Dental Care When Your Child Has A Cleft Palate

Children born with a cleft palate may need more dental care as their teeth start to come in. For parents, this can be a confusing time because often the child may also need to go through surgery to cope with the cleft palate. Read on to find out what effect a cleft palate may have on your child's dental future.

When Baby Teeth Emerge

As far the timing goes, a child born with a cleft palate will probably begin to get baby teeth at the same time as any other child will. However, the number of teeth that emerge can be different. Some children have more than the usual number of teeth emerging, and some have fewer teeth than expected. It all depends on the location of the cleft palate. Also, you can expect your child to develop teeth that are not in the usual places. For instance, an incisor may emerge in the space normally occupied by a molar.

Cleft Palate Surgery

It's vital that your dentist join the team of surgeons and your pediatrician when planning for cleft palate surgery. Taking into account where underlying teeth are located can help improve your child's appearance, discomfort, and the overall health of their mouth when the surgery takes place. Your child may also need oral appliances to promote good breathing and speaking habits and your dentist can assist with those plans as well.

Planning for Later

Children who have corrective surgery for their cleft palate may encounter issues with their teeth regardless of the surgery. That is because your child's underlying teeth may emerge in an abnormal manner. Be sure to see a pediatric dentist regularly to help you deal with any issues that arise. Some children with a cleft palate resulting in irregular dental issues may experience more discomfort and pain as teeth emerge. Speak to your dentist about how to make things easier on your child while baby teeth are emerging.

As your child gets their adult teeth, there is a good chance that you will need to contact an orthodontist and have braces installed. While orthodontics can address mishappen teeth, dental implants may also be necessary to fill in spaces where teeth never emerged.

Dealing with a cleft palate along with teeth issues won't be easy but your dentist will be experienced in helping parents deal with things. Speak to a dentist or visit their website—such as—if your child has a cleft palate to find out more.