What Causes Cleft Lips and Palates?

Understanding the cause of cleft lip and cleft palate conditions can also help you to understand the importance of corrective surgery. Clefts, or separations, in the lip and the hard palate can create significant physical and esthetic challenges.

Fortunately, there are a number of oral surgery and cosmetic dentistry solutions that can restore the function of the lip and palate. In addition, these corrective procedures can enhance one’s appearance and boost self-confidence.

Roughly 1 out of every 800 babies is born each year with a cleft lip, cleft palate, or a combination of both. During the early phases of pregnancy, the face and mouth are formed from several individual parts that eventually fuse together. When these individual parts fail to completely join together, the resulting condition is known as a cleft.

Both the roof of the mouth and the top lip are developed in such a manner that a cleft could occur in vitro. Clefts in the lip, palate, and sometimes the gum tissue can range in severity from a slight separation to a complete separation. Clefts may be observed as a slight notch in the lip to an opening in the roof of the mouth.

There are many theories as to the reason that the components of the face and mouth fail to join together. It is clear, however, that failing to correct the clefts can have far-reaching health and social effects.

An infant with a cleft lip or palate may have difficulty sucking, swallowing, or breathing. As the child ages, he may suffer from impaired speech due to difficulty forming words. Esthetically, a fully formed lip and palate are important for a normal facial appearance.

In most cases, a combination of oral surgery and cosmetic dentistry are required to correct these conditions. An experienced and talented oral surgeon can work together with your family’s physicians and therapist to manage any problems related to the cleft.

There are many different techniques that can be implemented to accomplish cleft surgery. The choice of techniques will vary for each patient. For a professional evaluation and consultation, call the Charlottesville office of Dr. Carlos Rafael Ibañez at 434-295-0911 to schedule an appointment today.

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