About 7,000 children a year in the United States are born with orofacial clefts, or cleft palate. These defects are usually corrected immediately, and the child’s appearance is like that of other children. Proper follow-up ensures that the child is able to take nourishment and the facial structure develops correctly, allowing for proper breathing, hearing and speech.
Cleft Palate and Health Conditions
If untreated, cleft palate can lead to chronic health conditions. Children with untreated cleft palate are sometimes partially deaf and cannot speak clearly. Teeth come in at random, instead of in rows supported by a normal dental ridge. Sinus and ear infections are common, and ability to take nourishment can be limited.
Cleft Palate and Emotional Harm
Studies show that children viewed as attractive are believed to be brighter and receive more positive social perks than those seen as less attractive. Teasing by peers is often the case for children with untreated cleft palate, and the report concludes that being shunned or made fun of was a strong predictor of behavioral problems in school.
Anxiety and depression are twice as likely in adults with cleft lip or palate. Negative feedback about bodily image has a crushing influence on later social competence and self-esteem. Physically attractive people often marry the same kind of person, ignoring or shunning those unlike themselves. Employment opportunities are offered upon first impressions, which is partly the way a person presents him or herself.
Surgeons Change Lives for Those Needing Cleft Palate Repair
In countries like the Philippines, a person can live an entire life with the splayed teeth and disturbing facial opening of cleft palate.
Due to medical procedures, people’s lives are transformed with new faces. Surgical repair of a cleft lip is incredibly transformative of outward appearance, but some physicians say that the palate repair is most beneficial. Speech and eating become far easier.
The relatively simple procedure is readily available in most of the developed world, so a cleft lip or palate is no longer the lifelong burden that it used to be for those with the condition. If your child has this condition, you needn’t worry as contemporary medical science has an answer for this particular medical circumstance.
Babies are able to grow and play without social stigma after reparative surgery for cleft palate. Adults are filled with gratitude for a chance to look and feel like other people.