July is Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month. In honor of this we want to share with you the specific oral health challenges that patients with cleft lip and palate face.
Patients who have cleft lip or palate face dental issues regarding the number, shape, size, and position of their teeth. Often times children with a cleft require more dental work to help correct teeth that may have come in malformed or malpositioned. Teeth do not come in normally and require the work of multiple specialists to correct the problem.
An orthodontist will likely be brought in as well as an oral surgeon, maxillofacial prosthodontist, and a general dentist. This unique team will work together to create teeth that look and function normally for the patient.
Many patients with cleft have issues eating and speaking. A maxillofacial prosthodontist uses artificial teeth and dental appliances to help with the speaking and eating functionality of teeth. Many procedures and trips to the dentist and doctor go into repairing a cleft. Dental extractions are often needed as well as braces to help align the teeth. It can seem daunting to patients and to their loved ones but all the work helps to create a functional and normal appearance.
Cleft lip and palate patients should also follow a regular oral health routine that includes flossing, brushing, and fluoride use along with regular visits to a dentist. Doing this helps them ward off potential gum disease or gum infections.
Learn more about Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention month here.