Dr. Shannon treating a patient

We welcome your family to our third-generation, family-owned “home” SHN Orthodontics for trusted specialty orthodontic care.

SHN Orthodontics is proud to be your family’s “home” for advanced, specialty orthodontic care. Our Mission Viejo, California office is proud to be a woman-led, third-generation family practice. Our orthodontist, Dr. Shannon Hilgers Nissen, “grew up” in the family business. Her father started the tradition more than 40 years ago. Dr. Nissen continues the legacy with fun, warm, empowering, inclusive, and genuinely caring orthodontic treatment.

A wide range of quality services sets children on a healthy path. Healthy oral and dentofacial development supports academic performance, restorative sleep, a positive self-image, good chewing function and nutrition, and overall well-being. Anomalies and challenges to development in early childhood are associated with the opposite; airway problems put a tremendous toll on the body’s organs and systems and are associated with everything from problems with concentration and behavior to chronic headaches, poor immune function, and speech impediments.

Built on this principled foundation, Dr. Nissen emphasizes early intervention. She generally recommends:

  • Airway assessments – We cannot treat what we do not know. Assessing for possible anatomical and functional difficulties can provide valuable insights for determining the next course of action.
  • Orthodontic evaluationsThe American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that the first orthodontist visit occur by age seven. By intervening with potential problems early while the teeth and tissues are still developing, we can help to avoid more significant damage later on. This approach also minimizes the need for more extensive orthodontic and restorative treatments.
  • Tongue thrust and other behavioral modifications – We can advise on ways to address and resolve habits and behaviors that interfere with healthy development and are implicated in many oral and overall health complications. Oral appliances can also help to promote better oral posture and patterns.
  • Space maintainers – Small, discreet devices can be placed to help guide permanent teeth into their proper positions in special situations, such as when baby or primary teeth are lost prematurely.
  • Growth modification and compliance appliances – For instance, the Herbst device is a fixed appliance for overbite among young patients who are still growing. It may be applied before braces or at the same time as braces treatment. Additionally, the Forsus appliance for overbite is always present and helps avoid the compliance issues associated with elastics and headgear.
  • Phase 1 treatments – These interceptive options range from palatal expanders to open up the palate or roof of the mouth and partial braces that may correct a specific section of the teeth (such as the upper or lower arch).
  • Braces – Today’s options come in so many different forms! There are braces made with clear brackets and wires to blend in with the rest of the smile. There are braces that do not require elastics (self-ligating). There are even Wild Smiles braces with brackets in fun shapes, this lets your child “design their own braces”. Various fixed and removable retainers help sustain the results from treatment and prevent “relapse” or teeth from shifting back into their pre-treatment placements.

For teens and adults alike, Invisalign® presents a “twist” on conventional orthodontic treatment with braces. Trust straightening with these transparent, removable aligners to Dr. Nissen, a specialist with considerable training and experience beyond dental school in orthodontic treatments to correct misalignment and bite imbalances. SHN Orthodontics may even complement aligner treatment with The Invisalign® Professional Whitening System. Powered by Opalescence™, this is the only whitening system endorsed by Align Technology, the makers of Invisalign®, for use with their aligners and Vivera™ retainers.

Think beyond conventional braces. Call your family’s home for trusted specialty expertise and care in Mission Viejo, CA, at (949) 830-4101.

Dr. Nissen

I am truly blessed to be an orthodontist! I work with a wonderful staff and I interact with amazing patients everyday. We are here to support our patients and help them better themselves in functional and aesthetic capacities. I love interacting with patients of all ages and I enjoy seeing the beneficial changes that our treatment brings into their lives.

Over 40 years ago, Dr. Nissen’s father, Dr. James Hilgers, established his own Orthodontic practice at our current location. Dr. Nissen is a proud third-generation Orthodontist who enjoys the pleasure of delivering orthodontic treatment in her own unique way! Her hallmarks are great orthodontic vision, attention to detail, and a kind and communicative approach to practice. Dr. Nissen is a local product of St. Margaret’s in San Juan Capistrano, and after her education in The Bay Area and Boston, she returned to receive her Master’s Degree in Orthodontics from Loma Linda University. We look forward to our journey with you!

We love our patients and give them superb care.

Relaxing, positive, and friendly.

Friendly and helpful staff.

We pride ourselves on communicating effectively.

Rich 40+ year history in orthodontics.

Cutting-edge, modern orthodontic technology.

Success Stories


Our Caring Team


The cost of your orthodontic treatment may vary depending on your individual needs and treatment plan. Our Treatment Coordinator will discuss the cost of your treatment and each of your available payment plan options with you.