Treating Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate to prevent health issues

While a cleft lip & palate can impact the appearance of your child’s face, there is also a range of health issues associated with them. Dr. Kenneth Poznikoff and his team of trained dentists at Riverside Dental Clinic, including an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and an orthodontist, can meet our patients’ needs right here in our Drumheller, Alberta community.

Causes of cleft lip and palate

Orofacial clefts are congenital disabilities occurring when a baby’s lip or mouth are not formed properly during development in the womb. A baby born with a split lip may have difficulty feeding, and later in life, they may have hearing difficulties, speech disorders, or issues with their teeth and facial development. In some cases, these clefts are diagnosed with ultrasound during pregnancy, while others are diagnosed at birth. Some mild clefts may not become apparent until later in life. Orofacial clefts are categorized by their location and the size of the abnormality. The four types of clefts are:

  • Unilateral Incomplete
  • Unilateral Complete
  • Bilateral Complete
  • Microform Cleft

While it is not entirely clear yet what causes changes in a baby’s genes, studies have shown a link between smoking during pregnancy, diabetes, and certain medications used during pregnancy. Your primary care provider can help guide your decisions on the best ways to ensure you have a healthy baby.

How our team can help

Because clefts may present in several different ways, treatment will depend on each individual patient. Surgery is common within the first few months of life, but many children will need additional oral and maxillofacial surgeries. These treatments will not only improve the look of your child’s face but can improve breathing, speaking, eating, and hearing. Your dentist may recommend braces, dental implants, and other treatments to help them develop healthy facial muscles, teeth, and jawbone.

Our team is committed to educating you on the benefits of every type of treatment and ensuring you understand the full scope of each procedure before we proceed. If your child was born with an orofacial cleft, contact our office in Drumheller, AB, today at (833) 575-1855  for a consultation.