Cleft palate is a relatively common birth
defect among Canadian children and can have an impact on how your child may
receive dental care. Although certain practices during pregnancy increase the
risk of a cleft lip or palate, they also tend to run in families and are more
common than you might think. If you are a parent of a child with a cleft lip or
palate, contact your local kid-friendly dentist in Orangeville to receive more
information about how you can properly care for your child's oral health.
is a Cleft Lip/Palate?
The word cleft simply means an opening or
space made by a split. A cleft lip happens when there is a physical split in
the upper lip on one or both sides of the centre. This separation sometimes
extends beyond the base of the nose and may include the bones of the upper jaw
or upper gum. A cleft palate is when there is a split or opening at the roof of
the mouth, also known as the palate. A cleft lip and palate are often
associated with each other.
does it affect your child's dental care?
Although a cleft lip/palate can often be
treated with surgery within the first year of life, it may affect the amount,
size, and position of your child's teeth. Children with this condition often
have a higher number of cavities and likely require orthodontic services due to
malformed teeth. Oral surgery may be required if there are issues with
permanent teeth erupting properly. A kid-friendly dentist will be able to
provide routine dental care if your child has this condition but many other
health care team members may be involved such as: orthodontist, oral surgeon,
and speech pathologist.
does it mean for future dental care?
A child's dental care with a cleft is
similar to those without a cleft. However, since there may be early
complications with tooth malformation in the early stages, it is important that
children with cleft lip/palates undergo early screening and assessment in order
to best treat their needs. If early dental care and assessments are performed,
a child with a cleft can often live with health teeth. They may also need a
bone graft performed in order to fill the upper gum line and support adult
teeth while stabilizing the jaw. After permanent teeth come in, they may
require braces to help straighten out teeth for the future. Just like any other
child, a healthy mouth requires proper and consistent cleanings, good nutrition
practices, and regular fluoride treatments.
with a cleft lip or palate require early and regular dental checkup to assess
their needs. Generally, kids who suffer from this condition follow the same
dental hygiene practices as kids who don't including: good nutrition habits,
proper cleaning with a soft bristle brush, and regular fluoride treatments.
Your dentist will be involved in the routine checkups while other healthcare professionals
may be required for surgical treatments and speech development.