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Cleft Lip and Palate

Cleft lip and palate correction Pacific Oral & Facial Surgery Center Cleft lip, with or without a cleft palate, affects 1 in 700 babies. These issues are congenital defects that form while a baby is developing in the womb. The left and the right sides of the lips and palate develop separately during the early stages of pregnancy and come together as the baby continues to develop. If there is not enough tissue or the tissue does not fuse together properly, the result is a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or both. At Pacific Oral & Facial Surgery Center, we can help to correct cleft lip and palate, restoring the oral functions of your child as well as their facial appearance.

Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate

A cleft lip is a congenital defect that occurs when the left and the right sides of the upper lip do not converge properly. It often shows up as a small gap or hole in the lip, although it can, in some cases, extend all the way up the lip to the base of the nose. It may also extend into the bones of the upper jaw. A cleft palate occurs when the left and the right sides of the palate do not fuse together properly. This leaves the child with a small opening in the roof of their mouth. It can affect the hard palate at the front of the mouth or the soft palate toward the back. It is possible for a child to be born with either a cleft lip or a cleft palate. In some cases, a child may be born with both. These issues can affect the left side, the right side, or even both sides. The exact causes of cleft lips and palates are unknown, making them difficult to prevent, but they are treatable.

What Issues Can a Cleft Lip and Palate Cause?

A cleft lip and palate can lead to several significant issues, including:
•  Difficulty feeding. Cleft lips and palates create difficulties feeding, whether the infant is breastfed or bottle fed. An opening in the palate allows liquids to pass into the nasal passages.
•  Trouble with proper speech development. Both cleft lips and cleft palates can interfere with speech development. A child may difficulty forming certain words or sounds or may sound nasal when they speak.
•  Increased risk for ear infections, which can then lead to hearing loss.
•  Issues with the teeth. Children with cleft palates are likely to face dental issues such as extra teeth, missing teeth, malformed teeth, or teeth that are displaced.

How Are Cleft Lip and Palate Treated?

Treatment for a cleft lip and palate involve surgery. Cleft lip repair is typically done around the age of 10. The hole in the lip is closed, restoring a more natural facial appearance in addition to muscle functions. Repairing cleft lips, depending upon the severity, can also repair nasal deformities. Surgery for a cleft palate is done at a much earlier age and is more involved. Treatment is typically done between the ages of 7 and 18 months. The hole in the palate is closed, and the muscle tissues are connected. The palate is also made long enough to function properly. Cleft palate surgery is done so early to help the child eat properly as well as prevent potential issues with speech development. In some cases, your child may need orthodontic treatment when they are older as well. If your child was born with a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or both of these conditions, treatment is possible. Call Pacific Oral & Facial Surgery Center today at 925-290-7727 for more information.

Board certified in Oral & Maxillofacial surgery
The surgical specialty of oral and maxillofacial surgery requires up to six additional years of hospital based surgical and anesthesia training beyond dental school.
Contact Pacific Oral and Facial Surgery Center Today!
The first step to a healthier, happier you.

1133 E. Stanley Blvd. #215 • Livermore, CA 94550
Phone: 925-290-7727 Fax: 925-294-8800
2160 W. Grant Line Road #160 • Tracy, CA 95377
Phone: Phone: 209-835-4600 • Fax: Fax: 209-835-8833

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