Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate


A girl smiling and having orange juice after her Cleft lip surgery at Westlake Oral and Plastic Surgery at Simi Valley Cleft lip and cleft palate are congenital disabilities that form in the womb. In the early stages of pregnancy, different parts of the face develop on their own and eventually come together. This includes both the left and right sides of the palate as well as the lips. If there is not enough tissue, or the tissue does not form together properly, the result is a cleft lip or palate. Cleft lip, with or without a cleft palate, affects 1 in 700 babies each year in the United States. These conditions can be fixed. Westlake Oral and Plastic Surgery at Simi Valley can help.

Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate


A cleft lip is a split that forms between the left and right sides of the upper lip. It appears as a gap or small opening in the tissue. In many cases, a cleft lip can extend past the base of the nose and into the bones of the upper jaw.

A cleft palate is a split or opening that forms in the roof of the mouth. This condition can affect the bony part of the palate at the front of the mouth as well as the soft area of the palate at the back of the mouth.

Both cleft lips and cleft palates can develop on either side or both sides, of the mouth. It is possible for a child to be born with just a cleft lip, just a cleft palate, or both of these conditions. The exact causes of cleft lips and cleft palates are not known. For this reason, they are not usually preventable, but they are treatable.

What Issues Do These Conditions Cause?


Whether your child has either a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or both conditions, getting treatment is important. These conditions can lead to several significant problems:
•  Trouble eating. A hole in the palate can lead to liquids passing from the mouth to the nose.
•  Trouble speaking. The lips and the palate play an important role in communicating through speech. A child with a cleft lip or palate may have trouble forming certain words, sound nasal, or be difficult to understand.
•  Ear infections. Children with a cleft palate are at an increased risk for developing ear infections. These infections can lead to hearing loss.
•  Dental problems. Those with a cleft lip or palate are often prone to experiencing more dental problems.
•  They may be more prone to cavities. They may also have extra, missing, malformed or displaced teeth.

Treating Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate


Both cleft lips and cleft palates can be treated with surgery. Surgery for a cleft lip is often performed at the age of 10. The goal of the procedure is to close the space, restore muscle function, and restore a more natural appearance. In some cases, surgery may be needed to repair any deformities to the nostrils.

The process to repair a cleft palate begins early, usually when the child is between 7 and 18 months old. Surgery is meant to close the hole, reconnect muscles in the palate, and make it long enough to function properly. By performing the surgery early, it helps to prevent issues in learning to speak, and having to relearn how to speak, and can greatly help to improve their ability to eat. Depending upon the needs of the child, later surgeries or orthodontic treatment may be required.

Surgery can help to restore a cleft lip and cleft palate, giving your child a more natural appearance and improving their overall quality of life. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, contact Westlake Oral Surgery at (805) 328-2180 today.
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