Progress over perfection

Dr. Tim Bandeen shows how his aligner workflow allows him to use treatment-planning systems that bring outstanding results.

Tim Bandeen, DDS, MS

In the modern world, digital treatment planning has been embraced for creating aligners. There is an immense, unmet potential in using those same digital workflow technologies for treatment with braces.

Pre-dating aligners, a small team of our colleagues worked on digital treatment processes to improve orthodontic treatment using braces. Those initial processes took some interesting twists through various professional conflicts, dramatic ownership questions, and intense legal battles, resulting in what we perceived as an aligner revolution. Aligner technologies flourished while braces seemed left behind; however, in the background, efforts to bring braces into dentistry’s digital workflow continued.

Previously, when teeth started moving in unintended ways, we had to react to the failings of our “clinical judgment” by repositioning brackets and bending wires. For our practice, that is a fable from a different era. We know that, just as ships move people, braces move teeth. Steer a ship without a compass or navigation system, and see what happens. The same is true for braces. It’s sad how so much time, money, and effort is spent on trying to compensate for poorly placed braces rather than focusing on having the braces in the right spot in the first place.

We have dedicated our professional efforts to master digital treatment with braces. When using Ormco™ Digital Bonding (ODB), we use Ormco’s Spark Approver™ software for both aligners and braces. We can see the desired treatment goals and then work backward to reverse-engineer the placement of our braces. Teeth straightening should be on autopilot from having been planned well so that we can focus on the essential parts of treatment, such as improving smile arc, addressing impacted canines, correcting anterior-posterior occlusal discrepancies, etc. The statement, “This is only going to take 12 months,” is laughable without good planning. Orthodontists have been acting as though we’ve been doing our best while ignoring relevant systems that have been available for years.

Along the road to acceptance of any technology is a pile of excuses for waiting. Our practice started using Ormco’s Insignia for orthodontic digital workflows for braces in 2008 as our standard of care 15 years ago! Ormco’s release of ODB in September 2023 addressed many topics that kept our colleagues on the sidelines.

One of our core values in our practice is “Progress Over Perfection.” Waiting for a perfect system would mean waiting forever. We asked ourselves if moving to a digital workflow for braces would allow us to be better. Looking back on the last 15 years, the answer is yes. We chose not to settle for failing to develop while the world passed us by. Every morning, I walk past a sign in my house that reads, “Do not be afraid of change. Be afraid of not changing.” It’s time to step into the processes that have been available for years.

Those processes are better than ever and are improving daily.


Dr. Tim Bandeen

Besides his aligner workflow, Dr. Bandeen also has treated patients with sleep-breathing disorders. Read more about his practice here:

Tim Bandeen, DDS, MS, and his wife, Emily Bandeen, DDS, work together at their multi-location orthodontic practice in Southwest Michigan. Passionate about orthodontic digital treatment planning, they have provided more care for Ormco’s Insignia Custom Smile Design process than any other practice worldwide and now use Ormco Digital Bonding as their standard of care. When not caring for orthodontic patients, they enjoy spending time with their four children and four dogs.

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