When your child is born with a cleft palate, you quickly learn that they will have some challenges in their life. As your child grows and their baby teeth come in, you may find yourself wondering what you can do to help them maintain their oral and dental health as they grow and begin to go through the process of repairing their cleft palate. Get to know some of the facts about pediatric dentistry and caring for a child with a cleft palate so that you can ensure that your child has the best dental care possible.
Your Child's Teeth May Not Come In "Normally"
Children born with a cleft palate will develop baby teeth at around the same age and rate as a child who does not have a cleft palate. However, your child with a cleft palate may develop fewer teeth or more teeth than other children. For example, the cleft in the palate may occur right along the area where the lateral incisors often come in. This can result in a complete lack of lateral incisor or can result in a child actually developing two lateral incisors on either side of the cleft.
As such, you should be prepared for the likelihood that your child's baby teeth, and possibly their adult teeth, will grow in in locations and numbers that may be unexpected. When they are babies, the key is to maintain health and comfort. With their adult teeth, you will likely be looking at orthodontic work and potential dental implants to fill spaces where teeth may be missing.
Be Sure to Coordinate Care
When you begin the process of repairing your child's cleft palate, you will be dealing primarily with medical doctors including your child's pediatrician and a surgical team. However, you want to be sure that you have your child's doctors coordinate care with your pediatric dentist.
You want to be sure that your child's dental health is also considered in the surgical techniques used to repair the cleft. A pediatric dentist, like Kids Dental Tree, will have a good understanding of how your child's baby teeth will affect their adult teeth and any potential complications regarding altering their palate, jaw, and the like. The pediatric dentist will also be vital because he or she will work with a dental prosthodontist to help make oral appliances. Oral appliances like palatal lifts will help your child close gaps in the nose and mouth so that they can speak normally and comfortably.
Getting your child's dentist and medical team to work together may be a challenge. However, coordinated care is vital in ensuring the best results following surgery. Now that you know some of the important factors regarding pediatric dentistry and your child's cleft palate, you can be sure that you provide them with the best possible care beginning in infancy and early childhood.