Treating Cleft Lip and Palate
Are you concerned about your child’s smile? Generally, treating 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.
Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery
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.
Further surgeries for cleft lip and palate that occur from this point are often done to help the child improve their speech. Generally, future surgeries are only needed by around 1/5 of the children diagnosed with cleft lip and palate.
Cleft Lip and Palate Treatment Benefits
Sometimes, the additional surgeries do not serve the sole purpose of improving speech only. There are times when future surgeries are needed for functional and/or cosmetic reasons. Some children need surgery to help them improve the way that they are able to open and close their mouths. Or they may need surgery simply to improve the appearance of the skin. In other cases, they may need surgery to help improve breathing.
If you are looking for an orthodontist experienced in treating cleft lip and palate, please call our Buffalo office for a free screening.