Cleft lip and palate are some of the most common birth conditions that affect a baby’s mouth and face. Usually, an oral surgeon is a part of a treatment team to treat cleft lip or cleft palate, along with speech therapists, ear and nose specialists, and other medical professionals. Our surgeons offer consultations and treatment for cleft lip and cleft palate at our offices in Los Angeles, CA, and Bakersfield, CA.
A cleft lip or palate develops during early pregnancy. When the two sides of the face develop, each side forms separately before joining. Sometimes, the two sides of the roof of the mouth, the upper lip, or both don’t fuse together properly, leaving an opening or cleft. Cleft lip and palate can cause problems for children when trying to eat and speak normally.
It’s important to treat these conditions as soon as possible to prevent digestion problems, issues with the inner ear, and other related conditions. Luckily, most children with cleft lip and palate can achieve normal eating, speaking, and appearance with treatment.
Cleft Lip Treatment
Typically, cleft lip surgery is done when the child is roughly three months old. The goal of the surgery is to bring the two sides of the lip together and restore the function and appearance of the mouth. If the nostrils have also been affected by the cleft, your surgeon may address the nose during this procedure or in a later surgery. In some cases, more than one surgery is necessary throughout a child’s life to fully repair the cleft as the face develops.
Cleft Palate Treatment
Cleft palate treatment requires more extensive treatment than cleft lip alone. Usually, the initial surgery occurs between the ages of 7 and 18 months. This surgery is meant to form a functional palate and close the opening between the mouth and the nasal cavity. Sometimes a small opening between the palate and nasal cavity reopens and must be repaired. Additional surgeries may be needed later in a child’s life (usually between ages 8 and 12 years old) to adjust the palate more and prepare for the growth of the permanent teeth.
Cleft Lip and Palate Treatment at Los Angeles Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
Our surgeons have years of surgical training and experience performing surgeries to correct conditions of the jaws and face. We understand that parents only want the best care for their children, and our staff is trained to treat patients of all ages with care, including pediatric cases. Pediatric cases require an understanding of the future growth of a child, and our surgeons understand how to treat children in a caring, compassionate manner. To learn more about cleft lip and palate treatment at our practice, feel free to contact one of our offices in Los Angeles, CA, or Bakersfield, CA. One of our staff members will be happy to help you.