Cleft Lip & Palate
Improve the Appearance and Function of the Mouth
Cleft lip and cleft palate can develop in early pregnancy when the two sides of a fetus’ face are forming. It is possible to have both a cleft lip and a cleft palate, as well as one or the other. The surgery to repair a cleft lip is slightly less involved than the surgery to repair a cleft palate. Both treatments offer beautiful and functional results for patients and should begin as early as possible. It is also recommended that children be treated early so that they can benefit from normal speech, eating, and breathing as they grow.
Drs. Lieblich, Fletcher, Gill, and Ambrogio work closely with parents and pediatricians to form treatment plans that consider optimal facial aesthetics, growth, and development for long-term functionality. Our surgical team has extensive experience treating cleft lip and palate and has specialty training in the safe and effective administration of anesthesia for our pediatric patients. Our team will continuously monitor your child during their procedures, providing the care and expertise that your child deserves.
If you have been referred to our practice or would like to explore treatment options for your child with a cleft lip or cleft palate, contact our office today. We are located in Avon, Glastonbury, and Enfield, CT.
How is a Cleft Lip or a Cleft Palate Treated?
The process for treating cleft palate and cleft lip will span several years of the patient’s life, preferably commencing in the child’s first year. A series of surgeries may be required throughout childhood and adolescence to account for the child’s development, depending on the type of condition they have and the surgery they require.
Cleft Lip Treatment
Your child’s medical care team will generally schedule your child’s initial cleft lip surgery before the age of 3 months. This procedure will carefully close the divide between the two sides of the upper lip and can offer dramatic improvement in your infant’s ability to feed properly and later will allow your child to develop normal speech. Additional surgery may occur to make final adjustments to the area before your child embarks on adolescence and begins to grow and develop more quickly.
Cleft Palate Treatment
The surgery for a cleft palate—or when there is a cleft palate along with a cleft lip—is a bit more complex than a cleft lip alone. A cleft palate surgery involves the bone at the roof of the mouth (the palate), and bone requires more healing time and more involved repair than soft tissues. The initial cleft palate procedure will usually be scheduled when your child is between 7 and 18 months old and will repair the palate and any abnormal openings that have occurred from the oral cavity into the nasal cavity.
This procedure improves breathing and oral function and will help your child to have normal speech development. Later, there may be an additional surgery needed to account for your child’s growth. Additionally, when your child is approaching the age when the permanent teeth begin to emerge, another surgery is often required to prepare the mouth for these changes. This procedure usually occurs around age 8 or 9.
Trust an Expert With Your Child’s Health
As oral and maxillofacial surgeons, Dr. Lieblich, Dr. Fletcher, Dr. Gill, and Dr. Ambrogio understand the growth of the face and how the facial bones, muscles, and other structures develop over time in pediatric patients. They are trained in pediatric anesthesia and life support to ensure that your child is safe throughout their treatment. If you have further questions about the treatment of cleft palate and cleft lip at our practice, we invite you to contact us. Our surgeons are available to meet with you and your family to discuss treatment and create a personalized surgical plan for your child.
Our office proudly offers EXPAREL®, the safe and long-lasting pain management option. It provides comfort following surgery and reduces or eliminates the need for narcotic medication. Learn more about EXPAREL.
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Central Connecticut's Oral Health Specialists
Our team of board-certified oral surgeons are the experts you can trust to deliver outstanding results.