What causes cleft lips and palates?
The most common facial birth defect is cleft lip and/or cleft palate. It occurs randomly in one out of 800 births resulting from failure to unite both halves of the upper lip and palate during the ninth week of pregnancy. Heredity or the use of abnormal medication during pregnancy may contribute. Craniofacial deformities may be caused by genetic or environmental circumstances.
What problems result?
Problems include: a flat nose, nasal speech, recurrent ear infections, abnormal teeth, and malalignment of the jaws. Craniofacial deformities usually include the skull and face with alternating degrees of severity.
What should we expect when it comes to surgery and further treatment?
The first concern for a child born with cleft lip/palate is ensuring the infant’s proper nutrition. After counseling with the parents, the family will be recommended to a proper team of professionals that are experienced in treating individuals with clefts.
The oral and maxillofacial surgeon will team up with a group of professionals that may include a speech-language pathologist, audiologist, dentist, geneticist, psychologist, neurosurgeon and others.
Staged repair and reconstruction of the cleft lip and palate begins with surgical closure of the cleft lip within three months of age. The palate is ultimately closed to set up an able speech platform. During the child’s life many team members will contribute to help reach absolute rehabilitation.
The surgical team at Utah Oral Surgeons has been successfully treating patients with cleft lips and palates and providing other craniofacial surgery that restore the essential functions of the mouth and nose along with the face’s natural structure and appearance. Doctors Crawford and McBee employ careful restorative plastic surgery to bring healing and confidence to their patients. Please contact the Utah Oral Surgeons staff for an appointment.