The treatment of a child born with cleft lip and/or cleft palate begins at birth and continues into young adulthood. The neonate with cleft palate will require special feeding techniques in order to ensure adequate caloric intake and weight gain. Surgical repair is begun in early infancy, and secondary surgical procedures may be required throughout growth and development. Cleft lip treatment and/or cleft palate treatment does not end, however, with operative repair. Comprehensive care of the child with cleft lip and/or palate includes expert professional attention to speech and hearing, dental and orthodontic needs, and psychosocial well-being.
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Cleft Lip Surgery
The goal of cleft lip surgery is to restore normal appearance and function to the upper lip. Cleft lip surgery is usually recommended at three to four months of life. In most cases, the tissue in the area around the cleft is rearranged to close the opening. An important part of the surgery involves detaching and re-positioning the muscle of the lip to recreate the circular muscle around the mouth. Read more about cleft lip surgery.
Cleft Palate Surgery
Cleft palate repair is typically performed on infants that are between 6 and 18 months of age. Since the primary goal of repairing the palate is to avoid any abnormal speech development, the surgery is scheduled earlier before the child develops much speech. Read more about cleft palate surgery.
Speech-Language Cleft Lip and Palate Treatment
The majority of children born with cleft palate will need speech-language therapy at some point in their life. A speech-language pathologist is the healthcare professional that provides speech-language therapy, which may be in the medical setting, school setting, private clinic, or home-based intervention program. The goals of speech-language therapy are to provide the child with the knowledge and skills to achieve normal speech and communication for their age or developmental level. Read more about speech-language cleft lip and palate treatment.
Craniofacial Orthodontic Treatment Program
Facial differences caused by a genetic condition can impact a child’s physical, social and emotional development. Our Orthodontic Treatment Program offers a compassionate approach to comprehensive care, provided by experts who understand the dental development of these children as they grow. Treatment of children with facial differences may start as early as one week old and continues through adolescents into early adulthood with two to three different phases of treatment. Our state-of-the-art facilities offer cutting edge technology and the latest innovations in orthodontic treatment to ensure your child receives the most efficient and effective care.Read more about the Craniofacial Orthodontic Treatment Program.