Is there such a thing as a “best orthodontist” and how can you tell?

mom dad and son looking at a laptop

Finding the right orthodontist for you or your family can mean the difference between the perfect smile and lackluster results. Considering the time and money that go into orthodontic treatment, your family deserves to work with the best. Salem, OR is home to many qualified orthodontists, but Dr. John McDonald’s experience, training, and reputation have set him apart in the eyes of our many satisfied patients.

As one of the few board-certified members of The American Board of Orthodontics in the Willamette Valley, Dr. John is committed to providing patients with the highest level of care.

Factors to Look for When Choosing the Best Orthodontist

If you live in or near Salem, OR, and are searching for an esteemed orthodontist, keep these tips in mind.


Orthodontists must complete an orthodontic specialty program following graduation from dental school. The advanced training can require an additional two or more years of specialized training. If you are looking for the best orthodontist for you and your family’s needs, it is important to look at the total amount of training an orthodontist undergoes beyond minimum requirements.

Dr. John’s medical training began at Oregon Health and Sciences University in 1988 after he attended Colorado College and Oregon State University. After earning his Doctorate of Dental Medicine at OHSU, Dr. McDonald completed one year of advanced dental training as an officer in the U.S. Army.

His military service brought him to Korea and Germany, where he led a large dental clinic. Dr. John’s civilian career began in his hometown of Salem and Portland, where he practiced general dentistry. He was accepted into the prestigious orthodontic program at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating, he joined his father (Dr. Terry McDonald) as a partner at McDonald Orthodontics until taking over the practice in 2009.

Dr. John is notably one of the few board-certified members of The American Board of Orthodontics in the Willamette Valley. He also holds memberships with:

  • American Dental Association
  • American Association of Orthodontics
  • Marion Polk Dental Society

Beyond his formal training and experience, Dr. John is an active guest speaker on orthodontics-related subjects. He is a consultant and advisor to the Orthodontic branch of the 3M Company’s Dental Care Division, the world’s largest manufacturer of orthodontic brackets and wires.

Years of Experience

There can be advantages to working with a younger dentist or orthodontist. Parents in their late 20s may relate to someone who shares the same generational experiences. The aim of dentistry is treatment, though, and the most skilled doctors in a subspecialty are the ones who have more years of experience. By working with an experienced orthodontist like Dr. John, new patients can benefit from his many years of experience and the thousands of unique cases he has seen and treated.

Treatments Performed

The number and type of treatments any given dentist performs can vary widely from dental practice to dental practice. If you are looking for the best orthodontist for your family, we recommend considering how many treatment options a candidate offers.

Dr. John offers:

  • Common Treatments: Common treatments allow our patients to smile with confidence by addressing overcrowding, uneven spacing, and missing teeth.
  • Surgical Orthodontics: Surgical orthodontics addresses severe cases of bad bites, jaw bone abnormalities, and malocclusions.
  • Dentofacial Orthopedics: Dentofacial orthopedics use headgear, expanders, and other appliances to address a child’s specific needs. These treatments may be used in conjunction with traditional braces to attain optimal results.
  • Clear Aligner Treatments: Clear aligners are discreet, removable orthodontic alternatives to traditional braces.

Customer Ratings and Feedback

Customer reviews are a great resource to learn about orthodontists. We love to let our patients tell our stories. Here are a few of our more recent reviews.

“This place is the BEST. Truly, they are fun and friendly and great at what they do. They are almost always right on time for appointments, and if you have a spur-of-the-moment need to come in, they can virtually always accommodate you that day.”

“Very nice staff and prompt!”

“I recommend Dr. John’s office for a lot of reasons. Dr. John was always friendly, upfront, and honest. Great place for kids and adults.”

Contact an Esteemed and Experienced Orthodontist in Salem, OR

If you are looking for a trusted family orthodontist, we welcome you to learn what our patients already know. To work with one of the best orthodontists in the region, please contact our office online or call (503) 585-5400.