Cleft Lip or Palate Defects
Green Bay, WI
A cleft lip affects 1 in every 700 babies. It can occur with or without the presence of a cleft palate. These are congenital defects that occur in the womb while the child is still developing. During the early stages of development, the left and right sides of the lip and palate develop separately and fuse as the fetus continues to grow. If these two areas do not fuse properly, or there is insufficient tissue present, this is when a cleft lip and palate occur. A cleft lip and palate not only cause aesthetic complications, but they can also cause several other significant issues. Bay Lakes Center for Complex Dentistry can treat a cleft lip and palate, restoring the proper oral functions to your child while also improving facial aesthetics and their smile.
What Exactly is a Cleft Lip and Palate?
A cleft lip occurs when the left and right sides of the upper lip do not come together properly. It generally appears as a small gap or hole in the upper lip. In some instances, it can extend all the way up the lip to the base of the nose. It can even reach into the bones in the upper jaw.
A cleft palate is when the left and right sides of the palate, or roof of the mouth, do not fuse properly, leaving a hole. This congenital defect can affect the soft palate or the hard palate.
It is possible for an infant to be born with a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or both. These defects can affect either side of the lip or palate. In some cases, they may affect both. It is unknown what exactly causes a cleft lip or palate to occur. Because of this, it is difficult to prevent them. They can, however, be treated.
Complications Caused by Cleft a Lip and Palate
A cleft lip and palate can cause several significant issues. These include:
||Difficulty nursing or bottle feeding. With a cleft palate, liquid can pass from the mouth up into the nasal cavity.
||Difficulties developing proper speech patterns. Your child may have trouble forming certain words or sounds. They may also sound nasally when they speak.
||Dental issues. A cleft lip and palate can affect the development of the teeth. Children with these issues often face missing teeth, extra teeth, or teeth that are malformed.
||An increased instance of ear infections. Suffering numerous ear infections can cause problems with hearing and even lead to hearing loss.
Treating a Cleft Lip and Palate
Treatment for a cleft lip and palate involves surgery. A cleft lip repair is typically performed when the child is around ten years old. With this procedure, the hole in the lip is repaired, improving facial aesthetics and muscle functions. Depending upon the severity of the cleft lip, repair may also address nasal deformities.
Treating a cleft palate is done much earlier, typically between 7 and 18 months of age. During this procedure, the hole in the palate is closed, and muscle tissues are connected. Depending on the severity, the palate may also be lengthened. Repairing a cleft palate is done early to help children eat properly. Early repair also helps to prevent speech related issues as your child learns to talk. This helps to prevent the need for speech therapy later to help your child relearn how to speak. While surgery is done early, many children with a cleft palate may still require orthodontic treatment when they get older.
Treating a cleft lip and palate helps to restore normal oral functions for your child and can greatly improve their quality of life. For more information, and to schedule a consultation, call Bay Lakes Center for Complex Dentistry today at (920) 278-7678.