Dentistry and Orthodontistry

A cleft lip and palate often create problems with the upper jaw and teeth. This problem can almost always be solved over time by treatment from skilled pediatric dentist. A baby with cleft may have trouble with feeding and may need a feeding appliance, (obturator) this is a plastic device that fits over the roof of the mouth and acts as a palate. It helps your baby create suction for feeding and prevents most food from coming out through the nose and it also helps maintain the arch of the alveolus (gums). Usually, it is worn until the palate is repaired. The dentist will take care of the oral/dental hygiene for several years until it is time for alveolar bone graft (please see surgeries). Quite often, child's upper jaw must be expanded before a bone graft may be done. Your child will be referred to the Orthodontist that can make an expansion device. The Orthodontist will also study x-rays, photographs and models of your child's mouth and will make a treatment plan that is best for your child's needs. Your child will likely be fitted with braces. This phase of treatment usually takes two to three years.