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Cleft lip and palate: causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Cleft lip and palate are among the most common congenital disabilities in Asian, Latino, and Native American children. These defects can develop together or separately; on the one hand; the cleft lip refers to the incomplete development of the upper lip; in the case of the cleft palate, it presents a fissure in the palate, which communicates the mouth with the nasal cavity, it can also appear that the bell is divided. At FastlyHealwe, explain the causes and treatments of cleft lip and palate.

Causes of cleft lip and palate

The causes of cleft lip and palate are due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors, such as the use of medications, alcohol, and tobacco during pregnancy; there are greater chances of suffering from this condition if there is a history in your family. During the first three months of pregnancy, the upper palate and lip come together; when this does not occur, it is believed to be due to factors that react with specific genes and interfere with the normal development of the lip and the closure of the palate.

On the other hand, there are three types of slits:

  • Cleft lip without cleft palate.
  • Cleft palate without a cleft lip.
  • Cleft lip and palate

Cleft lip and palate related problems

In addition to physical appearance, cleft lip and palate present other problems; this has to do with the shape and extent of the cleft and fissure:

  • Changes in the form of the nose.
  • Misaligned teeth.
  • The cleft lip goes to the base of the nose.
  • Cleft palate on both sides or in its entirety.
  • Bifid bell (divided in two).

This condition can bring complications such as:

  • Problems are gaining weight.
  • Milk flow through the nose when the baby feeds.
  • Constant ear infections
  • Delays in growth.
  • Difficulties in speech development.

Cleft lip and palate treatment

Cleft lip and palate can be diagnosed on a prenatal ultrasound. The good news is that this condition can be treated through reconstructive surgery when the child is between 12 and 18 months old. This consists of extracting tissue from both sides of the mouth and, in this way, reconstructing the palate; the idea of ​​this intervention is to reduce the health problems that this entails.

Other surgery may have to be done throughout the child’s life, but it depends on how severe the cleft is or if it has a significant effect on the nose area. It is necessary for the child with this condition to receive orthodontic treatment, as this facilitates the speech process in case of tooth misalignment.


Children with this condition are more likely to lose hearing because fluid builds up in their ears, as the eustachian tubes do not properly drain fluid from the middle ear to the throat.

On the other hand, feeding can be a complication; in the case of a cleft lip, it will make it difficult for the baby to suck the milk from the mother’s breast, and the cleft palate will cause it to go into the nasal cavity. In any case, your doctor will indicate to you some devices that can help you facilitate the baby’s feeding.


Most children have a reasonably satisfactory recovery; you must be very strict with visits to the dentist and ear examinations to detect any problems in time. On the other hand, it is advisable to go to a speech therapist if the child has speech problems after surgery.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Cleft lip and cleft palate: causes and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Wellbeing category .

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