What Is Craniofacial Orthodontics and How Does It Help to Treat Cleft Lip and Palate?

What Is Craniofacial Orthodontics and How Does It Help to Treat Cleft Lip and Palate?

Jun 15, 2017

What is craniofacial orthodontics?

Craniofacial orthodontics focuses on treating patients affected by birth defects such as cleft lip and palate. These often require medical, surgical, and orthodontic help. Dr. Durrett from Durrett Orthodontics in Tampa, FL is experienced and passionate about helping individuals through craniofacial orthodontics. She works along with a team of surgeons to help treat each individual case.

What is cleft lip and palate, and how does it occur?

When a child is born with an opening in the lip or roof of their mouth, this is known as a cleft lip or palate. This occurs when the pieces don’t go properly together during the beginning of the pregnancy. Within the first 10 weeks, a baby’s bones and tissues are being fused together. Both cleft lips and palates can vary in size and length.

How are clefts treated?

Typically, one child will require a team of doctors to help treat their cleft lip or palate. A cleft lip surgery is done before the child reaches one year of age. The ideal age is between three to six months. A surgeon will fuse the tissue together to improve function and appearance. A cleft palate surgery should occur before the child reaches 18 months. There are a variety of procedures that can be done to treat a cleft palate.

How can cleft lip or palate affect a child?

Oftentimes, feeding can be more difficult for children with a cleft lip or palate. It can also lead to difficulties with their speech and may require a speech therapist for help. Further orthodontic treatment is typically required as well.