When we first find out we are becoming a parent, we deep dive into all the baby books. Somewhere around age 1, though, we start to devote less time to learning the week-by-week development of our child.
But when it comes to oral health, ages 1-6 is when you should be paying close attention. This is when functional and aesthetic signs begin to show that your child may need orthodontic treatment. And this is not something your primary dentist typically corrects.
While we don't recommend seeing an orthodontist prior to age 7 (unless absolutely necessary due to development issues), we do recommend knowing and learning from one ... or in our case, two – Dr. Bill Hatcher and Dr. Scott Frey.
The "Learn As They Grow" phase is geared towards:
Educating parents about what to expect around oral health during the year
Developing a healthy relationship between your child and their future orthodontist
During this phase of the program, you will:
Receive an annual "what to expect this year" educational newsletter based on your child's age (received in their birth month)
Receive a free digital goodie for your child in the same email
Having fun while keeping an eye on what's developing
This phase of the Smile Squad program is the 'observation' phase – designed to track developmental changes in your child's bite, alignment and function.
At this stage, you and your child will have a more hands-on experience with our team – receiving no-cost orthodontic screenings every 6-12 months.
These 100% Free Screenings include:
• Oral exam
• Orthodontic x-rays and radiographs
• Developmental progress conversation with family
• No impact to finances or insurance
At each visit, your child will earn free gifts and swag from the team at Hatcher & Frey Orthodontics.
Note: Less than 15% of early orthodontic screenings result in needing immediate or preventative treatment. However, should we see an orthodontic issue, our team will provide recommendations on the best way (and best time) to treat it.
Why is it important for children to have their first orthodontic screening by age 7?
By this age, a child will have a mix of baby and permanent teeth and our orthodontists
will be able to recognize orthodontic issues in early or progressed stages – and, if necessary,
treat those issues effectively before they turn into bigger, more expensive issues.
Friendly to Finances
Our Observation Program includes complimentary 3D scans and 1:1 screening every 6-9 months; any issues revealed early allow you to plan financially for future treatment
Each screening's findings are shared with your child's primary care dentist to ensure all providers are up to date on any oral health challenges your child may need to overcome
Knowledge is Power
You'll get growth + development updates related to your child's oral health, plus educational materials on oral health, sports safety, healthy-teeth building foods and more!
Rave Reviews from Parents
"I scheduled a consult after seeing photos your cases with early development using Invisalign. I also felt orthodontics should start early, not late and I wanted the best for my 5 year old twins. I was blown away with your clinical skills, understanding of sleep apnea in children, updated technology and ability to do digital scans instead of impressions – totally showing your education and expertise. My biggest compliment is how well you treated our family, educated us, and gave us a sound treatment plan."
— Shannon B., mother of 5-year old twins
Here's just a few reasons why we believe we're the right fit for your family:
We have over 300 five-star Google Reviews...and counting. We have the high quantity of 5-star ratings across all orthodontic practices in Hampton Roads –along with an average rating of 4.9-5 stars on a consistent basis.
We are the most clinically confident, and clinically successful, using Invisalign First, as well as other orthodontic treatment modalities when it comes to treating early pediatric cases* with orthodontics in the Eastern region. (*Early pediatric cases related to orthodontic treatment under age 12.)
We're a Top 1% VIP Diamond+ Invisalign provider – meaning we're awarded the highest recognition from the internationally beloved brand; Dr. Frey is an Invisalign Faculty member and trains/lectures on Invisalign best practices to dental professionals across the world.
The Smile Squad program is a two phase program, based on the age of the child.
Phase 1 of the Smile Squad Program is for parents of children ages 1-6 years old. This phase of the program helps parents understand their child's oral development and serve as an oral health resource in their local community. All communications will coincide with child's birthday, and be relevant to the age of the child.
Phase 2 of the Smile Squad Program is for children ages 7 - 10 years old. This 'observation phase' of the program monitors growth and development of the child's teeth, jaws and function – and does not imply that children will need orthodontic treatment.
What will I learn at screenings?
Our early screenings occur to monitor your child's growth and development related to oral health, and give parents peace of mind by equipping them with all the facts related to their child's progress. The #1 question we will answer at screenings: Is there an orthodontic problem at this time, or is one developing?
When can I get started?
Right away! Our Smile Squad Program enrolls year round and there is never a waiting list. If your child is age 6 or under, an early screening is not necessary at this time – but enrollment is still necessary to receive early communications about the development of your child's oral health. If your child is 7 or older, please select 'Schedule a Free Early Screening' to move straight into the observation phase of the program.
Do I need a referral?
You do not need a referral to be seen by our practice. We aim to provide the highest quality partnership with your existing providers, and you always have the choice of which orthodontic practice you want to work with. All scans and findings will be shared with your child's primary dental provider at no cost to you.
How much does it cost?
Our Smile Squad Program is zero-cost to patients and their families. Program enrollment varies in duration based on age, growth and development of child. However long it is, all screenings and scans are 100% complimentary for the duration of the observation phase. No referrals necessary.
Why can't my dentist do this?
Simply put, orthodontists look at teeth differently than your dentist does. While your dentist is typically trained on the hygiene and quality aspects of oral health –orthodontists specialize in your alignment, bite and jaw functionality and development. As a partner to your primary dentist , we can ensure the highest quality care for your child.
What are early screenings like?
At each observation screening, you can expect a complimentary 3D scan and doctor's exam, typically every 6-9 months. You will also receive educational material to review based on your child's growth and development needs. At your initial early screening visit, your child will receive a complimentary take-home gift to welcome them into the Phase 2 of the Smile Squad Program. Your child can also earn points and prizes as they complete follow-up visits.
What if you find an issue during an orthodontic screening?
Should one of our screenings reveal a need for orthodontic intervention , treatment and financial options would be discussed with you at that time. Less than 15% of early screening cases will require early or immediate treatment.
Meet Your Doctors
Hatcher & Frey Orthodontics is a locally owned and operated Orthodontic practice with five locations in Southside Hampton Roads. We have been serving the #757 community since 1998 and continue to invest in and grow with our local community.
Dr. William Hatcher
Dr. Bill Hatcher graduated from Kansas State University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. After graduation, he taught high school biology and chemistry for four years. He also coached football, basketball and tennis. During this time, he also served in the United States Army Reserves. Deciding that a career change was in order, he graduated in 1994 from the Medical College of Virginia, Magna Cum Laude, with his dental degree. Dr. Bill Hatcher then completed two additional years of specialty training in orthodontics at the University of Detroit Mercy where he earned a Certificate in Orthodontics and a Master of Science degree.
Dr. Scott Frey
Dr. Scott Frey attended Washington University in St. Louis, majoring in Chemistry, before early admittance to the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco. He graduated in the top of his class and was inducted into the Tau Kappa Omega dental honor society.
Dr. Frey obtained his post-doctoral master’s degree and completed his certification in orthodontics at the University of Colorado. He is board certified in orthodontics, a published scientific author, and an international authority and lecturer on Invisalign® and esthetic orthodontics.