Cleft Lip and Palate

Cleft Lip

During early pregnancy separate areas of a child’s face develop individually and then join together, including the left and right sides of the roof of the mouth and lips. However, if the sections don’t meet the result is a cleft. If the separation occurs in the upper lip, the child is said to have a cleft lip.

A completely formed lip is important not only for a normal facial appearance but also for sucking and to form certain sounds made during speech. A cleft lip is a condition that creates an opening in the upper lip 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.

Cleft Palate

The palate is the roof of your mouth. It is made of bone and muscle and is covered by a thin, wet skin that forms the covering inside the mouth. You can feel your own palate by running your tongue over the top of your mouth. Its purpose is to separate your nasal cavity from your mouth. The palate has an extremely important role during speech because when you talk it prevents air from blowing out of your nose instead of your mouth. The palate is also very important when eating; it prevents food and liquids from going up into the nose.

As in cleft lip, a cleft palate occurs in early pregnancy when separate areas of the face develop individually and do not join together properly. A cleft palate occurs when there is an opening in the roof of the mouth. The back of the palate is called the soft palate and the front is known as the hard palate. A cleft palate can range from just an opening at the back of the soft palate to a nearly complete separation of the roof of the mouth (soft and hard palate).

Sometimes a baby with a cleft palate may have a small chin and a few babies with this combination may have difficulties breathing easily. This condition may be called Pierre Robin sequence.

Since the lip and palate develop separately, it is possible for a child to be born with a cleft lip, palate or both. Cleft defects occur in about 1 out of every 800 babies.

Children born with one or both of these conditions usually need the skills of several professionals to manage the problems associated with the defect such as feeding, speech, hearing, and psychological development. In most cases, surgery is recommended. When surgery is done by an experienced, qualified oral and maxillofacial surgeon the results can be quite positive.

Cleft Lip Treatment

Cleft lip surgery is usually performed when the child is about ten years old. The goal of surgery is to close the separation, restore muscle function, and provide a normal shape to the mouth. The nostril deformity may be improved as a result of the procedure, or may require a subsequent surgery.

Cleft Palate Treatment

A cleft palate is initially treated with surgery safely when the child is between 7 to 18 months old. This depends upon the individual child and his/her own situation. For example, if the child has other associated health problems, it is likely that the surgery will be delayed.

The major goals of surgery are to:

There are many different techniques that surgeons will use to accomplish these goals. The choice of techniques may vary between surgeons and should be discussed between the parents and the surgeon prior to surgery.

The cleft hard palate is generally repaired between the ages of 8 and 12, when the cuspid teeth begin to develop. The procedure involves placement of bone from the hip into the bony defect, and closure of the communication from the nose to the gum tissue in three layers. It may also be performed in teenagers and adults as an individual procedure, or combined with corrective jaw surgery.

What Can Be Expected After The Surgery?

After the palate has been fixed children will immediately have an easier time swallowing food and liquids. However, in about one out of every five children that have the cleft palate repaired, a portion of the repair will split, causing a new hole to form between the nose and mouth. If small, this hole may result in only an occasional minor leakage of fluids into the nose. If large however, it can cause significant eating problems, and most importantly, can even affect how the child speaks. This hole is referred to as a “fistula,” and may need further surgery to correct.

Contact us to schedule your child's appointment.

Invisalign® First


We are an Certified Invisalign® Provider.

Invisalign® First


Children often display early signs of jaw or orthodontic problems as they grow and develop.

Our goal is to help create the conditions that allow your child’s permanent teeth to erupt normally. We recommend early interceptive treatment before their permanent teeth are all in if we see the need. This lets us guide the development of their teeth and jaws for optimal results and helps avoid more extensive treatment later.

Invisalign® First has designed clear aligners with features specifically for younger patients who have a mixture of primary/baby and permanent teeth.

The Phase 1 treatment is an early interceptive orthodontic treatment for young patients, traditionally done through arch expanders, or partial metal braces, before all permanent teeth have erupted - typically at ages 6 through 10 years. Invisalign® First as an alternative treatment for widening the upper arch, specifically designed to target arch expansion which is the most common interceptive treatment for children.

Benefits of early screening and orthodontic treatment with Invisalign include:

Invisalign® First vs Fixed Appliances:

Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss any aspect of your dental health – we don’t charge for giving advice!

BioClear Veneers


BioClear Veneers & Restorations

BioClear is the newest and best, minimally invasive method to strengthening front teeth and creating beautiful smiles without removing any tooth structure. This revolutionary process adds structure to the teeth rather than removing it, creating a more efficient way to address gaps between the teeth, cracks and chipped teeth, making the smile look younger and healthier. It is a more cost-effective, conservative approach to dental veneers. BioClear restorations are becoming one of the leading solutions for patients seeking a smile makeover.

The BioClear technique uses injectable composite resin that quickly bonds to the surface of the tooth, closing gaps, realigning crooked teeth, addressing chips. It is color matched to blend with the existing teeth.

Dentists traditionally use porcelain veneers to address black triangles requiring removal of tooth structure from the affected teeth. However, with this new advancement in dental care, dentists are now able to preserve much more of the natural tooth structure using the BioClear treatment.

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Benefits of BioClear

Contact us today and schedule an appointment with our office if you are in need of dental veneers.

Don't hesitate to contact us to discuss any aspect of your dental health - we don't charge for giving advice!

SureSmile® Aligners


We are a Certified SureSmile® Provider.

Orthodontic treatment with SureSmile® Aligners can help you achieve your ideal smile faster, easier, and more discreetly than you ever thought possible.

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What is SureSmile® Aligners?


SureSmile Aligner is a series of transparent, removable and virtually invisible clear aligners designed to progressively straighten your teeth into their ideal position.

How Do SureSmile® Aligners Work?


Getting started is easy – you’ll be smiling in no time!

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you are considering clear aligners.

Digital Smile Preview

Digital Smile Preview

Have you often wondered how you can look with a perfect smile. We are offering an innovative offer that will give you the opportunity to see for yourself how a new smile will enhance your appearance, and all from the comfort of your own home thus saving you TIME and MONEY – the Digital Smile Makeover

Our goal is to give our patients a customized smile plan that dramatically improves their teeth, as well as their self-esteem and quality of life. We want our patients to feel comfortable every step of the way, which is why we offer digital cosmetic imaging. Before our patients even begin a procedure, we are able to show them an image of their new smile using digital imaging software. This software enables us to alter a photograph of their existing smile and show them their redesigned smile. This is an excellent way to ensure that our patients are happy with their customized smile plan before we begin any treatment. It’s also a great way for patients to share their excitement with their family and friends!


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Free E-Consultation

Upload a photo of yourself (only images can be uploaded ie: .jpg or .gif). Upon receipt of your photo, we will digitally enhance your smile and email the results to the email address you provide in the form below.

Contact us immediately and we will schedule an appointment for a FREE Smile Preview before you begin any treatment.

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