There are more than 200,000 cases of cleft palates per year. Fortunately, this condition is treatable. Dr. Donald W Linck II and our team offer treatments for cleft palates in Pleasant Hill, California, to help improve not only your appearance, but also your quality of life. Give us a call today at 925-933-0435 to learn more about cleft palate treatment and schedule a consultation with our orthodontist.
Cleft palates are a common birth defect, and can occur alone or as part of a genetic condition or syndrome. Clefting occurs during the early stages of pregnancy when there is not enough tissue in the mouth or lip area, and when the tissue that is available does not join together correctly. A cleft palate is a physical split or separation of the two sides of the upper lip and a portion of the palate, and appears as a narrow opening in the skin of the upper lip, often including the bones of the upper jaw and gum. It can occur on either or both sides of the mouth.
There are several problems associated with cleft palates, most notably difficulties in eating and in speaking. The separation of the palate can cause foods and liquids to pass from the mouth back through the nose. Special baby bottles and man-made palates are available to help deal with this problem until corrective surgery can be performed. Cleft palates also cause problems in speaking – it can be difficult for your voice to carry well, or your voice may take on a nasal sound, making speech difficult to understand.
Cleft palates also cause an increased risk of ear infection and hearing loss, as people with clefts are more prone to fluid buildup in the inner ear, and of dental problems due to displaced, missing, extra, or malformed teeth.
Treatments for cleft palates usually require multiple surgeries over many years, beginning when the patient is an infant. Bone grafting may be necessary at some point, as well as braces. Additional surgeries may be performed to improve the appearance of the face, close any openings, improve breathing, stabilize or realign the jaw, and eventually to remove facial scaring. Surgeries or speech therapy might also be needed to help correct difficulties in speaking.
For more information on cleft palates and cleft palate treatments, please contact our office today to speak with our caring orthodontist. We are always happy to help you!