What is Cleft Lip?
A completely formed lip is important not only for a normal facial appearance but also for sucking and to form certain sounds made during speech. A cleft lip is a condition that creates an opening in the upper lip between the mouth and nose. It looks as though there is a split in the lip. It can range from a slight notch in the colored portion of the lip to complete separation in one or both sides of the lip extending up and into the nose. A cleft on one side is called a unilateral cleft. If a cleft occurs on both sides, it is called a bilateral cleft.
How does Cleft Lip Occur?
A cleft in the gum may occur in association with a cleft lip. This may range from a small notch in the gum to a complete division of the gum into separate parts. A similar defect in the roof of the mouth is called a cleft palate.
Cleft Lip Treatment
Cleft lip surgery is usually performed when the child is about 10 months old. The goal of surgery is to close the separation, restore muscle function and provide a normal shape to the mouth. The nostril deformity may be improved as a result of the procedure or may require a subsequent surgery.
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