Establishing Your Dental Home Early: Another Component of Cleft Lip and Palate Care

One important aspect of caring for children born with cleft lip and palate that can easily get overlooked is the importance of routine dental care. The nature of the location of the cleft palate typically results in an upper tooth being missing or having defects of the enamel. Consequently, it is important to keep your child’s teeth as healthy as possible. Parents are encouraged to begin brushing their child’s teeth as soon as they are present in the mouth (even if it is only one tooth)!

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have their first visit to the dentist within 6 months of the eruption of their first tooth or by their first birthday. Teeth are not only key components to nutrition and speech, but they also provide a path for permanent teeth to follow for eruption. The teeth of patients born with cleft lip and palate are even more important as early tooth loss can result in loss of bone support that may be necessary for future corrective surgeries as well as orthodontic treatment.

The Pediatric Dentist on the Cleft and Craniofacial Team at Riley at IU Health is always available during your clinic visit to answer all of your questions regarding your child’s oral health as it relates to their overall cleft care. For those parents looking for a dental provider, Riley at IU Health Dentistry is here to help!

LaQuia Vinson, DDS

Author of this Article

Dr. Vinson is a Clinical Assistant Professor for the Indiana University School of Dentistry. She serves as the Pediatric Dentist for the Cleft and Craniofacial Clinic.

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