LIVING WITH A CLEFT LIP
There are many health challenges that could compromise a childs’ smile, one of them is a cleft lip.
Some children are born with a split in their lip (cleft lip) or in the roof of their mouths (cleft palate). Clefts may affect the breathing and feeding of the child.
We are sharing a story of hope this October.
Clefts can have genetic causes and may be associated with other birth defects.
They may also occur alone without any other birth defects and in that case, can have a variety of causes: genetics, disturbances during pregnancy (from malnutrition, hormonal problems, physical injuries, infections, alcohol, smoking, some medications).
The good news is that clefts can be corrected and the child can live a normal life.
Their scars would fade but their smiles would stay.
Clefts of the lip and palate are usually corrected by a series of surgeries at different times in the child’s life starting from infancy.
MORE TIPS FOR PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS
There are different conditions that have to be met before the first surgery can take place. The dental surgeon can give you more information on how to prepare the child for surgery.
The surgeries are carried out by oral and maxillofacial surgeons who are also dentists but who specialise in surgical procedures.
There would be numerous hospital appointments including visits to the paediatrician (a doctor that cares for children).
The doctors would request for a number of tests and scans to check if there are any other abnormalities.
The parents would have to learn to use special devices to feed the child.
Sometimes, the parents are taught to use some devices to help bring parts of the cleft lip together so that the surgery becomes easier.
Children born with clefts are at risk of ear infections and other complications but these can be controlled and overcome with the help of a dental surgeon.
Do you know a child born with a cleft lip or palate? It might be a scary situation but there’s a lot of hope.
Many babies have been born with clefts and have had them repaired, they now live normal lives.
Their scars won’t last but their smiles would!
What great news to hear as we celebrate World Smile Day this October.
Please speak to your dentist for more information.