What is a Cleft Lip and Palate?
A cleft lip is a split in the upper lip whereas a cleft palate is a split in the roof of the mouth. This leaves a hole between the nose and mouth. Cleft lip and palate are not contagious, it is usually a genetic malformation.
Cleft lip and/or palate affects 1 in 700 babies and requires surgical intervention for repair as well as lifestyle modifications and psychosocial adaptations. Cleft lip and palate represent a failure of normal fusion of the embryonic processes during development in the first trimester of pregnancy. Formation of the lip occurs between the fourth and seventh week in utero while the development of the palate takes place during the eight to twelfth week. Fusion begins in the premaxillary region and continues backward toward the uvula. A cleft lip becomes apparent by the end of the of the second mouth in utero and is evident by the end of the third mouth.The different types of clefts can be classified as follows: Class 1- Cleft of the tip of the uvula
Class 2- Cleft of the uvula
Class 3- Cleft of the soft palate
Class 4- Cleft of the soft and hard palates
Class 5- Cleft of the soft and hard palates that continues through the alveolar ridge on one side of the premaxilla. Class 6- Cleft of the soft and hard palates that continues through the alvoelar ridge on both sides.
Genetic and Environmental factors can be significant when trying to understand clefts. Rarely a single factor can be found as the specific cause as they are most often multifactorial. Some factors are:
(c) Tabacco Smoke
(d) Alcohol Consumption
(f) Inadequate diet, vitamins
(g) Lack of adequate prenatal care
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of the cleft lip and cleft palate vary from person to person. A cleft lip may show up only as a small notch in the border of the upper lip. Cleft lip may involve one or both sides of the upper lip. Extra, missing, or deformed teeth may also be part of the...
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