Cleft Lip & Palate Causes & Symptoms
What is a cleft lip?
Cleft lip is one of the most common birth defects in the US, occurring in one in every 700 babies. It describes the physical separation of the upper lip, which can extend through the bones of the upper jaw and gums. Similarly, a cleft palate is the splitting of the roof of the mouth, which is made up of a hard and soft palate. A cleft lip can occur in both of these palates or just one. Cleft lip and cleft palate usually develop separately, so it is possible to have one without the other; however, usually they occur together.
What causes a cleft lip or palate in children?
Cleft lip is a congenital problem that develops early in pregnancy. It occurs when there is not enough tissue available in the mouth or lip area, and in turn, the skin is unable to join together properly. It is commonly believed that cleft lip and palate are caused by genetics, but the exact cause is unknown.
What problems are associated with a cleft lip or palate in children?
- Difficulty eating, swallowing, or weight gain in infancy
- Increased chance for fluid buildup and ear infection or hearing loss
- Delayed speech or speech difficulty
When should I take my child to a doctor for a cleft lip or palate?
If your child is suffering from a cleft lip or palate, doctors with New York ENT may be able to help. Because this problem is consistently linked with hearing loss and ear infections, it is important to consult with an ear, nose and throat physician to consider treatment options.
How is a cleft lip or palate treated?
Our physicians with New York ENT provides the following hearing-related treatment options for conditions associated with cleft lip or palate:
If your child is suffering from cleft lip or palate, the first step is to schedule an evaluation with an experienced ear, nose and throat doctor. Board certified physicians with New York ENT have extensive experience diagnosing and treating cleft lip and palate. Fill out the form on this page or call our office at (212) 873-6168 to schedule an appointment today.