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Cleft Surgery Specialist

Pacific Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Center

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery located in Oakland, CA & Lower Pacific Heights, San Francisco, CA

Every year, some 2,600 babies in the United States are born with a cleft palate, and almost 4,500 babies are born with a cleft lip, with or without a cleft palate. It’s one of the most common congenital disorders, and you can treat it with cleft surgery. Led by Brandon Kang, DDS, and Matt Chroust, DDS, MD, the team at Pacific Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Center in Oakland and the Lower Pacific Heights in San Francisco, California, perform successful cleft surgeries on babies every year. Reach out today to find out more. Make an appointment using the online booking tool or by calling the office today.

Cleft Surgery Q&A

What are cleft lip, alveolar cleft, and cleft palate?

A cleft lip is an opening in the top lip, between the nose and mouth. It varies in size from a small notch in the lip to a large slit that extends from the lip to the nostril.

A cleft palate looks similar, but the slit is in the gum. As with a cleft lip, it can take the appearance of a small notch, or it may divide the gum entirely.

Whether your child has a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or both, speak with the specialists at Pacific Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Center to find out your options.

What causes cleft lip and cleft palate?

A cleft forms between the fourth and ninth weeks of pregnancy because the left and right sides of the mouth and lips grow at different rates. When this happens, the two sides can't join together correctly. The degree of misalignment determines whether the baby is born with a cleft lip, palate, or both.

In most cases, there's no known reason why a child is born with a cleft lip or palate. Medical professionals sometimes trace the cause back to changes in the child's genes. Some believe a mother's diet, the medications she uses, and what she comes into contact with during pregnancy may also play a part.

Because there's no definitive cause, neither parents nor doctors can prevent it.

What is cleft surgery?

Cleft surgery is a procedure that corrects cleft lip, alveolar cleft, and cleft palate. Here's a closer look at each.

Cleft palate

Cleft lip surgery takes place at around 3 months of life. This surgery restores muscle function, closes the separation in the lip, and creates a natural mouth shape. If there's any deformity in the nostril, cleft lip surgery may correct it. If not, a second surgery can take place later on.

Cleft lip

Cleft palate surgery happens to children at a very young age - at around 18 months of age when the speech develops. A child's age at the time of surgery depends on their health. Cleft palate surgery makes the palate long enough to function, reconnects the muscles, and closes the gap between the nose and the roof of the mouth.

Alveolar Cleft

The maxillary arch that contains the front teeth can be affected in a cleft patient. There is discontinuity of the alveolar process that results in regurgitation of fluid from the mouth to the nose. This defect is usually repaired at around the age of 6- 9 when the front permanent teeth start to form and erupt.

Pacific Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Center offers cleft lip, alveolar cleft, and cleft palate surgery performed by leading oral and maxillofacial specialists. Schedule a consultation by calling the practice or by using the online inquiry form.