Craniofacial orthodontics is a sub-specialty of orthodontics that focuses on the treatment of patients with birth defects such as cleft lip and palate. A team of speech pathologists, oral surgeons, and craniofacial plastic surgeons are involved in planning the correction of the malformed mouth or jaw.
Clefting results when there is not enough tissue in the mouth or lip area. What forms from the available tissue does not form correctly. The parts of the face that form the upper lip and mouth remain split, instead of sealing together before birth. The cause is unknown, but may be due to genetics.
This is where your craniofacial orthodontist and team of specialists come in. Most of the time treatment will require surgery. Depending on the severity, several surgeries may be needed. Children are usually around 3 – 6 months old when the surgery is performed.