Cleft palate is a kind of congenital disfigurement which causes a number of issues and poses a special challenge to the medical experts, as special care is need for the patients with cleft palate. Some of the important development stages like speech production, maxillofacial growth, feeding and dentition are affected.
Cleft lip or Cleft palate can occur together and can occur due to abnormal facial development during the gestation period. It is an opening or a gap and it is the non-fusion of the body's natural structures which form before birth. According to the estimates, 1 among 700 children are born with this deformity and this condition is also known as harelip based on the similarity to the cleft found in the lip of a hare but now it is considered to be derogatory term.
A cleft lip or palate can be successfully treated with the help of surgery especially if they are conducted right after birth or as early as possible. Clefting occurs when there is no enough tissue in the lip or mouth area and the tissue available does not join properly. A cleft lip is a physical separation or more precisely a split on the two sides of the upper lip and looks like a narrow opening or gap in the skin of the upper lip. Often this separation extends beyond the base of the nose and includes bones of the upper jaw and upper gum.
There are three common types of clefts such as :
Cleft lip without a cleft palate
Cleft palate without a cleft lip
Cleft lip and cleft palate together
There are no definitive causes of cleft palate and cleft lip. These conditions cannot be avoided as cleft palate is the believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There appears to be greater chances in the new born of the parent, sibling or relative has an issue.
Another vital cause for this type of condition is the medication taken during pregnancy. There are drugs which comprises of Accutane, anti-seizure/ anticonvulsant drugs and methotrexate, including the drugs which are meant for treating arthritis, cancer and psoriasis, that can cause cleft lip or cleft palate. It may also occur as a result of exposure to virus or chemicals while the fetus is still developing in the womb. In other situations this deformity might be a part of a medical condition.
A cleft of the lip, gum (alveolus) and/or palate in front of the mouth in a child can lead to a number of dental problems. These include the number, size, shape, position of both the permanent teeth and the baby teeth. The teeth which is mainly affected due to this deformity is the area near the cleft mainly the lateral incisors. Clefts occur between the cuspid (eye tooth) and the lateral incisor (In some cases the lateral incisor might be entirely absent, while in other cases there might be a twinning of the lateral incisor so that one is present on each side of the cleft). In other cases the incisor or the teeth might be present but poorly formed due to abnormal shaped crown or tooth. Finally, the teeth in the area of the cleft might be displayed which results in their erupting in odd positions. Sometimes the central incisors on the cleft side might have the same issues as the lateral incisor.
According to the dentists at Modi Dental Clinic in Ashok Vihar, North Delhi a child with cleft palate needs the same regular preventive and restorative care as a child without it. However the child with clefts might have the special needs due to missed, malformed and malpositioned teeth, because they require early evaluation by dentist so know about the needs of the child with a cleft.