When a child is born with an opening or hole at the roof of the mouth, it is called Cleft Palate. It will make it difficult for a child to eat or speak as the food or liquid will go through the hole to nasal passage instead of going through the throat into the stomach. Cleft Palate is common among newborn babies. The only way to fix this is through surgery. Can cleft palate be fixed by a dental surgeon or nose surgeon? Cleft palate surgery is a procedure to fix the hole or opening at the roof of the mouth.
Preparation before the Surgery
Before surgery, the doctor will usually review the child’s medical history and current health. All liquid, semi-liquid and solid food must be stopped 8 hours before surgery. The child may have clear liquid like water up to 2 hours before surgery. Prescription medicine is to be given based on doctor advice.
During the Surgery
Medicine is given so that the child can sleep during the surgery. A brace is placed in the child’s mouth to keep it open. A layer of tissue attached to the bone is loosened so it can be stretched. A cut is made along the gum to stretch the tissue. The incision is left open to heal for the next three weeks. Stitches are used to close the inner layer of tissue that will dissolve. Sutures are used to close the outer layer of tissue that will dissolve. The incision inside the mouth will look like a “Z”. The overall surgery takes about 2 to 6 hours.
Expectation after the Surgery
A small amount of blood might be present in mucus or saliva for a few days. More clear drainage expected from the nose for several weeks. After the surgery, the child may snore or sound congested for several weeks. They might feel hard to sleep for several weeks. The child might not have a good appetite so make sure they eat.
Most children are back to normal behavior in a week but the incision takes 3 to 4 weeks to heal. Some child needs to wear padded arm restraint for 2 weeks to prevent them from rubbing the surgery a