The Butterfly System

Our Own Signature Braces


Kalamazoo Orthodontics is unique in that we feature our own distinctive, signature line of braces, the Butterfly System™ that was designed and created by Dr. Bowman. In 1997, the President of American Orthodontics, Inc. (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) invited Dr. Bowman to develop a treatment system featuring his own concepts that included a new, low profile orthodontic bracket to enhance orthodontic treatment outcomes while improving both esthetics and comfort. Interestingly enough, Dr. Bowman had already prepared for the possibility of designing his own prescription and had been busy working on development concepts over the years in anticipation. 


The Butterfly System™ brackets feature a very low profile; yet also include a vertical slot fabricated into the brace for the addition of a variety of auxiliaries to enhance biomechanical versatility. The 16% reduction in profile dimension compared to typical pre-adjusted brackets improves their comfort because there is less of the brace to protrude from the surface of each tooth. As a result, they are much less obtrusive and potentially irritating than the bulkier, so-called “self-ligation” braces. In contrast to those larger braces, the Butterfly System™ emphasizes the “personalization” of a patient’s brace experience with a choice of multiple “colors” to tie in the wires! KO offers patients the choice of over 20+ different colors that can be mixed and matched to reflect school colors, sports teams, holidays, etc. Research from Ohio State University in 2010 reported that patients from 9-17 years of age still prefer the aesthetics of this style of orthodontic bracket where patients select the “colors,” compared to other brace alternatives.* In addition, the majority of orthodontists in the U.S. also prefer to use this style of orthodontic bracket (miniature twin pre-adjusted edgewise).


The vertical slot is an additional square hole through the Butterfly System brace, perpendicular to the normal “edgewise” slot (that is filled with the standard arch wire that runs from brace to brace). This added vertical slot permits the incorporation of a number of valuable and innovative options, including auxiliary devices that were also designed by Dr. Bowman (Compliance+ spring, U-turn Spring for rotations). More importantly, the “v-slot” allows for our braces to be manufactured without any obtrusive “hooks” found on most all other braces. Instead, we can add and remove hooks or T-pins to any brace whenever or wherever they might be needed. Not only does this increase the versatility of the Butterfly System™, but it also makes the braces more hygienic and comfortable; no hooks to accumulate food and plaque or to irritate the cheeks. The intent of the Butterfly System is to comfortably produce a natural smile, not overly widened.

Take a look through some of our photos, and click them to see them larger!


The Butterfly System™ was officially introduced at the Annual Session of the American Association of Orthodontists and the first articles on this unique concept were published in the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics and in the Journal of the Indian Orthodontic Society in 2003-2004. It has also been featured in interviews with Dr. Bowman in Kieferorthopadie Nachrichten (Germany) in 2009 and Orthodontic Practice US in 2011. The original concepts and theoretical basis for our system were described in American Good Practice in 2001. Since then, many orthodontists have embraced Butterfly System™ internationally and Dr. Bowman features this and many other concepts in lectures he has given worldwide. He discusses evidence-based concepts along with describing our signature Butterfly System™: aesthetic, colorful, and comfortable brackets; designed just for us.

*Orthodontic appliance preferences of children and adolescents. Walton, Fields, Johnston, Rosenstiel, Firestone, and Christensen. Am J Orthod Dentofac Orthop. 138 (6):698-699, 2010.