Practice Philosophy

Orthodontics is very much an art as well as a science. The styles of treatment varying from one orthodontist to another can be very confusing. Oftentimes there is no "right" answer because a successful orthodontic outcome depends on the skill of a practitioner utilizing a particular method tailored to an individual patient's needs. I'll try to break this down into what I consider are the 3 major areas to consider when deciding on an orthodontist and an orthodontic treatment plan: Art, Experience and Science.


Smiles are not one size fits all. David Letterman's smile looks good on him but Beyonce or Julia Roberts have smiles that light up the screen in a different way. The best smile must take into account what nature gives us. As an orthodontist I have to consider aging, gender, ethnicity, bone structure, and even how much the upper lip curls during a hearty laugh. Orthodontics must be personalized. Excellent orthodontic diagnostic records and listening to the patient are key elements of excellent treatment.


I have over 30 years of experience as a dentist. After dental school I attended an intensive one-year hospital General Practice Residency to gain a depth of experience in all areas of dentistry including pediatrics, special needs patients and operating room work. I then practiced as a general dentist with an emphasis in surgery for 10 years. My orthodontic residency at Ohio State was a 3-year Masters level program. Orthodontics is my specialty. If considering orthodontics by a general dentist, please realize that orthodontics will be one skill amongst many and will have been learned at a weekend seminar. Treating craniofacial patients collaboratively as part of the Children’s Hospital Colorado staff greatly expands my contacts in the medical community and sharpens my skills. Achieving certification by the American Board of Orthodontics is something that only about 1/3 of orthodontists achieve and is available only to dentists who have completed an ADA approved residency program.

The Science of Orthodontic Controversy:

Which brings us to the last topic: the scientific basis of orthodontics. I rely heavily on art and experience but I consider the bedrock of my orthodontic practice to be what is called evidence based care. All healthcare exhibits some level of uncertainty but if I rely on what the best and brightest tell us in the scientific literature then we should be one step ahead toward a great outcome.

Who really needs orthodontic treatment?

This is a confusing area and is the basis of my research and thesis at Ohio State. I use a set of criteria called the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need to help make this decision. It takes into account not only the aesthetics of the smile but also health issues such as potential for excessive wear, gum disease, jaw joint problems and trauma. This objective measurement of need is what we will accomplish and discuss at the evaluation appointment.

What is growth modification?

Most people associate orthodontics with crooked teeth. However, a disharmony between the sizes of the jaws is a common problem. If the lower jaw is too short for the upper jaw, then the top teeth stick out; if the lower jaw is too large, then an underbite results. A great goal of the orthodontic profession is to influence these undesirable growth patterns in a favorable way. There is a narrow window of opportunity when growth modification is most achievable which is why early orthodontic evaluation is important to plan treatment.

When is early treatment indicated? (Phase 1)

There are strong opinions both ways in the orthodontic community. The strongest evidence I have seen comes from the University of North Carolina and the University of Florida. Their rigorous studies showed that early orthodontic treatment, (ages 6 to 11), results in a noticeably improved smile at that age but at the risk of more appointments, more time away from school, greater cost and the orthodontic outcome at age 15 is not significantly better when compared with patients who went through a single later phase of treatment. In my practice I strive to treat patients like my own children. This means as often as possible, treatment in a single phase starting at about the time the last baby teeth are lost. The exceptions when I will recommend early treatment are:

  1. crossbites that may damage the teeth or cause growth problems;

  2. permanent tooth eruption problems; and

  3. managing the extra space from the baby molars to help align moderately crowded anterior teeth.

It is normal for children to go through an "ugly duckling" stage as they lose baby teeth and gain permanent teeth. If I recommend early treatment, I want the parents to be confident that the decision is based on achievable objectives and is not a convenience or economics issue.

Extractions: This is another area of strong opinions and controversy. I will make every effort to avoid the extraction of permanent teeth. However, extractions are often the right thing to do depending on objectives. The avoidance of extraction of teeth at all costs is often inappropriately labeled "conservative treatment". In fact, the extraction of teeth may be the most conservative treatment if your goals include protecting the gum tissue from recession, a stable end result and teeth that don't stick out past the lips. The Ortho News & Articles page covers this topic more in depth.

If I could sum up my treatment philosophy in one line it would be:

Do the right thing at the right time for the greatest benefit with the least cost and risk.

Montebello Drive West
2575 Montebello Drive West,
Suite 101, Colorado Springs, CO 80918
Tel: (719) 268-7138
Fax: (719) 599-5107
Woodland Park
791 W Kelley's Rd,
Woodland Park, CO 80863
Tel: (719) 687-6129
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Bentele Orthodontics
What our patients say...

We went to an evaluation at an orthodontist before this one and the price seemed kind of high so then I came to an evaluation here & not only was the price lower but immediately we felt very comfortable and loved the atmosphere of the office. The staff is wonderful, always on time & Dr. Bentele is a great Dr. - very knowledgeable, friendly & with excellent communication. I would recommend this practice to everyone!

We highly recommend Dr. Bentele and his practice. He is honest, friendly, skilled & timely - you name it. He and his staff are wonderful! Angela at the front desk is especially kind and helpful. Best of all - Dr. Bentele creates a wonderful outcome of beautiful teeth. I've experienced two other orthodontists with other children and Dr. Bentele definitely outshines all - in every way - even in cost! I can't speak highly enough about Bentele Orthodontics!

This office is extremely thorough in explaining all aspects of orthodontics from finances to procedures. I'm very confident in this office.

Dr. Bentele makes the patient feel comfortable with his skill and calm confidence. He's honest about the treatment needed and tries to keep the patient informed of the treatment.

Dr. Bentele is our orthodontist for our two children. He provided clear treatment plans with a practical approach. Dr. Bentele does all of the banding and bonding himself and the office appointments are appropriately scheduled. Our children get in and out quickly and the office is never overscheduled, resulting in short waits and unhurried treatment. We're very satisfied and would recommend our friends to see Dr. Bentele!

Dr. Bentele and all staff have been very professional and the cost was reasonable. The approach of not having braces on longer than necessary is one area where I have seen other children suffer (children who went to other orthodontists). The way Dr. Bentele explains what he is doing and why has been good for my daughter to learn the importance of her treatment. I appreciate Dr. Bentele's patience with us as we experienced a difficult financial time during the beginning of our process.