Craniofacial Orthodontics – Cleft Lip and Palate
What is Craniofacial Orthodontics?
Craniofacial orthodontics is a branch of orthodontics that specializes in treating people who have birth abnormalities such as cleft lip and palate. To design treatment for cleft lip and palate, as well as other jaw and face anomalies, our orthodontist will collaborate with a team of speech pathologists, oral surgeons, and craniofacial plastic surgeons. A craniofacial orthodontist studies tooth and jaw development and growth as part of a craniofacial team. He or she is in charge of the non-surgical treatment of jaw position, as well as the pre and post-operative treatment of jaw surgery, plus the monitoring of growth using X-rays and models.
What is a Cleft Lip and Palate?
Cleft lip and cleft palate are facial abnormalities in which the components of the face that make up the upper lip and mouth do not fuse properly before birth, resulting in a split upper lip and mouth. Splits in the roof of the mouth, often known as the palate, can also occur. When there isn’t enough tissue in the mouth or lip area, and the tissue that is there doesn’t come together properly, clefting occurs. While the abnormality develops in the early stages of embryonic development, the etiology is usually unclear. However, a relationship between genetics and maternal environmental exposures during pregnancy appears to be a possible reason.
Cleft Lip and Palate are not only aesthetic issues but can also affect your health in other ways
- Problems in Eating – Food and liquids can travel from the mouth back into the nose if there is a separation or opening in the palate. Patients can wear specially made prostheses to assist maintain fluids moving downhill into the stomach while they wait for surgery, ensuring that they get enough nutrients.
- Speech Difficulties – Children may find it difficult to talk effectively since their top lip and palate are not fully developed, and when they do, they may emit a nasal sound. A speech pathologist may be able to solve these challenges since speech might be difficult to understand.
- Ear Infections – A cleft lip and palate can cause a buildup of fluid in the middle ear, increasing the risk of ear infections and, if not treated appropriately, even hearing is affected. Small tubes may be put in the eardrums to aid fluid evacuation and avoid infections.
- Dental Issues – Children with cleft lip and palate are more likely to have missing, misshapen, or misplaced teeth, which can lead to cavities and other dental and orthodontic problems.
Cleft lip and palate are almost often treated with surgery, which is where your craniofacial orthodontist and a team of experts step in. Depending on the severity of the situation, many surgeries may be required. Surgery is frequently performed on children between the ages of three and six months.