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Health Information For Parents
A cleft is when a baby is born with an opening in the lip and/or roof of the mouth (palate). A baby with a cleft might have:
Cleft lip alone and cleft lip with a cleft palate happen more often in boys. A cleft palate without a cleft lip is more common in girls.
Together, these are called orofacial clefts. Most kids can have surgery to repair them within the first year or two of life.
A cleft lip may just look like a small opening on the edge of the lip, or it could extend into the nose. It may also extend into the gums.
A cleft lip can be a:
Clefts can range in size:
Read more about cleft lip.
A cleft palate is when a baby is born with a cleft in the roof of the mouth. This leaves a hole between the nose and the mouth. It can be:
Read more about cleft palate.
Another kind of cleft palate, a submucous cleft palate (SMCP), happens when the cleft is underneath the mucous membrane, the tissue that covers the palate. This makes it harder to see.
Read more about submucous cleft palate.
A cleft palate with a cleft lip is when a baby’s lip and palate (roof of mouth) both do not form properly during pregnancy. How serious the defects are can vary depending on the type of cleft lip and the type of cleft palate.
For instance, one baby might be born with:
But another baby might have:
Read more about cleft palate with cleft lip.
A cleft lip is when a baby’s lip doesn’t form properly during pregnancy. Most kids can have surgery to repair one early in life.
A cleft palate is when a baby is born with a cleft (gap) in the roof of the mouth. Most kids can have surgery to repair them early in life.
A cleft palate with a cleft lip is when a baby’s lip and palate (roof of mouth) don’t form properly during pregnancy. Most kids with cleft lip and palate are treated successfully with no lasting problems.
In a submucous cleft palate, the muscles of the palate don’t form properly, but the tissue that lines the roof of the mouth does. This makes these clefts harder to see.
Speech-language pathologists help kids with speech problems related to a cleft palate. Find out what they do.
A nasopharyngoscopy is an exam doctors do to view the back of the throat.
A prenatal ultrasound is a safe and painless test that shows a baby’s shape and position. It can be done in the first, second, or third trimester of pregnancy.
You might visit a speech therapist if you’re having trouble speaking or understanding others. Find out more in this article for kids.
Lots of images may come to mind when you think of plastic surgery. This special type of surgery involves a person’s appearance and ability to function.
Read the basics about genetics, including how certain illnesses, or increased risks for certain illnesses, pass from generation to generation.
Some birth defects are minor and cause no problems; others cause major disabilities. Learn about the different types of birth defects, and how to help prevent them.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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