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About Dr. Darin Ward

Dr. Darin Ward

natural healing mouth and throat
My name is Darin Ward, I am the orthodontist and chief dishwasher at UPWard Orthodontics, and I LOVE what I do! I love helping patients achieve their unique smile that they feel GREAT about! I believe that your smile is so much more than what we see on the surface, its effects one’s self image, self-esteem, and is a vital form of human expression! The appearance of your smile and the health of your oral structures have a tremendous impact on your overall health and your confidence and effectiveness in social interactions. Feeling self conscious about your smile can be a great hindrance, disability, or handicap to your effective interaction with other people. An attractive confident smile provides a tremendous advantage in nearly every aspect of your life.

Throughout my childhood, teen and young-adult years, I was a less than ideal dental patient when it came eating refined foods and sodas, as well as not keeping my teeth and gums clean. Looking back at photos of me as a child, I realized that EVERY one of them showed me breathing through my mouth. This dried out my teeth and gums and resulted in less than ideal facial/jaw growth. In hindsight, this contributed to my requiring orthodontics as well as the sore, bloody, gums and decayed teeth that followed resulting in multiple cavities and fillings in all my back teeth (my baby teeth and my permanent teeth), three root canals, two gum surgeries, and eventually 19 crowns before I was 45 years old! I can see clearly now were also symptoms of my poor dental health and facial development. I developed a mouth breathing habit from birth, and can see it perfectly now just looking at photos of myself as a child: the visible symptoms of poor “oral rest posture” are right there in all the faded photos my mom saved all those years. I snored prolifically, and I even wet the bed until I was age 12. Again, common symptoms of teeth and jaw mis-development that could have been corrected with the non-surgical, non-invasive orthodontic treatments we use every day in our office here in Houghton.

I’m sharing my story because it is also the story of many other adults and children across the Upper Peninsula and everywhere, and because it could have been prevented! My personal experiences inspired me to work in orthodontics and help Kids, Teens, and Adults all have better outcomes. If I had someone to help me with my breathing, help me develop proper “rest oral posture” habits, and help manage my jaw development at an early age, I may not have needed all the invasive dental and orthodontic procedures I endured throughout my lifetime. I prefer an “ounce of prevention” over a pound of cure anytime!

Orthodontics is not just about straightening teeth; it’s about helping individuals maximize growth and development and improve overall health. I also believe that early intervention is critical and can help eliminate the need for invasive (and expensive) treatments, pain and chronic illness later in life.

In Houghton since 2021, helping patients since 1998. My family and I are so happy to have made our home here in Houghton! My wife is originally from the U.P., and the smaller, tight-knit community and world-class outdoor activities are the perfect fit for our family. I’m proud to share my decades of experience with our community:

I graduated from Baylor College of Dentistry in 1998, then completed a one year AEGD at Baylor with director Dr. Charles Wakefield in 1999. I operated my first practice, as a general Dentist in Eugene, Oregon for 8 years. In 2009, I received my masters in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics from the University of Colorado. Then I opened a private orthodontic practice outside Calgary, AB, in the suburb of Okotoks Family connections (including my Yooper wife Traci) drew our family and I the U.P. Today, we’re elated to focus on our new community and enjoy the U.P.-life! I am an avid rower, cyclist (mountain and road), and telemark skier, and look forward to everything the Keweenaw Peninsula has to offer when it comes to all things outdoors. I also enjoy playing harmonica and guitar, roasting coffee beans, and have recently gotten into wood-working.

Always learning, always looking to give back: I am an active member of multiple specialized organizations that support lifelong orthodontic learning and innovation:
American Association of Orthodontists
North American Association of Facial Orthotropics
American Academy of Gnathologic Orthopedics – Current President
International Association of Facial Growth Guidance
Lane County Dental Society – Former President
Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry

I firmly believe that UPWard Ortho can give back to the community in many ways. My practices have supported sports teams, various organizations for kids and animals, and sponsored multiple events to foster better dental health and education. Reach out to us if you’re interested in a community partnership.

Dr. Darin Ward's Credentials: DDS, FAGD, MSD