The shape, as well as the structure of a baby’s face and mouth, start to show up and form in the early weeks of the pregnancy. This is around fifth to the sixth week, it is at this time wherein the two sides of the upper lip fuse together. Furthermore, in between the eighth and the twelfth week, the roof of the mouth will form. however, when any of these processes go wrong, the result may often be a cleft palate or a cleft lip. These conditions are quite common among children, but often times, these are the root of bullying for some. Furthermore, it also causes the children to have lower self-esteem and self-confidence. Good thing is that there are some treatments for cleft palate and cleft lip. If you want to know more about these conditions, feel free to give this article a read.
What is Cleft Palate and Cleft Lip?
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The cleft palate or cleft lips are both birth defects of the mouth and the lip. These conditions mainly occur in the very early stage of pregnancy, while the baby is developing inside the womb of the mother. The cleating may result if there is too little amount of tissue in the lip or the mouth area. Furthermore, it may also be because the tissue that’s present in the said body parts does not properly join together.
The cleft lip is the split or what they call, cleft in the upper lip’s skin. this condition may range in size. From a small and almost unnoticeable hole to a huge opening on the mouth, which may include the top jaw and the top gum.
The cleft palate, on the other hand, is the opening in the root of the mouth. This particular opening may go through the scrawny hard palate through the plump soft palate at the back part of the mouth, in the top row of the teeth, or in both of the parts.
A lot of children may have both a cleft palate and a cleft lip. Furthermore, if the defect only occurs in just one side of the mouth, it is called unilateral. On the other hand, if it involves both of the sides of the mouth, then it will be now called bilateral.
Both the conditions may cause some hindrances for a child, these include the following:
- Self-esteem and social issues
- Hearing impairment
- Language and speech difficulties
- Othodontic and dental problems
- Feeding conditions
What Causes Cleft Palate and Cleft Lip?
The main cause of the cleft lip and cleft palate is not known yet, actually. However, doctors believe that these birth defects may occur because of both environmental and genetic factors. There is a big role in the development of clefts that is being played by genetics. If one or both of the parents pass down the gene that makes the condition to their offspring, then there is a high chance that the child may have it as well.
What mothers do during the pregnancy may also increase the risk of the conditions. The factors that scientists believe may have caused in the onset of the cleft palate and cleft lip include:
- Not getting enough prenatal vitamins like the folic acid
- Being diabetic
- Taking illegal drugs
- Drinking excessive amount of alcohol
- Cigarette smoking
What are the Symptoms of Cleft Palate and Cleft Lip?
Closely all the babies with cleft palate or cleft lip are diagnosed upon birth or even before it. This is since the deficiencies are readily obvious already. In some rare cases of the conditions, a child may have a cleft palate, which may involve only the soft palate and is not that apparent on the initial visual examination. the first indication or symptom of the problem is commonly the difficulty in feeding or the inability to latch on to the mother’s breast or in the nipple of the bottle.
What are the Treatments for Cleft Palate and Cleft Lip?
The treatments for cleft palate and cleft lip will mainly depend on the severity of the case. The treatments for cleft palate and cleft lip will often involve some surgical operations to close the openings and reconstruct the face.
There is a team of specialists that will work with you. For an instance, your child has a problem in speech because of the condition, they might work it out with some speech pathologists.
Surgery: this is preferably performed in the first year of the child. However, some additional reconstructive surgeries may be required well into the teenage years of the child.
Cleft Palate: many doctors usually perform some surgical operations in repairing this condition. Specifically when the child is between the 6th and 18th month.
Cleft Lip: between the 10th week to the 1st year of a child, the cleft lip must be repaired. This will involve sewing the cleft and repair it carefully.