Cleft Lip & Palate
Restore an Infant’s Lip and Palate
Cleft lip and cleft palate are birth defects that cause the two sides of the face to join improperly, leaving a split in the lip, the roof of the mouth, or both. Depending on the severity of the case, cleft lip or palate cases generally involve a team of professionals, such as a dentist, a pediatrician, a speech pathologist, and an oral surgeon working together to repair the cleft and treat any symptoms associated with the condition.
Our oral surgeons in our Amarillo office have received years of training to understand the delicate balance between the facial bones and structures. An oral surgeon is an integral part of the cleft lip or cleft palate treatment team for your child. Oral surgeons are trained to perform facial surgeries that restore both the function and the appearance of the mouth and face for patients of all ages, including pediatric cases. We offer anesthesia options to help your child feel comfortable, if necessary, and our office is equipped with high-tech 3D scanning technology.
Surgical Treatment for Cleft Palate and Cleft Lip
While special bottles and other tools have been developed to help children with cleft lip and palate eat and function normally, surgery will eventually be necessary to allow the child to eat and speak normally and prevent other problems. Every case is different: some children only have a cleft lip, some have only a cleft palate, and others have both a cleft lip and palate. The extent and number of surgeries necessary will depend on the severity of the child’s condition.
In general, cleft lip requires one or two surgeries to fully repair, and the first surgery takes place before an infant is 3 months old. The goal of cleft lip surgery is to join the split in the lip and restore both the function and appearance of the lip and nose.
Cleft palate treatment tends to be a more involved treatment process. In many cases, two or more surgeries are required throughout a person’s childhood and adolescence to treat the condition. The first surgery usually takes place between the ages of 6–12 months. Another surgery may be necessary around age 8 to increase the amount of bone in the upper jaw and gum line. This surgery can help support the permanent adult teeth while also improving speech function. More surgeries or orthodontic work may be necessary throughout the child’s life, depending on the extent of their condition.
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Other Questions? We’re Here to Help
If you have questions about a procedure, financing, or anything else, please reach out to us at any time. Our team is here to help, and we look forward to caring for you and your loved ones.