WHAT IS CRANIOFACIAL ORTHODONTICS?

Craniofacial orthodontics is a sub-specialty of orthodontics that focuses on the treatment of patients with birth conditions such as cleft lip and palate. The orthodontist will work with a team comprised of speech pathologists, oral surgeons, and craniofacial plastic surgeons in planning treatment to correct cleft lip and palate, as well as other jaw and face abnormalities. As a member of a craniofacial team, a craniofacial orthodontist evaluates tooth and jaw development and growth.

WHAT IS A CLEFT LIP AND PALATE?

Cleft lip and cleft palate are facial malformations in which the parts of the face that form the upper lip and mouth remain split, instead of sealing together before birth. Similar splits can occur in the roof of the mouth, or palate. Clefting results when there is not enough tissue in the mouth or lip area, and the tissue that is available does not join together properly. While the defect occurs in early fetal development, in most cases, the cause is unknown, though there appears to be links with genetics and the result of maternal environmental exposures during pregnancy.