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Cleft Lip and Palate

Cleft lip and palate is a common congenital malformation that affects the development of the mouth and face. At Pensacola Oral and Facial Surgery, Dr. Wallender and his experienced team are dedicated to providing compassionate care and comprehensive treatment for patients with cleft lip and palate.

What is Cleft Lip and Palate?

Cleft lip and palate is a congenital condition that occurs when the tissues of the face do not develop appropriately during fetal development. This results in a gap or opening in the nose, lip, gums, and/or palate that can range from a small notch to a complete separation.

Cleft lip and palate can occur alone or together, and can affect one or both sides of the face. The condition can cause a range of problems, including difficulty with feeding, speech, hearing, and dental development, as well as cosmetic concerns.

Before cleft lip/ Palate

Common Oral and Facial Pathologies

The exact cause of cleft lip and palate is not known, but it is believed to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some of the factors that may increase the risk of cleft lip and palate include:

● Family history of the condition

● Exposure to certain medications or toxins during pregnancy

● Maternal smoking or alcohol consumption during pregnancy

● Nutritional deficiencies during pregnancy

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis of cleft lip and palate can occur shortly after birth, although in some cases it may be detected during prenatal ultrasound. Treatment of cleft lip and palate typically involves a team approach, including a pediatrician, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, orthodontist, speech and language pathologist, and other specialists as needed.

The goal of treatment is to address the functional and cosmetic issues associated with cleft lip and palate, and may involve a combination of surgical and non-surgical interventions, depending on the severity of the condition.

Before & After Gallery

unilateral

bilateral

Surgical Treatment

Surgical treatment of cleft lip and palate typically begins in infancy and may involve multiple procedures over several years. Some of the most common surgical procedures used to treat cleft lip and palate include:

● Lip repair: This procedure involves closing the gap in the lip and restoring a more normal appearance.

● Palate repair: This procedure involves closing the gap in the palate and reconstructing the muscles important in the development of speech and language.

● Alveolar bone graft: This procedure involves the placement of bone in a gap present in the upper jaw. This procedure is important in providing bony support for developing dentition.

● Orthognathic surgery: This procedure may be used to correct jaw deformities that can result from cleft palate.

Non-Surgical Treatment

In addition to surgery, non-surgical treatments may be used to address other issues associated with cleft lip and palate. Some of these treatments may include:

● Feeding support: Infants with cleft lip and palate may require specialized feeding equipment or techniques to ensure adequate nutrition.

● Speech therapy: Children with cleft lip and palate may experience speech difficulties that can be addressed with speech therapy.

● Dental and orthodontic care: Children with cleft lip and palate may require dental and orthodontic care to address issues with dental development and alignment.

The prognosis for children with cleft lip and palate is generally good, especially with early diagnosis and treatment. With appropriate medical and surgical care, children with cleft lip and palate can lead thriving and healthy lives.

DynaCleft® System

Developed in collaboration with plastic surgeons, orthodontists, and cleft palate teams, the DynaCleft® System gently guides and supports facial tissues to improve nasal symmetry and better position a cleft lip and palate for optimal surgical results. The DynaCleft system simplifies and improves the pre-surgical positioning of the lip and palate for improved cosmetic and functional outcomes.