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What Are Cleft Lips and Palates? 

Teeth With Cleft Palate

Cleft lip and palate conditions present distinct challenges requiring a multidisciplinary care approach. As orthodontists, we can offer various treatments to help manage and treat these conditions, especially when they interfere with oral health. In today’s article, we’ll briefly discuss cleft palates and lips, how they affect oral health, and what treatment options can help improve and treat these conditions for your well-being. 

What Are Cleft Lips and Palates? 

Cleft lips and cleft palates are congenital conditions that occur during fetal development when the lip or the roof of the mouth does not fully close, resulting in a visible opening or gap. 

  • Cleft Lip: A cleft lip is a separation or gap in the upper lip, varying in size and severity. It can extend to the nose and lead to a visible split in the lip. It can occur on one or both sides of the lip and even involve the gums or underlying structures. 
  • Cleft Palates: A cleft palate is a gap or opening in the mouth’s roof, known as the palate, which involves the soft palate, the hard palate, or both. It can range in size and affect the ability to speak and eat properly. 

Both conditions can significantly impact facial aesthetics and functional aspects of speech, eating, and oral hygiene. These conditions can lead to various oral health challenges, affecting both the teeth and surrounding structures in the following ways:

  • Dental Misalignments: Cleft lips and palates can disrupt the proper alignment of the teeth. 
  • Tooth Eruption Issues: Children with cleft palates may experience delays in the eruption of their permanent teeth
  • Tooth Decay and Cavities: Cleft lips and palates can make it challenging to maintain proper oral hygiene.
  • Gum and Periodontal Problems: The gaps in the palate can affect the gums’ attachment to the teeth, making them more susceptible to infections and inflammation.
  • Speech Difficulties: Cleft palates can interfere with properly closing the nasal and oral passages during speech. 
  • Feeding Challenges: Infants born with cleft lips and palates may encounter difficulties in breastfeeding or bottle feeding.
  • Facial Development: Severe cases of cleft lips and palates can affect the facial structures, potentially leading to facial abnormalities.

When it comes to orthodontic treatment, addressing problems with dental misalignments is often necessary. Orthodontists can treat patients with cleft lips or palates using braces, aligners, and other oral appliances to help patients achieve proper tooth alignment and a more well-balanced bite. 

Visit Massih Orthodontics For a Dental Consultation Today

If you or a loved one is seeking specialized orthodontic care for cleft lip and palate, we encourage you to contact us. Schedule a consultation with us by calling Massih Orthodontics at (818) 507-1515 or visiting our clinic in Glendale, CA. We are dedicated to guiding you toward improved oral health and boosted self-confidence. At Massih Orthodontics, we are passionate about creating and nurturing smiles, and we eagerly look forward to serving you with exceptional orthodontic care.

Dr. Karmen Massih Inspired by orthodontics at the age of 10, Dr. Karmen Massih earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine at UCLA's School of Dentistry. After earning her certificates in orthodontics at the University of Pittsburgh, she returned to her hometown of Glendale, CA, to begin Massih Orthodontics, a practice dedicated to transforming smiles for people of all ages.