Cleft Lip and Palate (Cleft Lip)

Cleft lip is an abnormality such as a crack in the upper lip. Cracks can occur in the ceiling of the mouth (cleft palate), could also be on the lip (cleft lip).

In some cases, it can also occur in the second part. But in general, almost half of the cases involving cleft lip cleft in the upper lip and the roof of the mouth.

These abnormalities can be detected through an ultrasound procedure of the first trimester of pregnancy. At that time, you can see if there is a disruption in the development process including the face area of the oral cavity ceiling. That is why the condition is classified as birth defects.

Cleft lip can be detected during pregnancy, known as the antenatal diagnosis. The inspection process is done with an ultrasound procedure -good 3-dimensional ultrasound and 4 dimensions.

The doctor can see the difference in the development of the fetal facial structure in the first trimester antenatal examination.

When seeing this, your doctor may offer you to do the test fluid.

The liquid test procedure is done by taking a sample of amniotic fluid from the uterus. This test will show whether the fetus has inherited a genetic syndrome that can lead to other birth defects.

The main symptom of a cleft lip can be directly visible, namely the existence of a gap in the upper lip or oral cavity tape. In addition, there are also some other symptoms, such as:

  • Difficult to suck milk
    Babies with the cleft lip would have a hard time to suck milk because the conditions were difficult mouth sucking motion. This can be overcome by using a special bottle recommended by dentists and dental specialist pediatrician child.
  • difficulty speaking
    Depending on the severity, in some cases of cleft lip can also lead to difficulty speaking. However, the magnitude of a gap is not an indicator of how serious disturbance in speech. Even small gaps that can cause difficulty in speaking.
  • Hearing disorders
    All normal child ear produces fluid that is viscous and sticky. However, the gap in cleft lip can make the fluid accumulates in the ear drum. This causes a disturbance or even temporary hearing loss.
    Additionally, fluid buildup in the middle ear may affect eustachian tuba, which is the tube that connects the ear to the oral cavity. It can lead to ear infections.
  • Impaired growth of jaws and teeth
    A cleft lip may also affect the growth of the jaws and teeth growth process. Teeth can be crowding due to underdevelopment of the jaw, resulting in impaired speech. Therefore, fast and precise handling is required to correct the cleft lip condition.
  • Treatment
    The treatment of children with cleft lip requires a special team of doctors. The team, consisting of specialist dentists oral surgery, plastic surgeon, speech therapist, the audiologist (hearing specialist), pediatrician, dentist child dental specialists, dentists orthodontic specialists, psychologists, and geneticists.


Surgery is commonly done to treat cleft lip. Operating time varies, depending on the condition of cleft lip suffered. Operating normally used in this case is by way of a general anesthetic.

Surgery to close the gap in the lip can be performed when the baby is three months old and has a considerable weight. Meanwhile, the operation to close the gap in the roof of the oral cavity can be done at the age of about six months.

When they get older, other operations may be needed to improve the appearance of the lips and nose, as well as the function of the roof of the mouth. If there are gaps in the gums, bone implants can be done to overcome them.

Meanwhile, to improve difficulty in speaking, a child could undergo speech therapy with an expert. In addition, pediatric dentist and orthodontist can provide care related to the care of children’s teeth.

Prevention of cleft lip can begin during pregnancy, such as:

  • Eat nutritious foods.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
  • Visit obstetrician regularly for monitoring.
  • Consumption of 400 micrograms of folic acid every day, at least one month before conception and during the first two months of pregnancy.

You also need to pay attention to the consumption of drugs that may increase the risk of this disorder, which antiepileptic drugs such as phenytoin and sodium valproate.

Not only that, the consumption of steroids and drugs methotrexate tablets are typically used in the treatment of cancer and certain inflammatory diseases, can also increase the risk. If you are taking any of these drugs, you should consult with a doctor before getting pregnant.

Until now the cause is still unknown cleft lip. However, research shows that the process of formation of this disorder has been started since the early weeks of pregnancy.

When the pregnancy reaches 6 weeks, the upper lip and the roof of the mouth of the baby will begin to form. Lip and oral cavity are formed from networks on both sides to unite in the middle of the mouth.

When these networks fail to unite, it will form a gap in the upper lip or roof of the mouth.

Although the exact cause of cleft lip is not known, experts suspect that a combination of genetic and environmental factors take effect.

If parents suffering from cleft lip, a child’s risk of having this disorder will be higher.

Meanwhile, the environmental factors that can trigger a cleft lip in infants are mother’s lifestyle during pregnancy.

For example, because the side effects of drugs, disease or infection suffered by the mother, smoking or consumption of alcoholic beverages during pregnancy. In fact, folic acid deficiency can also lead to this disorder.