If your child was born with a cleft lip or palate, you have spent a lot of time at the doctor's office or hospital. He or she may have had trouble nursing, learning to talk, and suffered numerous ear infections. Of course, there was also the time spent preparing for and undergoing the surgeries to correct the problems. Now that the child is older and has teeth, dental issues are starting to appear. One of the things you should discuss with your dental practitioner is implants. There are a couple of ways that implants are specifically helpful to people with cleft lips and/or palates.
It is common for people with a cleft lip or palate to be missing teeth, making it very hard to properly chew food and begin the digestion process. Sometimes, the teeth never formed at all. It is also possible there was just not enough jawbone for the tooth to anchor to so it fell out shortly after popping through the gums. An implant dentist can graft bone material to the jawbone so that implants can be put in place of the missing teeth.
When there is a deformity of the mouth and jaw, or there are missing teeth, the tongue cannot be properly used to make the letter sounds for speech. The tongue can press against dental implants the way it would normal teeth. While it would be possible to have regular dentures, the plastic piece that covers the roof of the mouth often gets in the way, especially when a cleft is involved.
A cleft palate can alter the formation of the facial bones. The corrective surgery that was done in the first year or two of life helped with quite a bit of the bone structure. However, as the child ages and grows, more surgeries may be necessary to ensure the facial structure stays intact. Dental implants help to keep the jawbone strong and in place. They can even encourage bone growth due to the continual pressure that takes place while chewing.
Even though medical advancements have made it so that children born with clefts can be treated in infancy, there can still be problems as the child grows. Going through childhood can be tough enough, but when a deformity is involved, it can be devastating to a child's confidence. Dental implants can be a very good addition to the other treatments and procedures your child goes through to correct a cleft palate or lip. In addition to cosmetic purposes, they help with eating, digestion and speech. Contact a local provider, such as Michael A. Israelson, DDS, for further assistance.Share