Cleft Lip

Cleft Lip / Palate

Cleft Lip / Palate is one of the leading birth defects in many developing countries with over 170 000 children born with Cleft Lip / Palate annually. As such it represents a global health care challenge and it is approximated that 1 in 700 children are born with this condition. It is an abnormality that occurs during the gestation period of the head in which certain parts of the face of the foetus do not fuse together. It is a complex medical condition for which the aetiology has not been categorically established. It does not exclude other anomalies and may be isolated or non-syndromic or occur as a component of a disease or syndrome which is syndromic.

Various medical complications result from this condition, especially since the deformity is in the facial region. These complications include dental abnormalities, malocclusion, malformations of the face and nose, feeding, respiratory, hearing, and speech problems. The psychological and social impact is also detrimental to normal childhood development.

Various levels of advanced, multi – tiered and multidisciplinary services by a team of healthcare professionals is required to treat this condition and spans the period from diagnosis to early adulthood.

The Durban North Smile Center is the first Cleft Care Center in Kwa – Zulu Natal and has been set up to deal with the services required to Cleft Lip / Palate. Below are some of the problems associated with Cleft Lip / Palate.

  • Difficulty feeding – Babies born with Cleft Lip / Palate may be unable to breastfeed or feed from a normal bottle because they can’t form a good seal with their mouth.
  • Hearing problems – Babies with a Cleft Lip / Palate are more vulnerable to ear infections and a build-up of fluid in their ears, which adversely affects their hearing
  • Dental problems – Having a Cleft Lip / Palate means that a child’s teeth don’t develop correctly, and they are at a higher risk of tooth decay.
  • Speech problems – Having a Cleft Lip / Palate can lead to speech problems such as unclear or nasal-sounding speech.
  • Facial development – a lack of structure within causes the nose to flatten, negatively affecting the child’s facial profile.

Get in contact with us at the Durban North Smile Center and let us give your child a smile they can be proud and confident with!