What is Cleft Palate?


In simple terms, a “cleft” is a separation of parts or segments of the lip or roof of the mouth.

It is natural to wonder why the cleft occurred and what may have caused the clefting. Presently, there is no single cause of clefting. We do know that clefting is a result of a combination of inherited factors (genes) probably interacting with certain “environmental” factors. Clefting occurs very early in a pregnancy (4 weeks – 12 weeks after conception). Many parents feel “at fault” for somehow causing the cleft. It is important to remember that this was not caused by something you did or did not do during pregnancy.

The first and primary concern is that your infant thrives and remains healthy. Your pediatrician and other specialists will work with you to insure your infant’s good health and development.

Cleft Lip

A cleft lip is a separation of the two sides of the lip and often does involve the bones of the upper jaw or upper gum.



Cleft Palate

A cleft of the palate is an opening in the roof of the mouth. A cleft of the palate does not mean that some of the palate is “missing,” although sometimes it may look that way. A cleft of the palate means that the two sides of the palate did not “grow together.”