A cleft lip and palate is a birth defect that takes place when different parts of the face don’t join together. It occurs in one out of 700 babies. Through the technology of oral surgery, this condition can be remedied.
A cleft lip is one of the most common facial deformities. It varies in severity – from a tiny gap in the lip to a complete separation. Once a cleft lip affects the roof of the mouth, it becomes a cleft palate.
Health Problems Caused by Cleft Lip and Palate
Cleft lip and palate affects more than just a person’s appearance. Infants with these conditions may experience difficulty in nursing and feeding from a bottle.
They are also likely to have medical conditions such as the following:
- Ear infections due to being prone to fluid retention in the middle ear
- Speech problems caused by abnormal facial anatomy
- Dental problems like cavities
People who have this condition would be required to see a dentist and an audiologist regularly. Those with speech problems would also need to see a speech pathologist.
Oral Surgery for Cleft Lip and Palate
Many oral surgeons in Salt Lake City and other areas provide oral surgery. Apart from repairing the lip, oral surgeons may also reposition sections of the jaw to improve the oral functions.
For infants, the ideal age for surgery is between three to six months. The process is done with a general anesthetic to minimize any pain. Lip repair can leave a small scar, which will be healed by adulthood. If the scar remains visible, further procedures can be done to minimize its appearance.
Since children with cleft lip and palate are more susceptible to dental problems, they will need regular visits to the dentist and have them closely monitored. Some children might also need braces to align their teeth.
With the right support from healthcare professionals, children born with cleft lip or palate can live happily without the worries and difficulties of dental and speech problems.