What to Do if Your Baby is Born with a Cleft Lip or Palate
Posted on 12/20/2018 by Fariba Mutschler
While the causes of cleft lip and cleft palate in infants are unknown, the thought is that the condition is caused by a combination of genes and things such as those the mother comes into contact with during pregnancy. Diet is also believed to be a factor that can result in this condition.
What are Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate?
They are oral malformations that happen very early in the development of the fetus and result in missing tissue in the mouth or lip area. The available tissue doesn't join together properly. A cleft lip is a physical separation of both sides of the upper lip that shows as a gap in the skin. A cleft palate is a split in the roof of the mouth.
What Problems Occur with a Cleft Lip or Palate?
For a baby, the most serious problem will happen during feeding time, but you can use a specialized cleft palate bottle. The nursing staff at the hospital where you give birth, will show you how it works and help you get used to it.
Can a Cleft Palate Be Fixed?
Because it is so noticeable and can affect a child emotionally, plastic surgery can be a good option, and it can be performed as early as three to six-months of age for a cleft lip and 9 to 12-months for a cleft palate.
This surgery will require anesthesia and a short hospital stay while baby recovers. More surgeries may be needed as the child grows up and their facial structure changes.
Kids with cleft lip or palate are susceptible to more dental problems and it is very important to keep regular dentist visits and have good oral care habits at home. Orthodontic treatment may be needed and can start at around six-years of age.
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