01 July, 2016

The definition of a cleft lip is where the upper lip is split. This together with a cleft palate are both birth defects. A cleft lip happens when the lip does not fuse together properly during the 4th to 17th week of pregnancy. The reason for cleft lips or palates is mostly unidentified, but, it is considered that genetics, hormonal imbalance, deficiencies in nutrition and specific medication was taken within a pregnancy, could be the causes.

With a cleft palate, it is similar to that of a cleft lip, wherein the tissue which goes to make up the roof of the mouth does not connect within the 6th and 9th week of pregnancy. It is possible that the palate of a baby may be apart at the mid-line section or partly or wholly on the palate. A cleft lip is less severe than that of a cleft palate, but, both of these will require surgery to be rectified. Some of the risk factors which can increase the chances of a baby having a cleft lip or palate are considered to be, diabetes, smoking, and some epilepsy medication take within the first trimester of pregnancy.

Problems that occur orally from a cleft palate or lip may affect the baby teeth and adult teeth in their positioning, the number of teeth, their shape, and size. It is common for the clefts to appear between the lateral incisors and cuspid. A cleft lip forms while the baby is in the womb and occurs when both sides of the face fail to knit together. The reasons for this occurrence are unknown, but it is believed that genetics and heredity play a part. Nutritional defects, hormone imbalances and certain medication which is used during pregnancy could also be possible causes. While a baby is in the womb, its upper jaw fails to close together as it should and leaves a gap between the roof of the mouth or palate. Both a cleft lip and palate will require surgery for correction; a cleft palate is considered a more serious condition than that of a lip.  Some of the difficulties encountered by children with a cleft lip are breathing, eating, speech difficulties and some kids even suffer from psychological problems.  A specialist team who will work together to correct this condition include, an ENT Specialist/otolaryngologist (ENT) (ear, nose and throat), plastic and maxillofacial surgeons, oral surgeon, dentist, and orthodontist.

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Cleft Palate / Lip