cleft palate are more prone than other children to
having certain health or social problems. These include:
Hearing problems and ear infections.
More treatment may be required after surgery for
cleft palate. This includes:
Speech therapy. Children with cleft palate may
develop speech problems and should have their speech monitored throughout their
school years. Speech problems usually improve with therapy, although in some
cases, more surgery is needed.
Treatment for uneven teeth.
Children with cleft palate often have problems with uneven permanent teeth
because of a misshapen or small jaw. They may need to wear
braces to straighten
their teeth. Often the upper jaw needs to be lengthened to fit the size of the
lower jaw. Bone from the hip may be surgically placed in the upper jaw to
lengthen it. Treatment for uneven teeth is provided by a specialist
orthodontist) or a pediatric (children's)
repair for a small opening between the mouth and nose. After initial surgery, a
small opening sometimes still exists between the mouth and the nose. If this
hole is not repaired, food or fluids may come out through the nose when the
child eats and drinks.
Treatment for hearing loss. Hearing defects
not caused by fluid buildup or ear infections may occur along with cleft
palate. Children with cleft palate who are having problems with speech or
reading may have hearing loss.
Treatment for infections of the
middle ears. Children with cleft palate are more likely to develop these types
of infections, which can lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss. It is
important to diagnose and treat all infections quickly. Some children need
tubes surgically inserted in the ears (myringotomy) to help the middle ear
Emotional counseling. Children with
cleft palate may need help dealing with their feelings about the defect. Older
children and teens may benefit from workshops or group therapy with others
their own age who have similar problems.
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