During pregnancy, if the baby’s lip does not develop normally, it can create a birth defect. Parents may be able to find out if their baby has a cleft lip at their anatomy scan mid-way through the pregnancy. Please keep reading to learn more about the causes, risks, and treatment options for cleft lips.
If your child was born with a cleft lip, please call our WNY orthodontists to discuss craniofacial orthodontics during your free consultation.
What Are Cleft Lips?
Cleft lips happen when the baby’s lip does not develop properly before birth, resulting in an opening on either side of the mouth. In some cases, the cleft is a small slit and, in more severe cases, has a large opening that goes all the way up to the nostril. In rare cases, the cleft will be straight down the middle of their lip.
Please keep reading to learn about the possible factors that can increase the chances of a child having a cleft lip, as well as treatment options you can explore with your orthodontist when the time is right.
Risk Factors During Pregnancy
There are many unknown causes of cleft lips. However, enough research has been done to show several risk factors. The CDC has done a lot of work to try to understand what causes birth defects such as orofacial clefts. Some findings the CDC has shared from recent studies outline several risk factors for developing a cleft lip during pregnancy.
These risks include:
- Having diabetes
- Using certain medications, especially in the first trimester
It is important to note that not every pregnant woman who has diabetes, smoked, or used medications during their first trimester is going to have a baby with a cleft lip or palate. These factors are things that put babies at a higher risk.
Many women who did not know they were pregnant but continued to smoke or use their medications until the day they learned they were pregnant have gone on to have babies without a cleft lip. Research is still underway to understand birth defects better.
How to Treat Cleft Lips
Fortunately, with proper medical intervention, a cleft lip can be treated. We typically use surgical intervention to treat a cleft lip in children. Ideally, we prefer to treat children who are between three to six months old and hopefully before their first birthday. We highly recommend reaching out to our office right away if your child was born with a cleft lip.
Additional surgeries in the child’s life may be required to help them develop properly. Speech therapy and orthodontics may also be needed when they get a little older to help with any subsequent issues.
If your child has a cleft lip, please contact our office immediately to discuss treatment options with our caring and dedicated orthodontists.
Request Your Free Consultation Today
Do not wait to reach out to us if your child has a cleft lip. Our WNY orthodontists have many years of experience treating cleft lips and palates. We would be glad to get you in for a free consultation immediately.
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Orthodontists Associates of Western New York is proud to offer craniofacial orthodontics for cleft lip and palate throughout Buffalo, Lancaster, Olean, Hamburg, Orchard Park, Dunkirk, East Aurora, and Niagara Falls, New York. If you have questions about cleft lip or palate treatment for yourself or a loved one, don’t hesitate to contact one of our seven convenient orthodontic offices to arrange a free consultation.
Our reputation as a leader in orthodontic care is based on one thing… Making a Healthy and Beautiful Smile