Cavanaugh and Nondorf: Family Ties

Cavanaugh and Nondorf: Family Ties
By: Mandy Haack Last Updated: January 14, 2019

Dr. Robert Cavanaugh and Dr. Matthew Nondorf are names that many recognize because they correlate with the roots of orthodontists in the city of Valparaiso. But that’s no accident, and is a result of two childhood friends following family legacies and reconnecting back in the Northwest Indiana region after college.

The original seed for Robert’s interest in orthodontics was the influence of his father, a renowned dentist in the region. During his second year in college, Cavanaugh was able to work at his father’s office more in-depth, working hands-on with patients.

“For me, clearly, my dad is what started my interest through summer jobs and making retainers in college. My grandfather was also a general dentist, so it was always in the family,” Cavanaugh said. “My father was a pivotal influence for me.”

In 2001, Cavanaugh decided after many years of traveling around the region that it was time to open his very own office in Valparaiso simply named: Cavanaugh.

“Matt’s dad and mine were friends for many years, as they were both dentists in town. That’s how I met Matt,” Cavanaugh explained on his relationship with Nondorf. “He came back to Valparaiso after a while to practice general dentistry with his father before going back into orthodontistics in 2009.”

In 2009, Matt joined the practice and Cavanaugh and Nondorf was born.

“Growing up in Valpo, that’s what you thought of [Cavanaugh] when you thought of orthodontics. The name alone already had a great reputation in the area,” Nondorf said.

Following the same path as Cavanaugh, Nondorf started working at his dad’s office in high school, breaking down instruments and developing X-rays.

“You’ll see that a lot, where there are a lot of family members involved in dentistry. They have that unique perspective about what the job is actually all about,” Nondorf said.

“I like to tell people I’ve been doing dentistry for over 20 years, which is true to some degree,” Nondorf joked. “Many times you don't quite know what your parents do until you get in there and start doing it. That helped develop a greater appreciation for taking care of people and just the environment in dentistry.”

Nondorf also derived from a family heavily influenced by the practice, as his wife, father, and sister all pursued careers in dentistry. He believes that family is an important concept in his personal life, but also within the practice.

“We treat people like you would want your family members to be treated,” Nondorf said. “Parents always want to know my opinion, or if there are multiple choices in treatment. I tell them what I would recommend for my son or daughter.”

“I just recently treated someone's son who I went to high school with just the other day,” Nondorf said.

Growing up in Valpo both Cavanaugh and Nondorf had ties to friends who returned to the region to do dentistry, which in turn has created a strong rapport.

“We feel like we can provide good, quality care while also having strong relationships not only with the dentists that are in the family but also local dentists in the community,” Cavanaugh said.

It’s clear that Cavanaugh and Nondorf believe that their family dentistry-related roots have much to do with their high-quality performance and comfortable family-like atmosphere. For more information, please visit