Treating Cleft Lip and Palate
Are you concerned about your child’s smile? Cleft lip is a birth defect that occurs when an infants lip or mouth doesn’t properly form during birth and can also cause a cleft palate. According to the CDC, approximately 1 in every 1,600 babies are born with cleft palate and 1 in 1,700 babies are born with cleft palate. Generally speaking, cleft lip, also known as an oralfacial cleft is a rare defect that often requires surgical correction and can also cause a cleft palate which happens when the tissue that makes up the roof of the babies moth doesn’t properly join together during pregnancy. This can cause additional issues when it comes to feeding, speaking, and can also lead to issues with hearing and formation of the teeth. While the causes of cleft lip and palate are unknown, there are many potential causes including genetic factors, environmental factors, medications, smoking, and the mothers diet during pregnancy.
The craniofacial orthodontists at Orthodontists Associates of Western New York 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. Most orofacial clefts can be diagnosed during pregnancy with a routine ultrasound but the optimal time for treatment of cleft lip and palate is between three and six months of age.
Orofacial Cleft 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 contact our dedicated Buffalo orthodontists to arrange a free consultation for your child. We can help you understand the management and treatment of oralfacial clefts and create a customized treatment plan catered specifically for your child with craniofacial orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontists Associates of Western New York is proud to offer craniofacial orthodontics for cleft lip and palate throughout Buffalo, Lancaster, Olean, Hamburg, Orchard Park, and Dunkirk, East Aurora, and Niagara Falls New York. If you have questions about cleft lip or cleft palate treatment for yourself or a loved one, please contact one of our 7 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