Innovative Orthodontics

“Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it.” – Sir Henry Royce

What does it mean to be innovative in orthodontics? Is “innovate” simply the adoption of the latest in technologies and concepts already available in our orthodontic marketplace? Actually, innovation is defined as: “to make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, technology, or products.” By that definition, then Kalamazoo Orthodontics and Dr. Jay Bowman are unique as we have created, designed, and introduced a number of new concepts, devices, and techniques for over more than three decades. In other words, different types of issues or problems in clinical practice were identified by KO.

Then, Dr. Bowman took the time to look for solutions to benefit our patients and often he created them for us. Not only were these things created at Kalamazoo Orthodontics, but also done so with accompanying published articles, research, peer-review, and have formed the basis of Dr. Bowman’s lectures, teaching, and certainly are featured in our daily practice. If you would like a list of reference articles describing our innovations, please refer to our KO Library of Resources.


“You have always been so innovative, Dr. Bowman! That is what makes you a World-Class Orthodontist! Kudos!” – Dr. Catherine Uyco Pike.

The Butterfly System

Our innovative orthodontic brace system was introduced by American Orthodontics and Dr. Jay Bowman at the American Association of Orthodontists Annual Session in 2000. KO is unique in that very few orthodontists have ever been asked to design their own braces and associated systems to accompany them.

20 years of clinical success, multiple research studies, and the use of these braces in many other parts of the world have helped to refine our concepts.  Interestingly enough, Dr. Bowman passed American Board of Orthodontics certification and also the clinical treatment requirements for the Eastern Component of the Angle Society of Orthodontists using our Butterfly System. In addition, Dr. Bowman has taught orthodontics demonstrating not only the Butterfly braces, but also featuring other innovations that we have developed. Learn more about the Butterfly System.

INNOVATIVe Invisalign Clear Aligners

When clear aligner treatments were introduced in 1999, Dr. Bowman was one of the first certified in the State to provide Invisalign.  Consequently, we have had more than two decades of experience.  It only took 4 years until Dr. Bowman invented the popular Aligner Chewies to help improve the initial fit of each new aligner tray.  He also designed Retainer Retrievers to assist in removing the tight-fitting plastic devices.  Later, after 5 years of development, Hu-Friedy introduced the first 4 of Dr. Bowman’s Clear Collection instruments for individualizing, customizing, and enhancing aligners to improve their predictability.  An additional 10 instruments for the collection will be introduced by the HuFriedyGroup in 2021.  Learn more about Innovative Invisalign.

Class II Combination Therapy: Distalization & Fixed Functionals

Well over 30% of patients that present for orthodontic treatment have more than just teeth to straighten as there is often a jaw discrepancy. Folks with Class II bites will typically have an upper jaw ahead of the lower in some configuration.  Treatments have traditionally involved such devices as orthodontic elastics, headgear, or plastic or metal mouthpieces of a variety of types. Early in practice, Dr. Bowman uniquely began combining the concepts of upper dental “distalization” with subsequent fixed “functional” devices, creating Class II Combination Therapy. After introducing this intriguing concept in an article in a local dental society newsletter in 1995, it led directly to numerous publications, book chapters, university research, and lectures.

In 1996, Kalamazoo Orthodontics was the first U.S. practice to adopt the Distal Jet, an appliance introduced by Italians, Dr. Aldo Carano and Mauro Testa. This appliance fit perfectly into the 

first stage of our Class II Combination treatments. Modifications quickly followed with design collaborations between Drs. Carano and Bowman, ultimately leading to the design of the Bowman Modification and Horseshoe Jet appliances.

Horseshoe Jet: Miniscrew Supported Distalization

The next step in the evolution of the Distal Jet was adding improved support for the mechanism including skeletal anchorage, specifically in the form of a true innovation in orthodontics: miniscrews. Drs. Bowman and Carano submitted their collaborative concepts for a U.S. Patent very early on and the patent was finally approved for the Horseshoe Jet – the first standalone skeletally anchored distalization device. From the first Distal Jets 25 years ago to the Horseshoe Jet, there has been research on these improvements examined in 17 Masters Theses from several universities along with many articles and book chapters.

Miniscrew Innovations

Kalamazoo Orthodontics was very early in the adoption of skeletal anchorage as Dr. Bowman’s mentors: Drs. Lysle Johnston, Buzz Behrents, and Tony Gianelly challenged him to get involved in the innovative uses of miniscrews. Finally, orthodontists have alternatives to improve the predictability of various types of orthodontic biomechanics. Dr. Bowman has placed over 6000 miniscrews of 17 different designs and has created a variety of auxiliaries, devices, and techniques. This has led to lectures, authoring articles and book chapters, along with a book:  Mini-implants in Orthodontics. Some challenging issues, such the closure of openbites, opening deep overbites, improving “gummy smiles,” and the correction of skeletal discrepancies and crowding have benefitted from our auxiliaries and concepts.

Modified TPA’s (Transpalatal Arches): Using Miniscrews for Various Bites

Dr. Bowman began introducing modifications of simple transpalatal arches (TPA), supported with miniscrew anchorage, and including the clinical results in early book chapters. These appliances are used to improve the predictability of an assortment of different biomechanics for the correction of a wide variety of malocclusions.

Class III & Crossbite Corrections

Although Class III bites frequently feature upper front teeth behind or in crossbite with the lower ones, it is also the fit of back teeth and a difference in upper and lower jaw growth that are also important in these often, difficult orthodontic problems. Most importantly, differential diagnosis at a young age can help make a substantial difference. Some of the time youngsters may actually be Pseudo-Class III, a situation that is quite amenable to simple early correction. After reviewing the research findings, Dr. Bowman created his Quick Fix device (featuring an auxiliary he calls the Side Swipe) for rapid and predictable early treatment of these types of bites. In contrast, some teenage patients may benefit from miniscrew-supported palatal expanders. Collaborators and Dr. Bowman introduced the Hybrid-Hyrax concept as one alternative.

Canine Obedience Training: Handling Impacted Teeth

Impacted canines (or cuspids) are a frequent issue, requiring orthodontic intervention after the “stuck” tooth is exposed or uncovered.  Dr. Bowman designed Monkey Hooks to link to attachments, bonded to the exposed tooth, and also created Kilroy Springs to direct the eruption of these troublesome teeth.  Kilroy Springs have subsequently been the subject of several university-based studies.

Other Concepts from KO

We have designed a number of other devices to improve orthodontic practice that have been produced by a variety of companies. A few of these include the WYRED cheek expander for bracket bonding, Duralight retention material, stabilization stand for Dentronix plier racks, tooth positioner/micropulsation combination, angled photography retractors, flexible intraoral arch measuring gauge, Safe Vu light filter, DoubleUp, Bowman Consolidator Inman Aligner, Axis Orthodontic Adhesive Removal Set, Molar Jack, Quadra-Z pliers, The Butterfly System, Bowman Mod. Jet, Horseshoe Jet, Quick Fix, Kilroy Springs, Monkey Hooks, HuFriedyGroup Clear Collection, Ulysses Spring, TAD Bite Opener, Propeller Arm, PowerArm, U-turn spring, Compliance+ spring, etc.

Concepts & Controversies in Orthodontics

Dr. Bowman began research and lectures on controversial subjects in orthodontics beginning in the 1990’s. This led to the Cover Story on the Journal of the American Dental Association, a lecture at the 100th Annual Session of the American Association of Orthodontics, and the Angle Research Prize for the best paper for The Angle Orthodontist.