Dr. Ruth K. Kawakami received her Doctor or Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the University of Southern California School of Dentistry in 1990. Upon graduation she practiced general dentistry for two years, with her father and brother in Santa Ana. Dr. Kawakami returned to USC in 1992 to complete the 3-year dual degree orthodontic program where she received her specialty certificate in Orthodontics and a Masters of Science (MS) degree in Craniofacial Biology. She has been practicing in San Pedro since July 1997. She is a member of the American Dental Association, California Dental Association and the Harbor Dental Society.
In March 2008, Dr. Kawakami became a diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics and maintains the non-time-limited certificate. She also is a member of the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Orthodontics, Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists (PCSO) and the Edward H. Angle Society of Orthodontists. Dr. Kawakami has been an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Graduate Orthodontic Department at USC since November 2015. She has also served as membership chairman of the USC Orthodontic Alumni Association Board and as President of the Alumni Board from 2005-07. Dr. Kawakami and her husband Tom live in Palos Verdes, where they have raised four children (Nicole, Conner, Erin and Justin), with the youngest two in high school. They enjoy skiing, hiking, fishing and being a spectator at various sporting events involving their children.