Cleft Palate and Cleft Lip (cont.)

Who Treats Children With Cleft Lip and/or Palate?

Due to the number of oral health and medical problems associated with a cleft lip or cleft palate, a team of doctors and other specialists is usually involved in the care of these children. Members of a cleft lip and palate team typically include:

  • Plastic surgeon to evaluate and perform necessary surgeries on the lip and/or palate


  • An otolaryngologist (an ear, nose, and throat doctor) to evaluate hearing problems and consider treatment options for hearing problems


  • An oral surgeon to reposition segments of the upper jaw when needed, to improve function and appearance and to repair the cleft of the gum


  • An orthodontist to straighten and reposition teeth


  • A dentist to perform routine dental care


  • A prosthodontist to make artificial teeth and dental appliances to improve the appearance and to meet functional requirements for eating and speaking


  • A speech pathologist to assess speech and feeding problems


  • A speech therapist to work with the child to improve speech


  • An audiologist (a specialist in communication disorders stemming from a hearing impairment); to assess and monitor hearing


  • A nurse coordinator to provide ongoing supervision of the child's health


  • A social worker/psychologist to support the family and assess any adjustment problems


  • A geneticist to help parents and adult patients understand the chances of having more children with these conditions

The health care team works together to develop a plan of care to meet the individual needs of each patient. Treatment usually begins in infancy and often continues through early adulthood.

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