A cleft lip is a separation of the two sides of the lip, which affects about one in every 700 newborns. A cleft palate occurs when the sides of the palate fail to “fuse” as the fetus is developing, which results in an opening in the roof of the mouth.
Unilateral Incomplete: A cleft on solely one side of the mouth that does not spread as far as the nostril.
Unilateral Complete: A cleft on only one side of the mouth that extends into the corresponding nostril.
Bilateral Complete: Larger clefts that affects both sides of the mouth. Both extend as far as the nostril.
Microform Cleft: A minor case of cleft lip, which may result in a bump on the lip, or a small scar line extending toward the nostril.
What does cleft lip and cleft palate affect?
Speech: Children with untreated cleft deformity are bound to experience speech
problems, which are harmful to a child’s social and emotional development.
Feeding: Babies with a cleft palate or a complete cleft lip have problems drinking milk when the child is not fed sitting upright, since liquids can pass from the mouth to the nasal cavity.
Ear Infections & Hearing Loss: A cleft palate can cause the eustachian tubes that connect the throat to the ear to be incorrectly placed. The fluid build up can lead to throbbing middle ear infections, which can potentially lead to complete hearing loss.
Dental Issues: Defects in the upper jaw, gum, or arch can cause teeth to become impacted or totally absent. Periodontal disease and tooth decay may also occur, since the shape of the mouth may lead to improper brushing.