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What Is Cleft Lip?

Posted on 3/15/2024 by Jason Widner DMD Family Dentistry
Child giving thumbs up in dental chair at Jason Widner DMD Family Dentistry in Sammamish, WAA cleft lip is a pre-birth condition characterized by a small slit in the top lip. Sometimes, it can be a broad opening on the lip that extends to the nose. A cleft lip can come with several dental anomalies, including missing teeth, malocclusion, and impacted teeth. Babies with a cleft lip might also develop a cleft palate, with the roof of the mouth not joining entirely. A child with a cleft should see a dentist soon after their first teeth erupt to treat possible dental issues.

What Causes Cleft Lip?

The primary causes of cleft lip remain unknown. However, some risk factors can cause your baby to have a cleft lip or palate. For instance, smoking tobacco during pregnancy increases the likelihood of a child developing a cleft lip. Conditions like diabetes and certain medications, particularly those used to treat epilepsy, can also increase the likelihood of having a baby with a cleft lip. The condition can also be genetic. A baby with a cleft lip might have a relative with a cleft lip.

Symptoms of Cleft Lip

The symptoms of a cleft lip are evident after birth. They later include crooked or missing teeth, malocclusion, and a misaligned jaw. Other signs include deformities in the upper jaw, a split between the mouth and nose, and alveolar defects. A dental professional can help address these concerns.

Treating Cleft Lip

Treating a cleft lip depends on the severity of the anomaly. In most cases, treatment requires the expertise of a team of healthcare professionals. Aside from a dentist, cleft lip treatment involves the input of a pediatrician, a plastic surgeon, and a speech pathologist. A child with a cleft lip might require orthodontic treatment to resolve dental anomalies. They may need braces or retainers. Other patients might need bone grafting and oral surgery to treat and manage orofacial clefts.

Contact Our Practice Today

A cleft lip is highly treatable through oral surgery and dental care. Contact our practice today and let our team of specialists assess your child.

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