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Cleft lip and palate formation in children

Posted on02/16/2021 1741

That the baby's lip or mouth does not form properly is due to abnormalities in the gestation stage. Specifically, when the facial structures of the fetus do not close completely. This birth condition is known as "orofacial clefts".

Children may have a cleft lip, cleft palate, or both (cleft lip-palate). Here we will count the difference of each one.

Cleft lip: The cleft lip is produced when the tissues that make up the lip and the palate do not join completely, causing an opening in the upper lip in the center or on both sides, this cleft usually crosses the lip and reaches the nose. It is between 4 and 7 weeks of pregnancy where the baby's lips develop, the body tissues located on each side of the head come together to form the baby's face, the bones and the skin of the upper jaw. That is, the nose and the mouth are joining each other.

Cleft palate: It is when the child is born with an opening in the palate, leaving a hole between the nose and the mouth. It can form on the back or back of the roof of the mouth (the soft palate), or behind the gums (the hard palate).

Main consequences:
-Ear infections.
-Problems to speak clearly.
-Eating problems.
-Hearing problems
-Dental problems.

Causes of cleft lip and palate:

Although doctors do not always know why a baby develops a cleft lip or palate, according to research, this may be related to genetic factors in the parents or environmental factors that the mother has been exposed to during pregnancy. For example, taking some medications, not consuming the amount of nutrients required during pregnancy, exposure to chemical substances, etc. Women diagnosed with diabetes before pregnancy are also at higher risk of having a child with a cleft palate or lip.

How can it be diagnosed?

During pregnancy by means of an ultrasound.


Cleft Lip: It can be treated through surgery where it is recommended to be performed during the first months of life, or in that case, during the first 12 months of life.

Cleft palate: It should be treated by surgery in the first 18 months of life or earlier.

These surgeries improve the appearance of children's faces, also improving breathing, hearing, and language development. Some children may need additional dental treatments, speech therapy, or surgical procedures.
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