Cleft Palate Repair
Cleft Palate Treatments We Offer
When your child has a cleft palate, you want an experienced team who can make an accurate diagnosis, develop an effective treatment plan and provide ongoing, long-term support for your family. The Cleft and Craniofacial team at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital offers the latest leading-edge treatment options and ongoing management for cleft palate. Our team focuses on providing family-centered care that puts you and your child at the center of the treatment plan.
A child born with a cleft palate has an opening or split in the roof of their mouth. A cleft palate can occur alone or in combination with a cleft lip. Doctors generally treat cleft palate using nasal alveolar molding (NAM), followed by one or more cleft palate surgeries, starting when your child is about 12 months old. However, certain procedures for cleft palate — such as surgery to repair gums or jaw — may not occur until your child is age 10 or even older.
Beyond surgical procedures, your child may also need additional specialty care. Your child’s Cleft and Craniofacial care team will provide you with details and a timeline of what to expect during your child’s cleft palate repair journey.
Our expert team offers the latest in research-backed treatments for children with cleft palate, including:
- Palate Expander: This device is placed on the roof of your child’s mouth to open a narrow jaw and help create more room for adult teeth. A palate expander is typically used between the ages of 5 and 7 years, when the child is losing baby teeth.
- Alveolar Bone Graft: During this procedure, the surgeon adds bone to your child’s gum ridge. If your child has both a cleft lip and a cleft palate, their doctor may recommend this procedure when your child is between 7 and 9 years old (several years after their first cleft lip and cleft palate surgical repairs).
- Mandibular Distraction: This surgery extends a small or recessed (set back) lower jaw. If your child has breathing challenges due to their jaw and face shape, their doctor may recommend this procedure to improve breathing.
- Maxillary Distraction Osteogenesis: A surgical procedure that corrects the misalignment of the lower jaw.
- Palate Fistula Repair: When a child develops a fistula (opening) between the mouth and nose, surgeons use this procedure to close it.
- Orthodontics and Specialty Care: Depending on your child’s exact situation, they may need a variety of orthodontic procedures and treatments to reshape their jaw, teeth and mouth. Your child’s craniofacial orthodontist will explain the treatment options that may be right for your child.
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