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Since 1975, a 40 Year Legacy

Dr. John here. It’s not often I can say that I’ve known someone my whole life, and Nancy and my Dad are the only Warford Orthodontics Team Members about whom I can.

Nancy started working at Warford Orthodontics when I was 7 months old and this month will pass the 40 year mark with our practice.

When someone dedicates their life to a vocation like both Nancy and Dr. Warford (he’s 2 years ahead of her, starting in 1973) I think it’s something worth honoring. I asked she and Dad to give me some recollections to share with all the friends of WO.

Dr. Warford:

Nancy was the second or third employee ever hired at Warford Orthodontics. She was Nancy Hunt and came fresh out of school. She had a great job interview, was a little shy, but where she really shined was in her dexterity skills. In those days assistants had to bend wire figures with ortho wire and a “bird beak” pliers and she was the fastest and best one that ever did the exam! I think those skills of speed and accuracy hold to this day!

In those days she was single and heard there were cute guys playing softball, so she was hanging around the softball diamonds and met Mark Berger. Even though she was in love, she could still concentrate on her ortho assisting.

She has seen it all: from bands to brackets to Invisalign, headgear: high pull to cervical pull, Frankel Appliances, orthopedic corrector appliances, first bicuspid extraction treatment, serial extraction, sagittal appliances, fixed expanders, to 40 years of treating all Patients!!

It was a pleasure to have her part of the team all these years. Her loyalty has been greatly appreciated!


And I thought it was special that Nancy hand wrote hers. Nancy:

I decided to apply to the dental assisting program in Wahpeton when I was a senior in high school. I didn’t know if I would work in a general dental office or a specialty office, I just knew I wanted to work in the dental field and hopefully get a job in Bismarck.

In April of 1975 I got one of the best phone calls I had ever gotten in my life, Dr Warford was calling to offer me the job that I had interviewed for two weeks earlier. I had been very nervous about it because at the interview I had to bend some wires and I had thought I had done a terrible job of it. Dr. Warford told me I had been the best and I could start when school finished the next month. I accepted the job and it was one of the best decisions I had made.

There have been a lot of changes in orthodontics in the last 40 years! One of the biggest in my mind has been the change from primarily extraction treatment to make room for the rest of the teeth to trying non-extraction whenever possible. I don’t remember the last time a Patient needed extractions to make room.

Switching from full metal bands to glued on brackets was also a major change. With bands it would take 3 hours over two appointments to place them all, while brackets are a lot easier for the Patient and can be placed in well under half the time. In the past few years we’ve been doing more Invisalign and that’s been great for the Patients!

The biggest transition for me on a personal level was when Dr. John took over the practice. After working with Dr. Warford for 30 years, I was nervous about working for someone else who would likely have minor differences in the way they did things. In the beginning of the transition I had to remind Dr. John a few times “hard to teach an old dog new tricks!” I think the transition went very well and found there wasn’t anything to be nervous about.

It has been great transforming the smiles of so many Patients throughout the years and seeing their excitement at the end of treatment. It has also been fun working on the kids of former Patients which I have done quite a bit in the last 40 years.

I have worked with a lot of great people over the years. There have been many times I’ve thanked my lucky stars that Dr. Warford had an opening in his practice when I was looking for a job. I have never regretted my decision to work here. Both Doctors have been great to work for and I love orthodontics!

Orthodontics is the oldest specialty in dentistry and has changed significantly in the past 40 years.  It makes me wonder about how technology will change the next 40. The efficiency, speed of treatment, precision, Patient comfort and esthetics of the appliances are truly revolutionary compared to how it was done back then. In my residency, I learned many ways of treating Patients and one of which was ” ’70’s Style” (which really taught me how to bend wire) giving me an appreciation for how Dad and Nancy practiced back then.

Nancy has played a special part in the history of Warford Orthodontics and has helped transform the lives of thousands of Patients in her career, that’s a legacy I know she is proud of. I’m thankful to have known her and worked closely with her now for the past 12 years and wish many more years in our office!