A cleft lip and palate occurs in utero when the bones and tissue of the jaw and mouth do not fully come together. This is a common birth defect that occurs early on in pregnancy. This split, or cleft, can range in severity, and surgery is recommended to restore the natural function and aesthetic of the face. When the lip or palate split, space created between the mouth and nasal passage makes it difficult to eat and speak. Fortunately, most cleft lip and palate patients can successfully achieve normal facial function and appearance through appropriate surgical treatment.
If your child is born with a cleft lip or palate, we can help restore their function and aesthetics. Our oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained to work with patients of all ages, including pediatric cases. We understand that every case and child is different, and we work hard to develop a treatment plan that will best address your child’s long-term oral health needs.
Cleft Lip Treatment
Cleft lip surgery involves closing the gap between the two sides of the upper lip and usually occurs around three months of age. One surgery is usually enough to sufficiently repair the cleft and restore the overall function and appearance of the mouth and lips, but some cases may require an additional procedure later in life. If the nostril has been affected, then another surgery may be necessary to restore your child’s function and aesthetics. Your oral surgeon will evaluate your child and will determine the right treatment plan.
Cleft Palate Treatment
Cleft palate surgery is often more involved than treatment for a cleft lip because the oral surgeon must alter the roof of the mouth and it usually takes two or more operations to treat the cleft in its entirety. Between 7 and 18 months of age, the first surgery will create a functional palate and will separate the mouth from the nasal cavity. An additional procedure may be required later on, usually years after the initial repair surgery, if a small opening forms in the palate. Another surgery may also be necessary around 8 or 9 years old to prepare for the growth of the permanent teeth.
Cleft Lip and Palate Treatment at Fresno Oral Maxillofacial Surgery & Dental Implant Center
If your child needs cleft lip or palate treatment, our surgeons can help. We will evaluate your child’s specific condition and determine the ideal treatment process for you and your child. Contact one of our offices for more information or to schedule a consultation. A member of our staff will be happy to assist you.