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Dental Care for Children with Clefts

March 27, 2014

Every day 17 kids are born with a cleft lip, palate or both in the United States. A cleft lip or palette is a birth defect that requires special care to ensure oral health needs are met.

The Problem

A cleft lip or palate can cause numerous dental problems for a child. A cleft lip or palate greatly affects the size, shape and position of the teeth in the cleft areas which can make oral hygiene tricky. Another common problem is that the enamel their teeth is weaker which makes them vulnerable to cavities. Their salvia is often thicker which prevents the natural cleansing of the mouth.

Dental Care Solution

Due to the special dental needs of a child with a cleft, it’s good to get an early evaluation by a dentist who’s experienced in treating such cases.

Regular brushing with the help of a soft bristle brush and flossing are essential for good oral care. Your dentist will instruct you on oral hygiene and preventive measures for your child.

Early orthodontic evaluation is also recommended. They will assess facial growth and growth of the jaws. This information is important in developing short- and long-term dental plans for your child.

If any surgical procedure is planned to correct the cleft lip and palate, ensure there’s good coordination between the surgeon and orthodontist so required dental procedures are taken care of at the time of surgery. Prosthodontic care can also help make a huge difference in eating, speaking and appearance.

The way to healthy teeth, for anyone, is a combination of proper cleaning at home, good nutrition and regular dental check-ups. Children with clefts are no different. Their care simply requires more planning.