Cleft Lip and Palate
In early pregnancy, separate areas of the face develops individually then joins together, including the left and right sides of the roof of the mouth and lips. In some cases parts do not join properly, sections don’t meet and the result is called a cleft.
A cleft creates an opening in the upper lip between the mouth and nose. It can start from a slight notch in the colored portion of the lip to complete separation in one or both sides of the lip extending up and into the nose. A cleft that occurs only on one side it is called a unilateral cleft. If a cleft occurs on both sides of the lip, it is called a bilateral cleft.
A completely formed lip is important for sucking and to form certain sounds made during speech. A cleft in the gums may occur in association with a cleft lip. This may range from a small notch in the gum to a complete division of the gum into separate parts. A similar defect in the roof of the mouth is called a cleft palate.
The palate is the roof of your mouth; made of bone and muscle and is covered by a thin, wet skin which forms the red covering inside the mouth. You can feel your palate by running your tongue over the top of your mouth. The purpose of your palate is to separate your nose from your mouth. The palate plays an extremely important role during speech because when you talk; preventing air from blowing out of your nose instead of your mouth. The palate is also very important when eating; preventing food and liquids from going up into the nose.
As in cleft lip, a cleft palate occurs in early pregnancy when separate areas of the face have developed individually do not join together properly. A cleft palate occurs when there’s an opening in the roof of the mouth. The back of the palate is called the soft palate and the front is known as the hard palate. A cleft palate can range from just an opening at the back of the soft palate to a nearly complete separation of the roof of the soft and hard palate.
Cleft Lip Treatment
Cleft lip surgery is usually performed when the child is about 10 years old. The goal of surgery is to close the separation, restore muscle function and provide a normal shape to the mouth. The nostril deformity may be improved as a result of the procedure or may require another surgery.
Cleft Palate Treatment
A cleft palate is initially treated with surgery safely when the child is between 7 to 18 months old. This depends upon the individual child and his/her own medical situations.
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