An Overview of Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate

Girl Before and After cleft lip surgery

Blog Highlights:

  • These birth defects happen early in fetal development
  • It is possible for both defects to appear on the same individual
  • Individuals who have a cleft lip and or cleft palate can also suffer from other problems
  • Surgery may be able to fix both birth defects

Birth defects may come in the form of a cleft lip or a cleft palate. A cleft lip is a condition where the upper lip of the baby is split, not having been able to join together while the child was still inside the womb. A split on the roof of the mouth however, is referred to as a cleft palate. It is possible for one or both of these birth defects to appear on the same individual. These defects actually happen during the early stages of fetal development, they can occur due to genetics, or due to different factors that the mother might have gone through during pregnancy.

Individuals who are suffering from cleft lip and or cleft palate can also suffer from the following:

  • Eating difficulties
  • Speech impediment
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Ear infections

Surgery may be able to correct a cleft lip and a cleft palate. Typically performed at 3 to 6 months of age, more than one surgery may be needed depending on the severity of the defect. Even though minor clefting can be overlooked at first, cleft lip and cleft palate defects can be diagnosed at birth. You can see your physician or dentist for more information about these types of birth defects and for help whenever a cleft is suspected.