Cleft lip and cleft palate are oral and facial conditions that result when the two sides of the face do not meet fully or properly during a baby’s development in utero. This causes a gap or cleft in the roof of the mouth, the lip, or both. The opening can cause complications for a baby’s eating, speaking, and breathing. Additionally, children with cleft palate are at a higher risk for early dental problems, inner ear issues, and problems with digestion. Luckily, surgical intervention and other treatments throughout childhood can correct most cases of cleft lip and palate.
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon is usually a crucial part of your child’s treatment team for cleft lip or palate. Dr. Robert Bryan and Dr. Jeremy Goodson in Oklahoma City, OK, are experts in facial reconstructive treatment and have extensive experience working with pediatric patients. Cleft lip and palate conditions usually require at least one surgery for treatment, and in some cases, multiple surgeries may be necessary at various life stages.
Surgical Treatments for Cleft Lip and Palate
Typically, the first surgery to repair a cleft lip or palate occurs within the baby’s first 12 months. For a cleft lip, this surgery involves closing the gap between the lips to improve function for normal eating, speaking, and breathing. We will perform the procedure in a way that creates the most pleasing aesthetic results.
A cleft palate requires more surgeries later in life to close entirely. The initial surgery involves forming a working palate to prevent fluid buildup in the ears and help the teeth and facial bones develop properly. A functional palate will also make eating much easier. Later in life, when the child is about 8 years old, they may need a bone graft to support their permanent teeth growing in.
In some cases, more surgeries may be necessary to improve the appearance of the lip and nose, adjust the alignment of the jaw, or close any opening between the mouth and the nose. Then, when the face is almost finished growing and changing, final repairs of scars or other cosmetic adjustments can be made.
Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Surgeries in Oklahoma City, OK
At Oral Surgery Specialists of Oklahoma, we understand that parents want the best possible care for their children. Our oral surgeons are experts at restoring the balance between the facial structures. Drs. Bryan and Goodson understand how to care for children whose faces are constantly growing and changing, and they maintain the highest licensure available to dental professions to administer anesthesia and monitor their patients during surgery. To learn more about cleft lip and palate treatment, contact our office in Oklahoma City, OK, for more information.