Approximately one out of 800 children born in the United States each year is born with either a cleft lip or a cleft palate. While rarely is it a serious medical condition, a cleft palate should be fixed by a team that includes an oral surgeon. The question is, what age is the best age for the surgery?
The age will vary by child and also the severity of the cleft, so it is best to talk to us so that we can decide together what will be best for your child.
In most cases, a child with a cleft palate should have the surgery between the ages of six months and a year and a half. It makes sense to take care of it at this early of an age, because then the child's mouth and lip will be able to develop normally.
A cleft lip is usually not quite as severe as a cleft palate, but it should also have surgery in order to repair it. A cleft lip can usually be repaired at a younger age. The optimal age for the cleft lip surgery is often ten to 12 weeks old.
If a child has a cleft lip or cleft palate, it is usually not recommended that the surgery be put off much longer than that. By the time a child reaches the age of three, speech is developing. A cleft palate can affect speech.
A cleft lip or palate is not something that you will want to wait to treat. The first step is to make an appointment with us, so that we can see what is going on. We will then talk you through the process and help you to make the best decisions for your child.