Intro to cleft lip and palate


 

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Introduction to cleft lip and palate

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What is cleft?

Cleft is a congenital phenomenon affecting 1 in 700 newborns. It is a split or separation in the structure of the lip or the roof of the mouth. During early pregnancy, separate areas of the face develop and then join together. When some parts fail to come together, a cleft is formed. Cleft lip and palate can happen together or separately.

 

Cleft lip

It can be a slight notch/split on the upper lip to a complete separation in one or both sides of the upper lip, it may go all the way up and into the nose. Unilateral cleft is when it is on one side while bilateral cleft is when it is on both sides of the lip.

 

Cleft palate

 

 When the roof of the mouth(palate) has not joined completely, leaving a hole in the palate. This can affect the soft palate(soft part of the palate towards the throat) or the hard palate(front part of the palate near the mouth) or both.

 

Cleft lip and palate

 

Is when both lip and palate have a gap/hole.