What is a cleft palate?
A cleft palate is a birth defect that causes an opening or fault in the roof of the mouth (palate). The word cleft means split or break. The palate is usually formed between the sixth and ninth week of pregnancy. However, in babies with a cleft palate, the tissue that forms the palate doesn’t fuse together during pregnancy. In some babies, a cleft palate can cause
- Opening of front and back parts of the palate.
- Opening of part of the palate.
About 1 or 2 in 1,000 babies are born with a cleft palate in the United States every year.
What is the treatment for a cleft palate?
The treatment for a cleft palate depends on the type of cleft and the overall health of the child. Treatment should start as early as possible to prevent future problems with the child’s development.
Most babies who have a cleft palate will need some type of surgery. A cleft palate should be repaired before the baby is 18 months old. Additional surgeries may be needed when the child grows up.