6 Side Effects of Cleft Palate

The cleft palate is a birth defect that affects approximately 2,600 babies every year, as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and prevention. For some reason, the roof of the mouth does not form properly, and the tissue does not join as it should. The cleft palate does not need any the testing to diagnose because it is visually apparent. People can easily see the split in the roof of the mouth. During pregnancy, the ultrasound testing can reveal a cleft palate. Usually, the obstetrician will want to perform additional tests to make sure that the baby does not have any other birth defects. The ultrasound can reveal the cleft palate at about 20 weeks of pregnancy and sometimes even way before.

The cause of cleft palate is still unknown. Researchers are still trying to find out the exact cause. Genetics may play a role in the cleft palate development. Other factors such as the mother’s lifestyle during pregnancy or the environment may have something to do with the development. Some medications might cause cleft palate if the mother has to take them during pregnancy. Diabetic women may also have a high tendency to give birth to a child with a cleft palate.

Several options are available for treatment of the cleft palate. Treatment choices will depend on the severity of the cleft palate and symptoms that the child suffers. Surgery is one option, and it has the best chance of succeeding if the doctors perform it within the first 12 months of the child’s life. Treatments are also available for the various complications of the cleft palate. The following list talks about some of the most common complications or side effects of the cleft palate. There are six of them in the list to be exact. Each one has a brief description of the solution that can help with that particular side effect.

1. Speech Disorder

Speech problems are the main issues that occur because of the cleft palate. They happen because the tissue does not join and cover the teeth and the top of the mouth the way it’s supposed to. The cleft palate may also affect parts of the nose, as well. The imperfection in the facial structure in those areas causes distortions in speech. One of the most common speech distortions is a nasally sound. When the child speaks, he may sound as if he’s talking through his nose. The appropriate term for that sound is a hypernasal sound. It occurs because the pallet is unable to stop air from exiting the nose or leaking out. The affected person may also have problems pronouncing certain words and sounds.

S sounds may be difficult to make. A person may also have trouble with the R sound. Additional problems may arise if the teeth do not line up as they’re supposed to. Many people with cleft palate try to resolve these issues with speech therapy. A specialist can work with a person to help him improve his pronunciations. It’s best to start speech therapy as soon as possible, like before the age of five. That will give the young person the best chance of overcoming the speech problems as much as possible. It will take a lot of dedicated practice, but the speech issues can be overcome a great deal.