Phillips Family Orthodontics


Nurturing Beautiful Young Smiles

At Phillips Family Orthodontics, we understand the importance of your child’s smile and oral health. Our family orthodontic team specializes in pediatric care, addressing dental alignment issues in young patients. We focus on proactively preventing and addressing potential issues early on to ensure the proper development of your child’s teeth and jaws.

An estimated 10 to 15% of children could benefit from early interceptive treatment.


The first permanent molars typically erupt between the ages of six and seven.


The American Academy of Orthodontics recommends your child’s first orthodontic appointment by age seven!

Consulting a Pediatric Orthodontist

Most of the time, early intervention is key. If your child experiences early or late loss of baby teeth, difficulty chewing, mouth breathing, or other signs, they can benefit from early orthodontic care. Our goal at Phillips Family Orthodontics is to identify these issues early on and take proactive measures to guide the growth of their smile.

Early Warning Signs

It’s essential to be vigilant about your child’s oral health, as certain signs may indicate the need for orthodontic intervention. If any of the following warning signs are present, it’s advisable to consult with a pediatric orthodontist:
  • Early or Late Loss of Baby Teeth: Timely loss of baby teeth is crucial for the proper emergence of permanent ones. Any deviations from the expected timeline may warrant orthodontic attention.
  • Difficulty Chewing or Biting: While some discomfort is normal during teething, persistent issues with chewing or biting may indicate underlying orthodontic problems. 
  • Mouth Breathing: Orthodontists can address potential issues that may arise from chronic mouth breathing, ensuring proper oral development.
  • Jaws Shifting or Clicking: Irregularities in jaw movement can lead to discomfort and dental consequences, and a pediatric orthodontist can help identify and address these issues.
  • Crowded Front Teeth Around Age Seven or Eight: Early signs of crowding may become apparent, and proactive orthodontic measures can help manage them. 
  • Cheek Biting: Abnormal biting patterns, such as consistent cheek biting, may be indicative of orthodontic conditions that need professional evaluation.
  • Facial imbalance: Underlying orthodontic problems may have an impact on the way your lips, chin, and other facial features look. 
  • Speech Impediments: Difficulty in articulating certain sounds may be related to orthodontic concerns, and early intervention can contribute to improved speech development.
  • Protruding Teeth: Teeth that noticeably protrude may indicate bite irregularities, and consulting a pediatric orthodontist can address these concerns before they progress.

Introducing Two-Phase Treatment

Understanding that every child’s smile journey is unique, Phillips Family Orthodontics offers a specialized approach known as Two-Phase Treatment. This strategy involves addressing orthodontic needs in two distinct stages, maximizing the effectiveness of care and ensuring a lasting, healthy smile for your child.

Around the age of eight or nine, Phase One begins. This initial stage may involve braces, fixed appliances, removable appliances, or a combination tailored to your child’s specific requirements. Lasting approximately 10-14 months, Phase One aims to create a pathway for the emergence of permanent teeth.

After the completion of Phase One, a resting period follows. This allows your child’s remaining permanent teeth to grow naturally into the newly created space. During this time, our team monitors progress closely, ensuring optimal conditions for the next phase of treatment.

The second phase typically commences during the preteen years, around ages 11-12. Lasting between 12-20 months, Phase Two focuses on further refining your child’s smile using appliances that support natural development. This comprehensive approach ensures that your child’s teeth align correctly, promoting both aesthetic appeal and functional harmony.

The Two-Phase Treatment Advantages

  • Early Intervention: Addressing orthodontic concerns early minimizes the risk of complex issues later in life.
  • Optimal Growth Guidance: Guiding natural growth patterns promotes a harmonious development of your child’s smile.
  • Reduced Treatment Time: By starting early, the overall treatment time can be reduced, leading to quicker and more efficient results.
woman holding Invisalign trays

How Early Interceptive Orthodontics Work

Dr. Joseph Phillips builds a personal connection with your child to understand their unique needs. Early orthodontics is all about having a plan. As your child’s mouth undergoes constant changes, early intervention allows us to influence their growth and development positively.
Questions like, “Do we have enough room for the adult teeth? Are the jaws growing correctly?” guides our approach. Studies show that orthopedic appliances, such as a palatal expander or facemask, when used correctly, can reduce the likelihood of invasive treatments later in life, like surgery or tooth extractions.
Phase one is about the big picture. Once we create space for all teeth and correct growth, retainers help maintain progress while waiting for adult teeth to grow. Over half of our patients may require another phase of treatment around age 12, making efficiency a priority in the early stages.

Comprehensive Treatment Options for Kids

At Phillips Family Orthodontics, we offer a diverse range of treatment options to ensure a personalized and effective approach. During the initial consultation, our orthodontist will recommend the best type of treatment for your child.
Our time-tested braces, consisting of brackets and wires, are adept at achieving precise tooth alignment. This method is effective in correcting various orthodontic issues, providing your child with a straight and well-aligned smile.
For a discreet and flexible orthodontic solution, our clear aligners offer a custom-designed, sequential approach. These thin, plastic shells gently and progressively shift teeth towards the desired outcome, ensuring aesthetic appeal and comfort during treatment.
Post-treatment, retainers play a vital role in preserving the results. Whether fixed or removable, our retainers minimize tooth movements, safeguarding the new alignment and contributing to the longevity of the orthodontic outcomes.
To address specific concerns, we also offer specialized appliances:
  • Space Maintainers: Preserving gaps for permanent teeth, space maintainers are crucial in preventing misalignments due to premature tooth loss.
  • Palatal Expanders: These appliances aid in correcting issues related to narrow dental arches by gradually widening the upper jaw.
  • Headgear: Addressing overbite or underbite, headgear provides additional external force to guide jaw growth and tooth alignment.
  • Functional Appliances: Designed to influence jaw growth, functional appliances assist in correcting bite irregularities and promoting proper oral function.
Young girl smiling with a retainer and holding a phone

The First Exam - Five Essential Questions

During the first exam, we address five essential questions:

  • Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?
  • What are the options to correct the problem?
  • Is there a possibility that teeth will need to be removed?
  • How long is the recommended treatment expected to take?
  • What will be the cost of the recommended treatment?
Young girl smiling with a retainer and holding a phone

Frequently Asked Questions

While some discomfort may be experienced during adjustments, orthodontic treatments are generally not painful. Our team ensures that the process is as comfortable as possible and that any temporary discomfort is manageable.
Orthodontic appointments are generally scheduled every 4-8 weeks, varying based on the individualized treatment plan. This allows our orthodontic team to monitor progress, make necessary adjustments, and ensure your child's treatment is progressing as planned.
Our office offers various financing options, such as flexible payments, insurance support, third-party financing, and dental care plans. We will work with you to find a plan that fits your budget.
Proper oral hygiene is crucial during orthodontic treatment. Dr. Phillips will provide guidance on effective cleaning techniques and recommend orthodontic-friendly oral care products to ensure your child maintains excellent oral health throughout their treatment.
Yes, your child can continue to engage in sports and play musical instruments with braces or orthodontic appliances. We provide guidance on protective measures and offer solutions to minimize any potential impact on their activities.
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age, but starting early allows for more effective intervention. If your child requires treatment during their teenage years, our experienced team will create a customized plan to address their specific needs and achieve optimal results.
Orthodontic emergencies can occur, but they can often be addressed at home with our guidance. In the event of a significant issue, our team is readily available to provide prompt assistance and schedule an emergency appointment if necessary.


Our pediatric orthodontist Encinitas and Mira Mesa CA is always available to help your family with their orthodontic needs.


Our pediatric orthodontist Encinitas and Mira Mesa CA is always available to help your family with their orthodontic needs.

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