During early on pregnancy, different areas of the face grow individually and then join, including the left and right sides of the roof of the mouth and lips. However, if certain parts do not join properly, sections don’t meet, and the result is a cleft. If the separation happens in the upper lip, the child will have a cleft lip.
A fully shaped lip is very important, not just for facial appearance but also for sucking and to form particular sounds. A cleft lip a gap in the upper lip between your mouth and nose. It looks as though there’s a split in the lip. It can range from a small notch in the coloured part of the lip to complete separation in one or both sides on the lip stretching up and into the nose. A cleft on only one side is known as an unilateral cleft. If a cleft develops for both sides, it is called a bilateral cleft.
A cleft in the gum may exist in connection to a cleft lip. This could range from a small notch in the gum to a complete division of the gum into individual parts. A similar defect in the roof of the mouth is known as a cleft palate.
Your palate is made of bone and muscle and is covered with a thin, wet skin that forms the red covering in the mouth. You can feel your palate by rubbing your tongue over the top of your mouth. Its function is to separate your nose from your mouth. The palate has an extremely important role during speech because while you talk, it prevents air from blowing out of your nose rather than your mouth. The palate is also extremely important when eating. It stops food and fluids from going up into the nose.
A cleft palate occurs in early pregnancy when separate regions of the face have developed individually don’t join properly. A cleft palate occurs when there is an opening in the roof from the mouth. The back of the palate is known as the soft palate and the front is called the hard palate. A cleft palate ranges from just an opening at the rear of the soft palate to a nearly complete separation from the roof from the mouth (soft and hard palate).
Sometimes a baby with a cleft palate will have a small chin and some children with this combination may have difficulties with breathing easily. This condition is called Pierre Robin sequence.
Because the lip and palate develop individually, it is possible for a kid to be born with a cleft lip, palate or both. Cleft defects exist in about one out of every 800 kids.
Children born with either or both of these conditions usually need the skills of countless professionals to handle the problems linked to the defect like feeding, speech, hearing and psychological development. In most cases, surgical treatment is recommended. When surgical treatment is done by a skilled, qualified oral and maxillofacial surgeon like Dr. Hussainy, the outcomes can be very positive.
Cleft Lip Treatment
Cleft lip surgical treatment is usually performed when the child is all about 10 years old. The aim of surgery is to close the separation, restore muscle function, and supply a normal contour around the mouth. The nostril deformity might be improved due to the procedure, or there may need to be a subsequent surgery.
Cleft Palate Treatment
A cleft palate is initially treated with surgery safely once the child is between 7 to 18 months old. This depends upon the unique child and his/her own situation. For instance, if the child has other associated health problems, it is likely the surgery will be delayed.
The major goals of surgery will be to:
- Narrow the gap or hole between your roof from the mouth and nose.
- Reconnect the muscles that make the palate work.
- Get the repaired palate of sufficient length so that the palate can perform its function properly.
There are various techniques that surgeons will use to accomplish these goals. The option of techniques can vary between surgeons and should be discussed between the parents and the surgeon before surgery.
The cleft hard palate is generally repaired between the ages of 8 and 12 when the cuspid teeth start to develop. The process involves taking bone in the hip to the bony defect, and closure from the communication in the nose to the gum tissue in three layers. It may also be performed in teenagers and adults as an individual procedure or combined with corrective jaw surgery.
What Can Be Expected After The Surgery?
After the palate has been fixed, children will immediately have an easier time swallowing food and liquids. However, within one out of every five children following cleft palate repair, a portion from the repair will split, creating a new hole between the nose and mouth. If small, this hole may result in only an occasional minor leakage of fluids into the nose. If large, it may cause significant eating problems, and most importantly, may even affect how the child speaks. This hole is called a “fistula,” and may need further surgery to correct.