When people think about July, things like heat, fireworks, and barbecues probably jump into their mind. What many people may not realize is that July is also Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness & Prevention Month. This is a time where medical professionals and parents alike come together to discuss two problems that affect over 7,000 babies in the U.S. each year: cleft lips and cleft palates. Today, your children’s orthodontist in Hebron, OH, Dr. Jeffrey Shirck, is going to share some interesting facts about these conditions as well as how our team can help these special children enjoy the beautiful smiles they deserve.
What is a Cleft Lip & Palate?
Every year, millions of babies around the world are born with clefts in their upper lip or the roof of their mouth (also known as the palate). Typically, during early pregnancy, the bones of the upper jaw, nose, and mouth are supposed to fuse together, but sometimes, this doesn’t occur as it should. This can result in a small opening at the corner of the lip that may or may not extend into the nose and mouth. Research has shown that factors such as genetics, vitamin deficiencies, and drug and alcohol use during pregnancy can make clefts more likely to occur.
How Do Cleft Lips & Palates Affect Children?
Infants with these issues typically have a very hard time feeding properly, which can put them at risk for malnutrition that can affect their mental and physical development. As a child ages, speech can also be hindered, plus they can make a child feel extremely self-conscious and become ostracized by their peers. Fortunately, in the U.S., these problems can be effectively treated, often at a very young age.
How They Are Treated & How We Can Help
If a child is born with a cleft lip/palate, they will be treated by a team of doctors, which can include a pediatrician, plastic surgeon, oral surgeon, ear, nose, and throat specialist, and often times, an orthodontist.
These issues can negatively affect the teeth and bite, causing teeth to erupt in the wrong locations or come in very misaligned, which is where the team at Shirck Orthodontics is able to help. Working closely with a child’s doctors, we can formulate a plan to correct any teeth/jaw alignment issues as well as work to prevent other ones from developing in the future. At Shirck Orthodontics, we have gained a reputation for being able to provide friendly and high-quality care for all kinds of special patients, and we use our skills every year to help children with these concerns achieve strong and healthy smiles they can be proud of.
Contact Us to Learn More
At Shirck Orthodontics, your orthodontist in Hebron, OH is ready to meet any challenge in order to help those with cleft lips and palates smile a little bigger and a little brighter. To learn more about these conditions and how our practice can help children overcome them, contact us today.