Steven Dotter, DMD, MAGD

Your family dentist in Lancaster, PA

Orthodontics for Children

Orthodontics, commonly known as braces, are used to enhance the aesthetic appearance of the smile and correct malocclusions such as crowded teeth, missing teeth, or misaligned teeth.

Dr. Dotter is an Associate member of the International Association for Orthodontics and a Certified Invisalign provider. Dr. Dotter believes that many orthodontic problems can be prevented early and has extensive training in developing a child's proper orthopedic growth. Children should have an orthodontic assessment before the age of five so that early treatment with functional appliances can reduce the time spent wearing braces and the need for future teeth extractions or surgeries. We are actively helping create beautiful faces and smiles for adults and children.

Broad Beautiful Smiles

Orthodontics for Children in Lancaster, PA

Mouth breathing can cause narrow arches and unattractive smiles. By using functional appliances while children are actively growing, we can help them achieve a broad, beautiful smile.

Healthy Jaw Joints

Many children with narrow jaws, deep overbites or receding lower jaws have unhealthy jaw joints which can cause:

  • Headaches
  • Neck Pain
  • Dizziness
  • Earaches or ringing in ears
  • Fainting
  • Clicking or locking jaw
  • Difficulty opening jaws

Early use of functional appliances can prevent or eliminate these problems.

To Breathe Freely

Mouth breathing can lead to orthodontic problems as well as other problems, such as lack of oxygen and poor sleep habits. This leaves children prone to daytime fatigue, an inability to concentrate in school and headaches.

An End To Ear Pain

Deep overbites and receding lower jaws may cause earaches, stuffiness or ringing in the ears. If infection has been ruled out, functional appliances can eliminate these symptoms effectively.

Facilitated Speech Development

Child Orthodontic Appliance in Lancaster, PA

Narrow jaws can confine the tongue and interfere with normal speech. Functional appliances help ensure proper growth and greatly enhance a child's ability to speak normally.

Your Support

Patients want the best for their children; straight profiles and beautiful smiles. By treating problems early, you save money and may prevent the need for more extensive future treatment.


Orthodontic Child Appliance

Functional appliances can help correct:

  • Bite Problems
  • Underdeveloped Jaws
  • Narrow Arches
  • Crowded Teeth
  • Deep Overbites
  • Jaw Joint Problems
  • Airway Problems
  • Thumbsucking Habits

And can often prevent:

  • Removal of adult teeth
  • Fang like tooth appearance
  • Lengthy use of braces
  • Speech difficulties
  • Crowding

To eliminate crowding:

Crowded teeth are caused by narrow arches. By developing the arches at an early age, we may prevent or eliminate the crowding of permanent teeth. Another advantage is that early treatment often eliminates the need to remove any adult teeth.

Orthodontic Child Photo

Let us meet your child's orthodontic needs as early as possible!

It is critical to correct any functional or jaw problems as soon as they are diagnosed.

Orthodontics Child Jaw

Two Phase Treatment

Phase One - Functional Appliances (Ages 5 to 12)

Early treatment should be initiated for:

  • Habits such as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking
  • A constricted airway due to swollen adenoids or tonsils
  • Mouth breathing or snoring problems
  • A bad bite
  • Bone problems (i.e. narrow or underdeveloped jaws)

Phase Two - Braces (Ages 12-14)

  • Teeth are straightened with braces
  • Braces usually take about 1.5 to 2 years
  • Teeth are whitened



Early Child Treatment

Facial Development

75% of 12-year-olds need orthodontic treatment. Yet 90% of your child's face has already developed! By guiding facial development earlier, through the use of functional appliances, 80% of the treatment can be corrected before the adult teeth are present!


Younger children between the ages of 8 and 11 are often much more cooperative than children of 12 to 14.

Shorter Treatment Time

Another advantage of early Phase Once treatment is that children will need to wear fixed braces on their adult teeth for less time.


Almost 50% of children who need orthodontic treatment due to a bad bite have underdeveloped lower jaws. Functional appliances can reposition the lower jaw forward, improve the child's profile and correct the bite problem - within 7 to 9 months! See what a difference functional appliances made to this young girl's profile. Treatment began at age 7 and the after photo was taken at age 11.

Orthodontic Child Jaw