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Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate

Cleft lip and cleft palate are two common but markedly different birth defects that affect about one in every 700 newborns. These developmental deformities occur in the first trimester of a woman’s pregnancy; cleft lip in week seven, and cleft palate in week nine. Cleft lip and cleft palate occur simultaneously in about half of all cases, and separately in approximately a quarter of all cases.

A cleft lip is essentially a separation of the two sides of the lip. In many cases, this separation will include the bone and gum of the upper jaw. 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.

The cleft deformities are categorized according to their location in the mouth and the size of the defect.

Unilateral Incomplete: A cleft on only one side of the mouth that does not extend 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 affecting both sides of the mouth which each extend as far as the nostril.

Microform Cleft: A mild case of cleft lip which may simply form a bump on the lip, or a small scar line extending toward the nostril.

Reasons for cleft lip and cleft palate correction

Cleft lip and cleft palate are highly treatable deformities, though it may take a whole team of different specialists to fully treat the condition. The prognosis for sufferers who receive corrective treatment is excellent; medically, physically, dentally, and emotionally. There are however, a series of risks for those who do not receive corrective treatment:

  • Speech – Children born with either cleft deformity are likely to experience speech problems unless treatment is sought. Speech problems are detrimental to a child’s social and emotional development.
  • Feeding – Babies with a cleft palate or a complete cleft lip have problems drinking milk. The gap means that liquids can pass from the mouth to the nasal cavity. This can be dangerous unless the child is fed sitting upright.
  • Hearing Loss & Frequent Ear Infections – A cleft palate can cause the eustachian tubes (connecting the throat to the ear) to be incorrectly positioned. The fluid build up which results from this poor positioning can lead to painful middle ear infections. Severe and prolonged ear infections can lead to complete hearing loss.
  • Dental Issues – Abnormalities in the upper jaw, gum, or arch can cause teeth to become impacted (unable to erupt) or absent completely. The shape of the mouth might not permit proper brushing which can lead to periodontal disease and tooth decay.

What does cleft lip and cleft palate treatment involve?

Initially, surgeons will work to close the cleft openings in the first six months of the child’s life. Unfortunately, this does not cure the dental problems that occur as a result of cleft lip and cleft palate defects. The dentist will perform a thorough examination of the teeth surrounding the deformity. Panoramic x-rays will generally be taken to allow the dentist to determine the best course of treatment.

The dentist may implant teeth to fill resulting gaps, and/or place braces on the teeth in order to correctly align the upper arch. These treatments will restore functionality to the jaw and improve the aesthetic appearance of the smile. Dental restoration work can generally be performed under local anesthetic and will not require an overnight stay.

If your child was born with any cleft deformity, we strongly encourage you to contact our office to schedule a consultation.

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Testimonials

Dear Dr. Muduli ,

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the excellent care and attention given to me during my office visit. I really appreciate your kind consideration and review of my medical condition. The time taken to explain to me the various options and your expert opinion is greatly appreciated. You have demonstrated to me your wisdom and knowledge of the profession. Once again, thanks for helping me and giving me high quality care and attention.

Peter

Dear Dr. Muduli,
I will write to you with warm and sincere thanks for extracting my wisdom teeth. I must say that you exemplify a superior level of professionalism, proficiency and confidence when you work. I was initially very apprehensive at the start of the procedure. However you and your staff were able to relax and provide me reassurance. You performed outstandingly and for that I am very grateful.
Please know that I will proudly recommend you to anyone that I should encounter who may require your services. You exhibit truly iconic poise and are a model to be replicated. Despite this, I do sincerely hope I never have to see you again. Once more, my deepest thanks and best regards.

Christopher

Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity

“The quintessential professional in his field; Dr. Muduli's attention to detail, his superior skill, and unparalleled bedside manner make him a rare find in a competitive and sometimes confusing arena of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. My first experience with his professionalism and skill was when Dr. Muduli's comforting and professional approach put my son at ease while treating him for a difficult procedure to remove significantly impacted wisdom teeth. At the time his practice was local to me. The results were excellent. I was so pleased with how he cared for my son that when I needed extensive maxillofacial treatment I made the trip to his new office 23 miles from my home. A worthwhile trip I would readily do again. Bobby is a health professional I trust with my children and will gladly go out of my way in terms of travel for his services. I highly recommend him.” November 8, 2011

Francis

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