Cleft Lip Treatment
Was your child born with a cleft lip or palate? You are probably searching for ways to help improve the quality of their life as they grow. Fortunately, the trustworthy Orthodontists Associates of WNY can help. Here is some information on cleft lip treatment that we offer.
Cleft Lip Treatment | What is a Cleft Lip and Palate?
Cleft lips and cleft palates are birth defects. They are facial and oral malformations. The condition develops in utero during an extremely early part of the pregnancy. A cleft signifies that there is not enough tissue in the mouth or around the lip. Therefore, the areas do not join together as they should.
Cleft lips and palates can be an extremely serious condition. They can affect only one side of the lip and palate or both sides. A cleft palate is the fourth most common birth defect in the United States. It occurs in around 1 of every 700 births.
Cleft Lip Treatment | Craniofacial Orthodontics
Generally, treatment for cleft lip and palate requires surgical correction. Craniofacial orthodontists specialize in the treatment of this condition. However, it can be rather challenging to estimate the number of surgeries that could be required to correct it. Naturally, treatment depends on the severity of the disorder. The optimal time for treatment of cleft lip and palate is between three and six months of age.
The first surgery is designed to repair the palate. The goal of this surgery is to minimize the likelihood of liquids to develop in the ears. This surgery will also help the child’s jaws and teeth grow into the right places. Often, children undergo another surgery for cleft lip and palate when they are around 8 years old. The goal of this surgery is to perform a bone graft (although this isn’t always needed). The bone graft supports the permanent teeth and may also be used to fill in the upper gums.
Cleft Lip Treatment | Complications
Thankfully, when cleft lips and cleft palatea are treated using craniofacial orthodontics at an early enough age, they could very well achieve a normal appearance, giving the patient normal speech patterns and the ability to eat without issues. When children with cleft lips and cleft palates are not treated, serious complications can occur including:
- Difficulty feeding as babies
- Difficulty eating as they get older
- Ear infections as a result of fluid build-up
- Hearing loss
- Future dental problems
- Speech difficulties
- Low self-esteem
If your child is in need of craniofacial orthodontics, please contact any of our Western New York offices today to arrange a free consultation.