Orthodontist Johnson climbs mountains while successor Kwong keeps patients smiling
Smiles abound at Dr. Johnson and Dr. Kwong’s orthodontic practice on St. Andrews Drive. A large welcome sign stands over the threshold where the front office staff greets each patient by name. A “mile of smiles” adorns the walls, each photo a time capsule of newly straightened teeth. The bright wheel in the exam area waits to be spun for guaranteed prizes like gift certificates to Cold Stone or Subway. The chance to spin is claimed by having good hygiene, a good attitude or just for being on time.
Practicing in El Dorado Hills since 1997, Darryl Johnson has meticulously fitted adults and a generation of children for retainers, spacers and braces. It’s the personal attention he gives patients that’s made him one of the most beloved orthodontists in town. “I established a model of spending more time with patients than is typical of orthodontists,” he explained.
When Johnson, 50, announced his retirement last December he knew his handpicked successor, Dr. Jeffrey Kwong (aka Dr. Jeff), would be the best choice to carry on this tradition of care.
Johnson and Kwong have worked as partners for six months, ensuring everyone’s comfort before Johnson retires. Earlier this summer the timing seemed right. Besides spending more time with his wife and teenage son, the first thing Johnson wants to do is “climb mountains,” he said. Last month he planned to scale Mt. Shasta.
A native of Toronto, Canada, Kwong, 34, earned his dental degree in 2004 at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and his Master of Science in dentistry with a certificate in orthodontics in 2007. It was also at Case Western Reserve that he met his future wife, dentist Dr. Lisa Ngo, a native of Sacramento.
After graduation Kwong practiced in Toronto before settling in the Sacramento area to be closer to Lisa’s family. Today the couple and their toddler son live in Carmichael. They are expecting a second son this September.
Coincidentally Johnson grew up in Carmichael and still lives there. “We’re practically neighbors,” they said, laughing in a joint interview. Plus, the orthodontist from whom Johnson bought the practice in 1997, Dr. Richard Gere — not that Richard Gere — lives nearby.
Johnson’s brother knew Kwong first. “My brother showed me some retainers Jeff had made and I could tell we were similarly trained,” said Johnson. After getting to know Kwong, Johnson brought him in as partner.
“Dr. Johnson’s reputation preceded him,” said Kwong. “I like the way he creates a relationship with his patients as his top priority.”
Both orthodontists say the best part of their job is the people. “Everyone in El Dorado Hills has been so nice and welcoming,” said Kwong. Johnson said it’s the people he’ll miss most about El Dorado Hills. This includes the staff, which both doctors say will not change.
El Dorado Hills mother of two and adult patient Diane Orciuoli had high praise for the whole staff.
“They’re hilarious and so, so nice,” she said. “They all care about people first.”
She does have one complaint, explaining, “Their waiting room has the best magazines in town! I come in ready to kick my feet up and treat myself to People magazine, but never once have I been able to finish an article because there’s never a wait!”
Dr. Jeff is ready to lead and Johnson’s confident everyone remains in good hands. Though he is off to climb mountains don’t be surprised to see Johnson pop in from time to time, especially when Dr. Jeff takes time off for the new baby. “I will be here whenever Dr. Jeff needs me,” Johnson said.
The orthodontic office of Dr. Jeffrey Kwong is located at 1011 St. Andrews Drive, Suite B. They offer an array of orthodontic services for children and adults. Call (916) 933-0352 to schedule a consultation.