Cleft Lip and Palate

Cleft means gap or spilt

Palate is the roof of the mouth

A cleft (gap/split) lip and palate (roof of the mouth) is when the body does not fully form to its natural structure, of a complete upper lip or palate. As we can tell by the picture below unilateral (uni means one) incomplete is when one side has a partial spilt or gap, that does not go all the way to the nose or deeper into the mouth. Unilateral complete, is when the spilt or gap goes up the nose on one side. Lastly we have the bilateral (bi meaning two) complete is when the gap or spilt goes up on both side of the nose and can go as far back as the throat. When a baby or child has a cleft palate, please beware that your baby/child is more likely to get ear infections.


       unilateral                unilateral                  bilateral

      incomplete               complete                 complete

One cause of a cleft lip or palate usually occurs in early pregnancy, when the foetus does not have enough tissue in the mouth to make a complete lip or palate. But it is important to know that some causes are still unknown to why children get a cleft lip or palate. Doctors can do reconstructive surgery to make a complete lip or palate, especially in the early ages where scaring will not be as noticeable as the child gets older.

It is important to note that kids with a cleft lip or palate may have a more difficult time to speak properly. It is to your child’s benefit to get a speech therapist sometime during childhood, so that your child can communicate with you where you can understand their needs.

When feeding your child or baby with a cleft lip or palate there may be difficulties because the formula/milk or liquids can go in their nose. But now there are special bottles and nipples that can be used to feed your baby with a cleft lip and palate. Also when feeding your baby, it is best to have your baby sit up when they eat, so the milk or formula can go straight to the stomach.

When your child has a cleft lip or palate, their teeth may not grow out of the gums or they may have some teeth missing. Your child will still need to brush their teeth and floss, this is to make sure they do not get gum disease or tooth decay. You can go see your dentist or dental hygienist to show you how to care for your child’s dental care.



Developed by InGenius Consulting