Daryn T. Nishikawa,
Dr. Daryn Nishikawa has had quite a few exciting experiences in his dental career over the past decade. After earning his dental degree at USC and completing a residency in hospital dentistry at UCLA, he went on to work as an associate for various oral surgeons and dental offices across Los Angeles County.
In 2016 he was hired by SpaceX to develop and lead their dental department. He volunteers as a team dentist for the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, Team USA and the Los Angeles Football Club soccer team. He also has advanced training in treating those with severe medical, physical and mental problems who require special care, and he sees them in a traditional dental setting instead of a hospital.
Dr. Nishikawa is the proud owner of his own private practice, which he opened in the spring of 2018. He and his wife, Camille, live in the South Bay with their son, Broderick.
What fulfills you most about your career?
One of the many things that fulfill me about my career is being able to support and provide for my family. Secondly, being able to serve my hometown and provide a service locals can count on is also very rewarding. I am back home and happy and proud to serve this city and the many individuals who make the South Bay awesome!
In what ways is your industry changing with the times?
Fortunately for those of us working in the dental field and our patients, dental care has evolved from a primitive and often painful form of medicine to modern-day, state-of-the-art diagnostics and preventive care. This all starts with the education students are receiving in dental schools (and continuing education courses) and from the depth of research that goes into perfecting procedures across the dental world—making them better, faster to perform with greater accuracy and more predictable.
Cosmetic dentistry can whiten teeth and revitalize your smile. The metal-mouth look has been replaced by invisible braces. Computer-assisted design and computer-assisted manufacture—technologies dentists use now for procedures like bridges and crowns—are more accurate and esthetic. The world of dental implants and its adjunctive procedures have revolutionized the way we can replace missing teeth and recreate smiles. Not to mention the use of artificial intelligence is starting to make its mark on dentistry and will soon be a very useful diagnostic instrument for detecting potential problems even earlier.
Give us your thoughts about the importance of charitable contributions.
Giving to charity—whether it be time, money or resources—is very important. Many of us working in the health care field are very fortunate to be in the profession that we are. Especially in the wake of COVID-19, when many people lost their jobs and livelihoods, health care has remained relatively steady despite a slowdown due to government mandates. We are very lucky.
One of the many ways I give back is through my involvement with the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the members of Team USA. I volunteer my time and resources to take care of the many athletes who volunteer and sacrifice daily to represent the U.S. in world competitions. To me it is amazing, knowing that I am in a small way able to help them perform at their best.
What is on your bucket list for the remainder of 2022?
Being an avid golfer, I was able to check one of the many “dream” locations off my bucket list earlier this year and play the world-renowned Pebble Beach and its affiliated golf courses. What an amazing experience that was! My life goal is to tee it up in every state and play at the best courses in the U.S.
What’s one thing that you wish someone had told you during your career journey?
Dentistry goes far beyond “drilling and filling.” There is so much more that makes this profession enjoyable and rewarding. The countless relationships you create with your patients and peers are lifelong. My advice to others: Networking from an early stage will go a long way in terms of opening new doors and bringing great career opportunities. Don’t let your job define you or your work consume your whole life and identity. Try to experience things outside work; it will give you more perspective on what your job is really like.
What motivates you?
I find myself motivated primarily by my family, friends and colleagues. I not only do what I do for them but because of them. They push me to be a better version of myself every day. Being able to say that I have treated my patients with the optimal level of care helps keep me motivated too.
What are some of your favorite travel destinations?
My favorite travel destinations would have golf courses, good food and a beach. A location with all of that would be amazing, but I’d be happy with a place simply with delicious food! A couple of destinations at the top of my list are Australia and Japan.