Living Out a Childhood Dream

By Phyllis Hanlon


AkkawayWhen his eighth-grade teacher asked him to write an essay on what he hoped to be when he grew up, Daniel Akkaway, DDS, didn’t hesitate. Unlike some youngsters, he looked forward to his dental appointments. In fact, he was so impressed and fascinated with the work his dentist did, he decided to enter the world of dentistry someday. Decades would pass before he fulfilled his childhood aspiration. But today, Akkaway is “living the dream” as owner of his own orthodontic practice.

A native of New Jersey, Akkaway graduated from Rutgers College, where he majored in chemistry and math. After working as a food chemist at Nabisco, he relocated to California and accepted a chemist position with a computer chip manufacturer. Although he enjoyed working in the science industry, Akkaway wasn’t entirely fulfilled. “I really wanted to do something where I could use my scientific background to help people directly,” he explains. Akkaway then recalled his eighth-grade ambition and applied to dental school. He was accepted to Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. While at Columbia, he used his strong work ethic and science background to graduate first in his class.

After graduation, Akkaway completed a hospital dentistry residency at Sepulveda VA Medical Center in Los Angeles. He then returned to New York to complete his training in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics at St Barnabas Hospital, which is affiliated with Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

Fresh out of his residency, Akkaway launched his career at a prestigious orthodontic practice in Manhattan. “I gained a tremendous amount of experience treating adults and teens with Invisalign. I learned to do things with Invisalign that I never thought would be possible,” he says. Eventually, he made his way back to New Jersey, where he continued to sharpen his skills while working as an associate. In 2011, the owner of the practice retired and Akkaway took over.

His practice offers two locations: one in Kinnelon and the other in West Milford, with early morning/late evening hours for convenience and flexibility. More important, as the sole practitioner, Akkaway personally sees every patient for all procedures. “I do all the diagnosis and treatment planning myself,” he says.

Skilled in all areas of orthodontics, Akkaway is an Invisalign Elite provider, ranking in the top 5% of Invisalign providers worldwide. He also specializes in self-ligating braces and temporary anchorage devices (TADs), and works with oral surgeons to perform orthognathic surgery for patients with severe jaw discrepancies.

Practice Name: Akkaway Orthodontics
Location: Kinnelon and West Milford, NJ
Specialty: Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
Patients per day: 40 to 50
Starts per year: 240
Years in private practice: 5
Days in private practice per week: 3

Pediatric patients, including adolescents and teens, comprise approximately 75% of his practice. “I love working with kids, seeing them mature into confident adults as they progress through treatment. They love to see the before-and-after photos,” he says.

Technology plays a key role at Akkaway Orthodontics. Akkaway stays current with new techniques and technology with extensive continuing education. He adds, “I embrace new technology and always incorporate it into the practice when I feel it will truly have a positive impact on outcomes.”

Philanthropy also defines the practice in several ways. In addition to contributing to a number of charities, Akkaway volunteers for Smiles Change Lives, through which he treats many disadvantaged individuals on a pro bono basis. “We also donate to From Houses to Homes, an organization that builds homes and schools to assist the rural poor in Guatemala. I feel so fortunate that I’m in a position to improve people’s lives through my profession and through philanthropic efforts both locally and internationally,” he says.

Although, in dental school, he enjoyed and excelled in all aspects of dentistry, Akkaway was drawn to orthodontics. “I felt I could have the biggest impact on people’s lives with this specialty,” he says. “Creating beautiful smiles is very rewarding. I can raise someone’s self-esteem. A great smile can truly change a person’s life.” And with that, Akkaway is really living his childhood dream.

Phyllis Hanlon is a contributing writer for Orthodontic Products. For more information, contact [email protected].