Cleft Lip & Palate
Restore Oral Function & Appearance
During the early stages of pregnancy, areas of the face develop separately and then join together, such as the right and left sides of the mouth and lips. If these parts do not properly join, it can result in a separation known as a cleft. A child can have a cleft lip on the upper lip, a cleft palate on the roof of the mouth, or both. Our pediatric dentists and oral surgeon at Full Smile Dental manage cleft lip and palate cases in Dumas, Canyon, Amarillo, Farwell, and Dalhart, TX, to help infants and children achieve proper oral function with pleasing aesthetics.
Why Treat a Cleft Lip or Cleft Palate?
A completely formed lip and palate is important for sucking, speaking, and for a normal facial appearance. The lips, tongue, and roof of the mouth work together when speaking. If one of these areas does not function properly, it can lead to speech difficulties and difficulty eating, swallowing, and breathing. The lip and palate develop separately during pregnancy, making it possible for a child to be born with a cleft lip, palate, or both.
The roof of the mouth is made of bone and muscle. You can feel the palate by running your tongue along the top of your mouth. Its purpose is to separate the nose from the mouth, preventing air from blowing out of the nose when speaking. The palate also prevents food and liquids from entering the nose when eating. An opening in the roof of the mouth, or cleft palate, can range from a small opening at the back of the palate to complete separation of the palate.
When children born with a cleft receive the necessary treatment, they can develop proper speaking abilities, reduce middle ear problems associated with this condition, and ensure proper development of the teeth and face.
Treatment for a Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate
Treatment for these conditions varies slightly, but both aim to restore oral function and aesthetics to the oral and maxillofacial region. The members of your child’s care team will work together to create a custom treatment plan focused around function, nutrition, speech, hearing, appearance, and emotional development.
We will outline the steps of treatment for you so that you can feel confident about your child’s care at Full Smile Dental. Depending on the child’s age, a speech pathologist may also be recommended to help establish proper articulation.
Cleft Lip Treatment
Surgery to repair a cleft lip is often performed when an infant is between 3–6 months old. During this surgery, an oral surgeon will bring the lips closer together while improving the shape of the nostrils. Muscles and tissues of the lips and nose will be repaired, and future plastic surgery may be necessary to reshape the nose. Some children may require additional surgery before they enter school, while other children do not require further surgeries.
Cleft Palate Treatment
Surgery to repair a cleft palate is often performed when a child is 10–12 months old. Around the age of 8 when the facial structures are more developed, another surgery is performed to increase bone quantity. The child will require other additional surgeries throughout the first 18 years. During this treatment, a surgeon will close the gap and repair muscles of the soft palate. Bone grafting may be necessary, as well as orthognathic surgery if the jaws are misaligned.
Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate Treatment in Dumas, Canyon, Amarillo, Farwell, and Dalhart, TX
Full Smile Dental provides exceptional dental and oral surgery care to patients of all ages. Our team of general and cosmetic dentists, pediatric dentists, and oral surgeons are committed to going beyond the standard of care for every patient. Each of our offices are equipped with advanced technology and accept many forms of payment and financing to make your oral health treatment more affordable. At Full Smile Dental, we understand the delicate nature of cleft cases and are here to support and guide you throughout your child’s treatment. If your child needs treatment for a cleft lip, cleft palate, or both, we encourage you to contact our pediatric and oral surgery experts.
Experience the Full Smile Difference
Receive thoughtful oral surgery and dental care in a modern and comfortable setting. Our state-of-the-art facilities and expert team ensure every experience is made exceptional. We look forward to serving you and your loved ones.