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Cleft Lip & Palate

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Cleft Lip & Palate


During early pregnancy, separate areas of the face develop individually and then join together, such as the left and right sides of the roof of the mouth and lips. However, if some parts do not join properly, sections do not meet and the result is a cleft.

A cleft lip is a condition that creates an opening in the upper lip and jaw between the mouth and nose. It looks as though there is a split in the lip. It can range from a slight notch in the colored portion of the lip to complete separation in one or both sides of the lip extending up and into the nose. A cleft on one side is called a unilateral cleft. If a cleft occurs on both sides, it is called a bilateral cleft. A cleft in the gum may occur in association with a cleft lip. This may range from a small notch in the gum to a complete division of the gum into separate parts. A similar defect in the roof of the mouth is called a cleft palate.

Children with clefting can have problems with feeding and speech. They also might have problems with the development of their jaws and teeth.

Dr. Strauss and Dr. Sarathy are members of the Carolina Cleft Lip and Palate Team. They work closely with plastic surgeons, orthodontists, and dentists to provide coordinated care for these patients. Make an appointment with one of our doctors today to discuss your or your child’s options.