Cleft lip is a birth defect in which the parts of the face that form the upper lip remain split, instead of sealing together before birth. Similar splits can occur in the roof of the mouth or palate. Cleft lip and palate happen early in fetal development. The defect may be genetic or the result of maternal environmental exposures during pregnancy.
Along with affecting the appearance of the face, cleft lip and cleft palate can present a variety of difficulties, including:
- difficulty eating
- speech difficulties
- ear infections
- misaligned teeth
Prosthodontist’s provides the final active treatment for the patient with a cleft. They must anticipate and decide upon the prosthodontic procedures in collaboration with the plastic surgeon and/or the orthodontist during the period of their interventions. The purpose of prosthodontic treatment is to prevent the relapse of the maxillary segments and the teeth after surgical and/or orthodontic correction, as well as the rehabilitation of mastication, speech and aesthetics.
The prosthodontist may also work with mature patients to replace any teeth that perhaps did not form due to the cleft. Sometimes oral appliances are required throughout the process to aid in speech, function, and esthetics.
In the video above you can see, how Rachel quickly learns that a prosthodontist can help her have a beautiful smile with a simple implant procedure.
For more information on the causes and treatment of cleft lips and palates, call our office (941) 951-7711