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Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate

Pregnancy a mysterious and magical moment that both the mother and the rest of the family can experience. During pregnancy things like: finding your baby’s sex, seeing how he/she develops, feeling the kicks and moments (mother), among other new emotions all these create memorable moments that do not repeat. Even if you have another child, you as a parent, know that the experience is not the same. However, within all this positive mystery there is also fear, imagine that during one of your visits you find out that your child is developing a problem. At the 18th week of pregnancy an ultrasound can detect Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate.

Sani Dental Group wants you to have the best pregnancy experience possible, we know that pregnancy should be memorable and wonderful; not a scary or mysterious event; this post will describe cleft lip and cleft palate and treatment options that are available.

Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate

A cleft lip and cleft palate is a facial and oral malformations, in which the roof of the mouth has an opening or is split; this split occurred during very early stages of pregnancy. The cleft results when there is not enough tissue in the oral cavity and the available tissue does not join together properly; this separation can extend beyond the base of the nose and includes the bones of both the upper jaw and/or gum.

When the child suffers from cleft lip and cleft palate, the defect can occur on one or both sides of the mouth, as the baby grows and develops; the lip and the palate develop separately and it is possible to have either a cleft palate without a cleft lip, a cleft lip without a cleft palate or both.

Who is at Risk?

Children of Asian, Latino, or Native American descent are at a higher risk of developing this birth defect when compare to other ethnicities. On a yearly basis, cleft lip and cleft palate affects one in 700 babies births and is the fourth most common birth defect in the U.S. When compared to girls, boys have twice the risk of developing a cleft lip; however girls have twice the risk of developing a cleft palate without a cleft lip.

Diagnosing Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate

Diagnosing a cleft lip and cleft palate is fairly simple, the very obvious physical changes, even a prenatal ultrasound can sometimes determine if a cleft exists in the unborn child. If clefting is not detected in an ultrasound, through a physical exam of the mouth, nose, and palate the physician can confirm the presence of cleft lip and/or cleft palate after a child's birth.

Causes of Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate

The root cause of cleft lip and cleft palate is unknown, most scientist today, believe this facial and oral malformations is cause due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. In addition scientist have discover that the child is at higher risk of clefting if a sibling, parent, or relative has had this problem. Other situation related include:

  • Certain medications the mother took during pregnancy
    • acne drugs containing Accutane,
    • anti-seizure/anticonvulsant drugs,
    • methotrexate
  • Exposure to viruses or chemicals while the fetus is developing
  • Cleft lip and Cleft palate can be the cause of another medical condition

Associated Problems

Children with cleft lip and cleft palate are also at risk of developing other problems or difficulties, these include:

  • Eating Problems
  • Ear Infections
  • Hearing Loss
  • Speech Problems
  • Dental Problems

Treating Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate

To treat cleft lip and cleft palate may require one or more surgeries depending on the extent of the malformation. The first surgery is usually performed when the child is about 3 months old. The first surgery is performed to repair the palate, the surgeon may need to create a functional palate. This functional palate, will reduce the child chance of having fluid develop in the middle ears and in addition it aids in the proper development of teeth and facial bones.

The second surgery or set of surgeries, could be performed when the child is about 8 years old, these are performed to fill the gum line, provide support and stability to the oral cavity. Additional surgeries may be needed to improve the child facial appearance and help with their breathing and stabilizing their jaw and teeth.

Sani Dental Group is a professional dental clinic locate in Los Algodones, Mexico and we invite all parents to take care of their soon to be born baby, to the best of their abilities. Pregnancy should be a memorable and precious moment, to better be prepare we invite you to read our post: Dental Care and Pregnancy.

If you notice a problem in during your pregnancy contact your physician or one of our patient coordinators, protect both your baby health and the mother from any oral disease or oral malformations.