Description

Cleft lip and palate are birth defects that affect the upper lip and the roof of the mouth.

Symptoms

A child may have one or more birth defects. A cleft lip may be just a small notch in the lip. It may also be a complete split in the lip that goes all the way to the base of the nose. A cleft palate can be on one or both sides of the roof of the mouth. It may go the full length of the palate.

Other symptoms include:

  • Change in nose shape (how much the shape changes varies)
  • Poorly aligned teeth

Problems that may be present because of a cleft lip or palate are:

  • Failure to gain weight
  • Feeding problems
  • Flow of milk through nasal passages during feeding
  • Poor growth
  • Repeated ear infections
  • Speech difficulties

What you can expect from therapy

Surgery to close the cleft lip is often done when the child is between 6 weeks and 9 months old. Surgery may be needed later in life if the problem has a big effect on the nose area.

See also: Cleft lip and palate repair

A cleft palate is usually closed within the first year of life so that the child's speech develops normally. Sometimes a prosthetic device is temporarily used to close the palate so the baby can feed and grow until surgery can be done. Continued follow-up may be needed with speech therapists and orthodontists.

Learn more about how HealthReach therapists can help

Schedule your initial consultation today by calling us at 1-262-780-0707.

Click here to see our locations and to find a therapist near you.

Resources

Visit our resource center for videos and more information on occupational, physical and speech therapy.

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KidReach pediatric therapy specialists, Milwaukee, Brookfield, Hales Corners, Wisconsin