A cleft palate or lip occurs when a child is born with a space in the lip or roof of the mouth (palate). At the start of pregnancy, typically in the first six to 10 weeks, the bones and tissues of the nose, mouth, and upper jaw fuse to form the palate and upper lip. In some cases, however, these pieces don’t fuse the way they should, resulting in an opening. In this blog post, our team at Totally Orthodontics tells you more about this condition and how one may treat cleft lip and palate in NE Calgary.
What Are the Risk Factors for Cleft Palate and Lip?
It is not always known why a cleft lip or palate occurred, but the cause is often considered to be a mixture of environmental and genetic factors.
If it is due to genes, they can be passed down by either parent. There are also some medications that, if taken during pregnancy, may increase the risk of the infant developing a cleft. If a pregnant woman has a vitamin deficiency, especially a deficiency in folic acid, this may also increase the risk of cleft.
Additionally, drinking, drug use, and smoking during pregnancy can also increase the risk of congenital disabilities, including cleft.
How Are Cleft Palate and Lip Treated?
If your child has a cleft, they will be treated by a team of medical professionals, including a pediatrician, oral surgeon, plastic surgeon, ear, nose, and throat specialist, and an orthodontist near you.
Most of the time, cleft lip surgery can be performed by a specialist in cleft lip and palate orthodontics in NE Calgary when a child is between three to six months of age and should ideally be performed before one year of age. During the procedure, the goal is to maintain both appearance and function. Your child’s surgeon will close the space in the lip by creating flaps of tissue that can then be sutured together to create a normal-looking lip.
Cleft palate surgery is performed similarly but is better performed between nine to twelve months of age.
How Can Cleft Palate or Lip Affect a Child?
There are many issues that can arise due to a child having a cleft. Feeding problems can occur, and your child may require speech therapy to correct speaking challenges. Furthermore, your child may require orthodontic treatment from a specialist in cleft lip and palate orthodontics near you to adjust their teeth and bites. Some forms of cleft can leave the teeth in awkward positions, and an orthodontist in NE Calgary can address this situation before it worsens. As the teeth begin to erupt, the orthodontist can monitor the development of the teeth and create a treatment plan.
Is There a Way to Prevent Cleft Lip or Palate?
While there is no way to entirely prevent cleft, pregnant women can take some precautions to eliminate some of the risk factors that lead to cleft lip and palate. If you are pregnant, ensure that you eat a balanced diet, take the correct vitamins, and do not take medications unless approved by your doctor. Avoid contact with those who are sick and do not participate in drinking, drug use, or smoking.