Palate Repair

Treatment in Carmichael for Cleft Palate

The palate is the bony structure that forms the roof of your mouth. Some people require repair of the palate due to an accident or injury, but the majority of palate repairs are due to cleft palate, a birth defect that begins very early in a mother’s pregnancy, usually around the ninth week of gestation. A cleft palate is caused by the bones in the roof of the mouth failing to fully fuse together during pregnancy. This leaves a hole or gap between the mouth and the sinus above it. A cleft may also affect the jaw, gums, and facial features (a condition called cleft lip).

The Marconi Dental Group — Part of Your Cleft Repair Team

“The development of a cleft occurs very early in pregnancy and represents a problem over which a pregnant woman likely has no control.” — The Cleft Palate Foundation

If the cleft palate is diagnosed via ultrasound, this happens sometime after week 18. These early diagnoses only take place in about a third of pregnancies, so many parents find out about their child’s cleft shortly after birth. In either case, Carmichael’s Marconi Dental Group includes many of the specialists required on a cleft palate treatment team.

Cleft palate repair requires a series of surgeries from shortly after birth to the late teen years and adulthood. Each cleft is different and requires the help of specific specialists to treat. Here are some of the treatments typically required.

  • Cosmetic repair to the lip and nose.
  • Oral surgery to repair the cleft.
  • Bone grafting to completely fuse the palate or repair the jaw.
  • Jaw surgery to align the upper jaw with the lower jaw.
  • Reconstructive surgery to replace missing teeth or remove extra teeth.
  • Orthodontics to align teeth that are twisted, crooked or out of place.

Each treatment is completed at the best time in the child’s development. Cleft lip treatment is one of the first repairs, along with initial repairs to the palate. As the child’s bones grow and harden, the need for more treatment and surgery usually becomes apparent. Regular appointments with medical doctors and dentists are necessary to monitor the individual’s development.

“Every child requires care and treatment specifically designed for his or her particular needs.” — The Cleft Palate Foundation

Orthodontics for Cleft Repair

By the time the child reaches the age of 12, any necessary orthodontic treatment can usually be started. Some of the typical procedures required to properly align the teeth include these:

  • Expanding the repaired palate;
  • Reshaping abnormal teeth;
  • Expanding the upper jaw;
  • Moving teeth to their proper positions;
  • Correcting crossbite, overbite or crowding.

In addition to these repairs, a cleft may cause some teeth to be completely missing. After the jaw is restructured, a dental implant or bridge is made to replace the lost teeth. Other people have teeth with missing enamel that require a crown. Many of the components for these appliances are made right here at the Marconi Dental Group by our master lab technician.

Complete Cleft Repair is Possible

“I endured more surgeries before age 21 than what most people will have in their whole lives.” — Alex (a cleft repair patient), quoted by the Cleft Palate Foundation

At times, cleft palate repair seems like a trial of endurance for both parents and the patient. The Marconi Dental Group is here to help and consults closely with the family to lay out all the treatment options from the dental perspective. Some procedures can be delayed or combined. Depending on the outcome desired, some are left out entirely. For every procedure, there are options regarding pain control and anesthetics, as well as the dental appliances our dentists use for the patient’s benefit. In the end, through the work of the entire cleft treatment team, a complete repair of cleft palate is possible. Staying positive and looking towards this final outcome is a critical part of the patient’s recovery after each and every procedure.

Paying for Cleft Palate Repair

Surgeries, bone graft material, and dental appliances all have costs. Fortunately, cleft palate repair is considered reconstructive and essential, therefore, it is covered by both medical and dental insurance. The insurance specialists at the Marconi Dental Group can help you determine the actual costs of copayments, if any, that are necessary for cleft repair procedures.

For more information and to arrange a free consultation, contact Carmichael’s Marconi Dental Group. We are ready to meet with you, study your situation and to work with your medical team to ensure a successful cleft repair.