Central New England Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Dr. John R. Kashmanian Board Certified Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon

Cleft Lip and Palate Treatment in Connecticut

At Central New England Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, we are dedicated to providing you with fast, efficient service with competitive pricing options. If your child is in need of treatment for a cleft lip and palate, we are a perfect choice.

The Formation

This common congenital disability forms in the early stages of pregnancy, specifically between 6 and ten weeks. The result of an incompletely formed lip and mouth, it affects approximately 2 in 2,000 babies born in the United States. This abnormality can occur as a minor opening on the lips, or it can develop well into parts of the nose and gums.

Doctors can identify clefts as soon as a baby is born or during an ultrasound procedure. While the exact cause of the deformity may be hard to pinpoint, it is typically the result of genetics or certain medications taken by mothers during pregnancy. Women who drink alcohol and use drugs while pregnant also run a higher risk of having babies with a cleft lip or palate.

Types of Clefts

The specific category of a cleft varies from case to case. Concerning the cleft lip, it can be either unilateral or bilateral. Unilateral clefts form on both sides of the top lip. The bilateral form can occur on either side.

Palates can be broken up into three categories: incomplete, complete, and submucous. The incomplete cleft palate typically appears in the back of the mouth. A complete cleft palate involves both the hard and soft portions of the palate. The submucous cleft contains the part of the mouth that is enclosed by the mucous membrane.

How Are Children Affected?

Dealing with this issue can be difficult for children. Possible complications could include dental problems, feeding issues in infants, hearing loss, and speech impediments. Dental problems can include abnormally small teeth, extra teeth, and gum defects. Feeding issues prevent babies them from latching properly during breastfeeding and can cause liquids to enter the nose. Speech impediments can occur after surgery, but speech pathology treatment can help. Hearing loss is caused by fluid accumulation in the ears. Ear tubes drain the fluid, causing hearing to improve significantly.

Treatment

Although a cleft lip and palate is a legitimate cause for concern, it is treatable through surgery. Many children receive treatment between the ages of one and two. Because each case is unique, the specific surgical procedures tend to vary.

Due to the risk of post-surgery complications, families often deal with post-treatment teams that include dentists, orthodontists, audiologists, and social workers. Dentists are particularly important, as cleft lip and palate issues can put children at a higher risk for future oral complications. Therefore, regular dental visits to prevent cavities and other mild dental problems is of great importance.