Cleft Lip and Palate
What is cleft lip and palate?
A completely formed lip and palate is critical not only for facial appearance but also for proper function. In patients that are born with a cleft lip and palate, procedures are available and the timing of this treatment is critical.
When should treatment of cleft lip and palate begin?
Typically the cleft lip and palate is repaired as an infant. This early treatment allows the child to progress normally with feeding and speech development. The remaining cleft involves the alveolar ridge (upper jaw bone). The continuity of the jaw is also very important but is typically delayed until the individual is around 10 or 11 years of age. It is important to complete this procedure in a timely manner to allow the eruption of permanent teeth that otherwise would not have sufficient bone for stability. In situations where the permanent teeth did not develop, the involved area can be prepared for dental implants when growth of the jaw is complete.