A Cosmetic Dentist Can Help Rebuild A Cleft Palate

Posted on: 4 June 2015

If you were born with an average mouth, you have probably run your tongue over the top of your mouth many times. You may have felt the bone and tissue that makes up the roof of your mouth. That is your palate. When you were a fetus, your development filled that area in. However, it doesn't work like that all the time. When it doesn't, the person is left with a cleft palate. 

Cleft Palate

A cleft palate happens because there just isn't enough bone and tissue to completely fill in that area. That can cause a lot of problems with more than just the mouth. Your sinus and nose depend on that bone so that they can function properly.

A cleft palate has some general features. One of them is that cleft part starts from the lips and goes back. At the lips, a cleft palate can leave a child with a lip that has been split in two vertically, and the gums and other tissues are separated behind it. In the most severe cases, the separation can lead all the way to the back of the mouth and leave holes under the nasal and sinus areas.

The mildest cases can be handled with a very small donor graft to fill in any bone and cosmetic surgery to repair the visible damage to the lips.

Cleft Palate and Teeth

If the cleft is big enough it can really affect the possibility of teeth growing normally into the mouth. For example, there may not be sockets for teeth, or the teeth are spaced out oddly. The teeth may also be angled oddly. While a child is young, there are options. Braces can help with spacing and with teeth that are pointing in odd directions. As a child ages, there are even better choices, and dental implants are one of those choices. 

Dental Implants

Dental implants can't properly be installed until the bone growth is final. In most cases, this is late adolescence. If you are going to get implants to help deal with a cleft palate in yourself or your loved one, the dentist is going to need a bone scan first. That will show if the bone is still growing and if there is enough bone to insert the implants. There needs to be a certain amount of strong healthy bone to act as an anchor for the implants. 

Once the doctor is satisfied with the amount of bone, they are going to start taking all kinds of x-rays to get information about what is going on with their patient's teeth. There may be teeth that need to be removed, and new sockets that will have to be drilled. Once all the prep work has been done, it's time for the implants. The dentist will secure titanium posts in the sockets. Those posts act as the roots for the implants and will be left to heal for a few weeks so that they will be secure. 

After that waiting time, the dentist can then secure individual teeth to the posts. Or, you may also choose to go with partial or full dentures. The best choice depends on how many teeth were missing, and where they were. 

A cleft palate can be a disfiguring problem. In the past, children with cleft palates didn't always have a lot of hope about having good teeth when they grew up. Cosmetic dentistry and dental Implants can change that.