Dr. Chris J. Woolaver, DDS, MSc, FRCD

This is where other orthodontist lists their schools, degrees and association memberships. Have a look at my CV if you want my educational bio, but that stuff isn’t who I am, it’s just what I do. Here’s a little bit about who I am: I was born in Digby, Nova Scotia, a small fishing village on the East coast of Canada. When I was 10, my family moved to Calgary, Alberta next to the Rocky Mountains. I have also lived in Oregon and Manitoba before settling here in Arizona.

I was born with a cleft lip and palate. My first orthodontic experience was at about 6 months old, when my cleft was surgically repaired, and my last set of braces came off when I was 29. I had braces for 10 years, I had facemask headgear, expanders — everything. Check out my treatment philosophy to see how my personal orthodontic experience influenced how I practice today. When I was 10 years old, I wanted to be a cowboy. When I was 11, I decided I was going to be an orthodontist. Orthodontics is all I ever wanted to do. That might sound strange to some, but Woolaver Clearsmiles Orthodontics has honestly been 25 years in the making, and if you wait 25 years to do something, you do it right. I have been in orthodontic offices all across the United States and Canada; ours is the best I have seen yet. I am very proud of Clearsmiles.

So now I have fun at my new office, and we live here in Ahwatukee. My kids go to school here. We have lots of great friends, and we throw the best Halloween party around! Maya and Ben get most of my free time now, but I still like to get out for a run or bike in the desert, play golf, tennis, or beach volleyball.

That’s a little bit about who I am. Hope to see you soon so I can get to know you, too.

Treatment Philosophy

There are a lot of different ways to do orthodontic treatment. There are different kinds of brackets and hundreds of “appliances” to move teeth, position jaws, hold tongues – whatever you can think of. My treatment philosophy comes from my experience as a patient, a doctor, and a father.

An orthodontist in our neighborhood spent the last 8 years telling his patients that Invisalign® didn’t work, or they were simply not candidates for it. Now that I am promoting its benefits and advertising my experience with it, he has started doing Invisalign® treatment, too. Is he now recommending Invisalign®, a system he said didn’t work, as the best option for the patient? Or, is it a business decision? Knowledge is knowing the difference between right and wrong; integrity is making the proper choice.


Conduct our business with the highest ethical standards; never compromise our integrity.


I was born with a cleft lip and palate. I had a seriously jacked up grill. I had braces for 10 years, facemask headgear, three expanders, a huge plastic wad called a positioner, regular retainers and bonded retainers. In the end I got a nice smile, but it was a pretty tough experience.


Make sure my patients have a shorter orthodontic experience than I did.


I have seen patients transfer to my office from all across the US, and even from around the world. I generally see way more teeth extracted than I would have. It is also common to see multiple appliances on many of these patients, and the majority were in treatment for 3 years, some more than 5 or 6 years. I believe many of these appliances actually created as many problems as they fixed… I have seen “occlusal headgears” create underbites that were not there previously, I have seen “lip bumpers” impact lower 2nd molars, I have seen “TAD’s” create openbites.


Treat the patient, not just the teeth. Don’t put an appliance in someone that I wouldn’t put in my own child. Keep it simple… orthodontics is technical, but it doesn’t have to be complicated and cumbersome for the patient. Make the orthodontic experience as easy as possible.


There have been 2 products that have technically revolutionized orthodontics in the past 10 years: Invisalign® and self-ligating brackets. In my opinion, most of the other gadgets orthodontists use are not worth it. Most orthodontists put the Invisalign® sticker on their window, but very few of us have dedicated our practices to implementing its use. I used Invisalign® on my wife, my brother, my friends. I believe in its benefits, and I have educated myself to make it work. Self-ligating brackets have little trap doors that eliminate the need for elastic or wire ties around the braces. It doesn’t sound like much, but these brackets are absolutely redefining orthodontic treatment options. Less expanders, less extractions, fuller, more attractive smiles, quicker, healthier treatment…I can go on and on. Not only do I use these brackets exclusively, I only use the clear ones. Again, what would I put on my friends and family? Only the best brackets available.


Invisalign® or the most advanced clear braces (that’s why we’re Clearsmiles!), less extractions, no headgears, no railroad tracks.


I see too many treatment recommendations given to patients based as much on financial benefit to the doctor as treatment benefit to the patient. I think there are way too many 7, 8 and 9 year olds walking around our neighborhood with braces on. Some young kids can benefit from early treatment, and if there is a reason I will discuss it with the parents. But for the most part, it isn’t necessary, it’s a choice. You won’t see my kids in braces before 10 years old unless something crazy is going on, and you won’t see my clinic teeming with little kids. Whether the parents or patients understand it or not, and most do not, they are getting “two phase” treatment. It’s longer and more expensive. Orthodontic practice management gurus recommend 2-phase treatment to increase revenue and “lock” the kids into your office early… nice.

We do not sell treatment. We offer honest recommendations for your consideration.


2001 – F.R.C.D.(C), Fellowship in Orthodontics
2001 – M.Sc., University of Manitoba
1996 – D.D.S., University of Alberta
1994 – B.Sc., University of Alberta

Dr. Chris Woolaver is a member of the following associations:

American Association of Orthodontists
American Dental Association
Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists
Arizona Dental Association