Cleft Palate and Cleft Lip (cont.)
In this Article
- What is a cleft palate and cleft lip?
- Who gets cleft lip and cleft palate?
- What causes a cleft lip and cleft palate?
- How are cleft lip and cleft palate diagnosed?
- What problems are associated with cleft lip and/or cleft palate?
- Who treats children with cleft lip and/or cleft palate?
- What's the treatment for cleft lip and cleft palate?
- What is the prognosis for children with cleft lip and/or cleft palate?
- Do children with cleft lips or cleft palates have special dental needs?
- Find a local Plastic Surgeon in your town
What Problems Are Associated With Cleft Lip and/or Cleft Palate?
- Eating problems. With a separation or opening in the palate, food and liquids can pass from the mouth back through the nose. Fortunately, specially designed baby bottles and nipples that help keep fluids flowing downward toward the stomach are available. Children with a cleft palate may need to wear a man-made palate to help them eat properly and ensure that they are receiving adequate nutrition until surgical treatment is provided.
- Ear infections/hearing loss. Children with cleft palate are at increased risk of ear infections since they are more prone to fluid build-up in the middle ear. If left untreated, ear infections can cause hearing loss. To prevent this from happening, children with cleft palate usually need special tubes placed in the eardrums to aid fluid drainage, and their hearing needs to be checked once a year.
- Speech problems. Children with cleft lip or cleft palate may also have trouble speaking. These children's voices don't carry well, the voice may take on a nasal sound, and the speech may be difficult to understand. Not all children have these problems and surgery may fix these problems entirely for some. For others, a special doctor, called speech pathologist, will work with the child to resolve speech difficulties.
- Dental Problems. Children with clefts are more prone to a larger than average number of cavities and often have missing, extra, malformed, or displaced teeth requiring dental and orthodontic treatments. In addition, children with cleft palate often have an alveolar ridge defect. The alveolus is the bony upper gum that contains teeth. A defect in the alveolus can (1) displace, tip, or rotate permanent teeth, (2) prevent permanent teeth from appearing, and (3) prevent the alveolar ridge from forming. These problems can usually be repaired through oral surgery.
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