Dr. Harold A. Eskew, 70, an orthodontist who practiced in the Washington area for many years, died Dec. 17 at the Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown, Md., of head injuries he sustained in a fall that day at his home in Hancock, Md.

Dr. Eskew, who also maintained a residence in Washington, was a past chairman of the board of managers of the Silver Spring YMCA and a past president of the Silver Spring Rotary Club. At one time he raised thoroughbred race horses at his farm in Hancock.

A native of Lebanon, Tenn., he graduated from Vanderbilt University and earned his dental degree at the University of Louisville. He served in the Navy in World War II. He later took special training in orthodontics at the Washington University school of dentistry in St. Louis.

Dr. Eskew moved to the Washington area in 1949 as the first dental director of the Group Health Association. He opened a private practice in orthodontics in Silver Spring in 1954 and later had offices in Bethesda and Olney. He continued these practices until 1982. Since then, he had kept up a small practice in Hancock.

Dr. Eskew taught at the dental schools of the University of Louisville, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of North Carolina and Howard University. He was certified as a specialist by the American Board of Orthodontists.

Survivors include his wife, Lorraine, of Washington and Hancock; two children, Jane Blong of Bethesda, and Carter Eskew of Markham, Va.; one sister, Margaret Bolton of Cleveland, Tenn., and two grandchildren.