’s no need to run all over town to get these images like some other orthodontic offices in Irvine.


Even so, unlike the millions of shutter-friendly Instagram addicts, we don’t just take x-rays for no reason. (Seriously…does your breakfast really look that good?) We only take them when absolutely necessary. X-rays help us to see what’s underneath–missing teeth, extra teeth, impacted teeth, shortened roots, etc–which in turn allows Dr. Shung to better diagnose the best course of treatment for you or your child.





Our digital x-rays are always complimentary, and we are happy to print or email them to you (just in case you feel the need to post the ultimate selfie–or just share them with your dentist).


It’s just another way we like to help!



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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!


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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!).


Mink Disney

(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!


Merry Christmas!



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.