A Guide To Teeth Cleaning When Your Child Has A Cleft Lip Or Palate

While professional dental cleanings are important to almost everyone, they are even more important for anyone who suffers from a cleft lip or palate. If your baby was born with one of those conditions, arranging for adequate dental care and cleanings can help them enjoy the best possible oral health in the future. Given that a baby with a cleft lip or palate is born about every 65 minutes, it is one of the more common birth anomalies. It is essential for you to be familiar with the impact that your child's condition is likely to have on their oral health and to allow him or her to receive dental cleanings as recommended by their dentist, as explained below.

Understanding The Impact Of A Cleft Lip Or Palate On Oral Health And Hygiene

cleft lip presents as an interruption to the continuity that is usually present with lips and may also extend to a deformity of one or both jaws. Some patients will lack one or more teeth because of that deformity, and other teeth may be smaller than normal, fail to descend from the jaw bone, or be crooked. Each of those issues can make the growth of plaque or bacteria more likely, and cavities will soon follow. It is also possible for your child to have misshapen or extra teeth that will need to be extracted. Oral care at home needs to be a priority, and encouraging effective self-care for your child is a good idea.  

A cleft palate is characterized by what seems to be a hole in the top of the mouth, which is known as the palate. It can be minor, which may be barely obvious, or complete. A complete cleft palate can also manifest with damage to the lips and nose. Those challenges frequently result in the need for extensive orthodontic work in the future, and one or more teeth may never develop or descend as they should. Professional dental cleanings can reduce the amount of new damage that occurs, including gum disease, plaque, and cavities and should be complemented with detailed oral care at home.  

Planning For Professional Dental Care

Whether or not the severity of your child's cleft lip or palate will require surgery, effective and prompt dental care is crucial to their overall health. Since a deformity to the mouth or jaw can make brushing their teeth at home ineffective or inadequate, oral care that is provided by a dentist, pediatric dentist, oral surgeon or other dental care providers may need to occur more often than it would for an unaffected child. Cavities are more common in individuals with these challenges. Therefore, it is best to be proactive when planning for the future because healthy teeth are of the utmost importance when determining if a dental prosthetic or surgery will be successful at treating the congenital defects.  

It is often surprising to learn that many kids with a cleft lip or palate are able to be examined more thoroughly when the dentist and the parents work together. One common recommendation for young patients being seen for a cleft lip or palate involves their head being in the dentist's arms or lap, while the adjacent parent hold's the child's body and limbs to prevent any unexpected movements.    

In conclusion, the presence of a cleft lip or palate can have a detrimental effect on your child's oral health in the future. Therefore, it is a good idea to consider the information listed above when you are making decisions so that you can be sure of the choices you make for your child's professional teeth cleanings as he or she matures.   

For more information, contact a dental office like Carolina Forest Family Dentistry.