When you are anticipating the birth of your child, you never expect them to be born with a defect, like a cleft palate. Although you may never plan to find yourself in this situation, it occurs more often than you might think. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 2,650 babies are born each year in the U.S. with the defect. To correct the issues that it may cause, your dentist in Boiling Springs can help.
What is a Cleft Palate?
While it is often not widely discussed, there are thousands of families in the same situation as yourself. To help raise awareness about it, July is National Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness & Prevention Month.
A cleft palate is a form of an orofacial defect that occurs between the 6th and 9th week of pregnancy when the roof of the mouth develops. It results when the tissue that makes up the palate does not join correctly, resulting in an opening in the front or back of the palate. In some cases, it may affect the entire roof of the mouth.
It is not uncommon for babies to also be born with a cleft lip when the palate is affected. This results when the lips do not join completely before birth, leading to an opening in the upper lip or nose.
When the defects are not corrected, it can lead to feeding difficulties, especially with a cleft palate. The baby will not be able to suck properly because the roof of the mouth is not fully formed. If it is not corrected early, it can lead to a delay in speech or speaking abnormalities. In some cases, the ears can be affected as well, increasing the risk for infections. Over time, it may lead to orthodontic issues and oral health complications, which will require intervention from a Boling Springs dentist.
How is a Cleft Palate Treated?
To correct the issue, a surgery is needed to close the opening. It is often recommended to have it performed within the first few months after birth to prevent any long-term complications.
During the surgery, a plastic surgeon will connect the muscles of the soft palate and arrange the tissues to close the opening. After the opening is closed, you may need to work closely with a wide team of professionals, including your dentist, speech therapist, or ENT physician to resolve any complications that may result from the defect.
Cleft Palate Repair
If your baby was born with a cleft palate or lip, there are many solutions available to correct the defect to improve their quality of life.
About Dr. Thomas Neslund
Dr. Thomas Neslund has provided comprehensive dental care to the community since 1998. In addition to general dentistry, he offers many areas of specialty care, including restorative, endodontic, surgical, and pediatric care. Due to his experience and qualifications, he can help patients of all ages achieve a healthy, beautiful smile—even those with unique situations. If your child has a cleft palate, Dr. Neslund can help. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation.