Cleft Lip and Palate
Cleft means split or separation of parts. During early pregnancy separate areas of the face develop individually and then join together. If some parts do not join properly the result is a cleft. The type and severity of clefts vary from child to child.
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 coloured 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. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are highly qualified to repair Cleft Lip Palate deformities.