To meet Dr. Michael G. Willes (pronounced “Willis”) is to meet someone who truly loves what he does: both the daily challenge of achieving excellence in orthodontics, and the opportunity to interact with exceptional people — his patients and staff — each day. In all aspects of his life, Dr. Willes is a perfectionist who strives to excel in everything he undertakes.
A Southern California native, Dr. Willes established his practice in Carlsbad in 1996, and can’t imagine living anywhere else or doing anything else for a career. His journey here included growing up in Fullerton, where he played high-school football and baseball, and was named football league MVP his senior year.
He went on to play baseball at Brigham Young University, where he was a two-time All-American and led the nation in home runs in 1987 and 1988. In addition to baseball, Dr. Willes took two years off during his undergraduate studies to serve an LDS mission to Paris, France.
After graduating with a pre-dental zoology major and French minor, Dr. Willes continued his education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry where he was on the dean’s list, had research published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, and graduated with honors. Dr. Willes received his orthodontic specialty training at UCLA. While there, he put braces on himself to know what it felt like since he had never needed them as a kid: He wanted to be sure he understood what his patients would be experiencing.
Always driven to be the best he can be, Dr. Willes continues to study the latest research and take advantage of continuing education opportunities in order to remain at the top of his field.
Professional Affiliations and Awards
Dr. Willes has earned the prestigious designation of lifetime Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics. He is also an active member of the American Association of Orthodontists, the Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists, and the American and California Dental Associations. Dr. Willes is past president of the San Diego Academy of Orthodontists. As a dental student, he was named to the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Dental Honor Society all four years.
Outside the Office
In his spare time, Dr. Willes enjoys spending time with his wife, four children and their families, as well as surfing, wakeboarding, riding his motorcycle, running (including three marathons), camping, playing rhythm guitar in a rock band, shaping his own surfboards, and reading. His wife Heidi also appreciates his ability to repair just about anything and his willingness to tackle all her “honey-do” requests when he’s not taking care of patients.