Dallas Orthodontist Offers Unique Therapy Focusing on Straightening Teeth HolisticallyJan 31, 2020 08:31AM ● By Annalise Combs
By Sheila Julson
Dr. Darin Ward, DDS, owner of Face ForWard Orthodontics, knows firsthand that prevention is key to good oral health. While growing up in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, Ward had myriad problems with tooth decay and crooked teeth, despite that his family regularly visiting a dentist. It wasn’t until well into adulthood that Ward, as a practicing dentist, figured out the cause of his problems.
“I was a mouth breather since I was a baby, and that has everything to do with the decay that was on my teeth,” he relates. “Mouth breathing affected how my jaws grew, which is why I needed all this dentistry. Nobody ever told my parents this, but now that I know what I know, I want to help people have a better experience than I had so people won’t have to go through all that time and expense.”
Ward uses Orthotropics, a facial growth guide that helps jaws grow in right direction by widening the arches. In addition, he has appliances like Crozat, a gentle alternative to bulky, acrylic screw appliances, that quickly expand the palate; and an Advanced Lightwire Functional (ALF) Appliance to develop the upper jaw. For teens older than 15 and for adults, Ward also has temporary devices to help develop the arches without surgery and extractions. Ward says he’s the only orthodontist in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that offers Orthotropics, Crozat and ALF.
Like many practitioners that focus on holistic preventive care, Ward began his career in a conventional direction. While studying at San Diego State University, he befriended a dentist, Dr. Paul Brent, who properly fixed his teeth and encouraged him to pursue dentistry as a career. Ward went on to study dentistry at Baylor College of Dentistry, in Dallas. He practiced general dentistry in Eugene, Oregon, for three years before one of his young patients inspired him to reexamine his approach.
“A patient that was nearly 3 years old had a crossbite and still wasn’t speaking,” Ward says. “The orthodontist I referred him to said he couldn’t do anything because he was too young, so I made an expansion appliance that improved his upper jaw size and corrected his crossbite. He also started speaking.”
Ward became very interested in facial growth and development. He studied how resting oral posture—the way the jaw is held while breathing—affects growth, jaw position and tooth alignment. He studied the work of doctors Jack Hockel, Darick Nordstrom, William Hang and John and Mike Mew, who are all committed to advancing an approach to orthodontics that corrects proper facial balance instead of traditional retractive techniques. By working with these mentors, Ward learned how poor resting oral posture causes crooked teeth, grinding, snoring and breathing problems, as well as bedwetting and other issues—things he dealt with as a child.
After returning to school to study orthodontics, Ward practiced postural orthodontics in Alberta for six years before moving to Texas to be near his family, where he opened Face ForWard Orthodontics. His full-service orthodontics practice has a preventive focus. In addition to braces and invisible aligners, Ward uses educational techniques and gentler temporary orthodontic appliances to help children and adults develop proper oral posture. He says this type of prevention helps not just with jaw growth, but also airway issues like sleep apnea and upper airway resistance syndrome; a condition not as severe as sleep apnea. but still restrictive of airflow.
Ward takes his time to know each patient, and provide education and postural exercises via the Good Oral Posture Exercise prevention program. For young patients from 3 to 6 years old, when much facial development occurs, and 7 to 15, when the jaw is still developing, Ward encourages the whole family to participate in the postural exercise so everyone can benefit from proper oral posture.
Ward partners with Dr. Keith Thornton, who specializes in helping patients that cannot wear orthodontic appliances, is a member of the Dallas Airway Collaborative and volunteers with nonprofit Smile Change Lives, which provides free orthodontics for low-income children.
Face ForWard Orthodontics is located at 6131 Luther Ln., Ste. 208, Dallas. For more information, call 214-617-1331 or visit FaceForWardOrthodontics.com.