Cleft Palate Timonium, MD

Cleft lip and cleft palate are conditions affecting approximately 1 in 1,050 babies on average. Babies can be born with a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or both. The incidence of clefting is higher in babies of Asian/Pacific, Latino, or Native American descent.

A cleft lip or palate can occur on one side or both sides of the mouth. It is a fetal development abnormality that can sometimes be diagnosed during an ultrasound in the second trimester of pregnancy. In some cases, the cleft is very small and not identified until after birth. Although a cleft lip or palate can present initial developmental difficulties, most patients will enjoy healthy, normal development wth the support of a series of surgical corrections and other treatments.
orthodontic treatment for cleft palate in timonium md

Cleft Palate Treatment: the path to a smile.

Early evaluation and strategic planning in the infant stage will create a foundation for treatment success. Dr. Izadi has more than 30 years of experience in this field and likes to examine the patient before the child has any teeth. The purpose of this appointment is to assess facial growth, especially jaw development. After teeth erupt, he can further assess a child’s short and long-term dental needs. After the anterior permanent teeth erupt, orthodontic treatment can be started to align the teeth. Due to a lack of growth of the upper jaw (premaxillary insufficiency), the patients normally develop an anterior crossbite (underbite) and, at times, a posterior crossbite due to the collapse of the cleft areas. It is very important to correct the crossbites to prevent any damage to the teeth due to incorrect contacts upon closure and to help reduce serious mal-alignment of the jaws.

Treatment for a cleft palate can include a range of procedures to support a healthy, functional outcome. Some patients will experience complications such as failure to thrive, hearing loss, and repeated ear-nose-throat infections. Patients can thrive when the necessary team of professionals is part of their overall treatment, including mental health support when needed.

Treatments to address these issues can include:

  • Braces to straighten the teeth
  • Ear tubes and other treatments for recurring ear infections
  • Feeding therapy
  • Hearing aids
  • Speech therapy
  • Talk therapy to manage the stress of living with cleft lip and palate

Careful treatment planning must be developed to address missing teeth and determine how they can be replaced after the orthodontic treatment. Dr. Izadi often recommends temporary bridgework after his care is complete, followed by an assessment after the patient’s cessation of growth for additional bone grafting in the cleft area/s, followed by dental implant/s. Orthodontic care and observation recall will be necessary throughout the patient’s growth and development. Unfortunately, poor treatments and careless planning may cause lifelong battles for some patients.

Cleft Palate FAQs

Is a cleft palate or cleft lip genetic?

Science has shown that there may be a genetic link due to a slightly higher incidence when a family member has a cleft palate or lip. However, most babies born with this condition have no direct family members who also have/had a cleft.

Can prenatal diet affect the development of a cleft palate or lip?

There is no connection between a mother’s diet during pregnancy and the incidence of a cleft palate or cleft lip. Science and studies on this condition have indicated a potential connection between certain medications taken during pregnancy and exposure to certain viruses or chemicals in the environment. Medications or drugs that may cause cleft lip and cleft palate include anti-seizure/anticonvulsant drugs, acne drugs containing Accutane, and methotrexate, a drug commonly used for treating cancer, arthritis and psoriasis.

When does an infant have their first cleft palate or cleft lip surgery?

In most cases, the first corrective surgery occurs during the first year. This surgery will reconstruct the upper palate and often includes the placement of ear tubes to prevent infections and hearing loss. Subsequent surgeries will likely be needed as the child grows to address anatomical and cosmetic issues that are associated with a cleft palate or lip.