Understanding the Facts About Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate

Cleft lip repairedA cleft means a separation or a split and palate is the roof of the mouth. Clefting is referred to as a craniofacial anomaly by physicians. Now, if a baby has a cleft lip, it means that their clefts failed to fuse.  About 1 in 1000 babies is born with cleft lip or palate. Here are some more facts about it.

The cause of cleft lip/palate is unknown. 

The common cause of orofacial clefts is not known. Some may have a cleft lip as a result of their genes while some others have factors that are not yet determined, although some say it could be what the mother eats, their environment or certain medications taken during pregnancy. However, there are some risk factors that may increase the chances of a baby having an orofacial cleft. These may include diabetes, epileptic medicines, and smoking during pregnancy.

Cleft lip can be diagnosed. 

Unknown to many, cleft lips/palate may be diagnosed by a routine ultrasound during pregnancy. The cleft palate can also be diagnosed when the baby is born. Nonetheless, some types of cleft palates such as bifid uvula and submucous cleft palate may not be diagnosed until later on.

Treatment of Cleft Lip/Palate

Depending on the severity of the cleft, there are treatment options and services provided to patients suffering from orofacial clefts. The factors may include the child’s age, the presence of other defects, and the present needs of the child. CranioFacial MD explains that an effective cleft lip repair surgery should be done within the first few months after the baby has been born.

For babies with cleft palates, they may have to wait until they’re 18 months.  Surgery helps to improve the appearance and the look of the child’s face. It can also improve their hearing, breathing, and speech development.

So if you suspect that your child has cleft lip or palate, it’s essential to visit a health care facility to get the right diagnosis and treatment. This will improve your child’s facial appearance and help him/her relate well with others.