A cleft palate directly impacts hearing, speech, and feeding. It occurs when your baby’s mouth roof or palate does not properly develop during pregnancy. This leaves a cleft or opening on the palate and could go upwards to your baby’s nasal cavity.
A cleft could develop on different parts or the palate. It could develop in the hard palate, which is the front portion of the mouth roof, or the tiny tissue flap hanging down from the uvula of the soft palate. Additionally, it might develop by itself or accompanied by other craniofacial or skull and face birth defects like the cleft lip.
Treatment for Cleft Palate
The treatment for cleft palate typically includes various healthcare professionals and the specific treatment type will be dependent on the problem’s severity. According to CranioFacial MD, however, surgery is the most common method and cleft palate repair must ideally be performed prior to a baby turning one year old. Your baby may likewise require other treatments prior to surgery for feeding or breathing issues. She or he may likewise wear a dental splint, soft dental molding, or another form of mouth support.
While surgery for cleft palate repair oftentimes leaves some scarring, the palate itself will heal properly and will only leave little indications of the cleft. The facial bones of your child will also grow normally as your child learns to eat, speak, and hear more properly. However, note that some children may require more treatment for related issues like teeth problems, hearing, speech, ear and sinus infections, and surgery complications.
Helpful Things You Can Do to Help You and Your Child
You must obtain help for feeding once you’re alerted that your baby has a cleft palate. A nurse or healthcare provider can teach you feeding techniques that will be very useful when you go home. You should also look out for signs of teeth, speech, and hearing problems, as well as infections as your child grows older. It is also extremely crucial that you communicate to your child that his or her defect shouldn’t define who he or she really is as a person.
Know also that taking care of a child with a cleft palate will require a lot of patience and time. Don’t be hesitant to get help from family and friends, as well as support groups so you can meet others in the same boat as you. Remember to take good care of yourself so that you can take better care of your child.