Cleft Lip & Palate -  A Quick Primer


What is a cleft lip? What is a cleft palate?  

Cleft lip and/or cleft palate are the most common craniofacial abnormalities. A cleft lip is an opening in the upper lip which may include the upper jaw and/or upper gum. A cleft palate is an opening in the roof of the mouth (the palate). These openings may occur unilaterally (on one side) or bilaterally (on both sides).

What are the health implications? Implications include difficulty with feeding, difficulty swallowing with potential nasal regurgitation, ear infections and hearing loss, dental problems as well as speech difficulties.

What causes these openings to occur? 
 It is difficult to establish exactly the cause of the cleft. Typically during the early stages of pregnancy the tissues that form the lip and palate fuse together. In babies with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate these facial structures do not completely fuse, leaving an opening.

What are the risk factors for cleft lip/cleft palate? Both genetics and environmental factors may play a part in the development of a cleft. Risk factors include family history (i.e. genetics), exposure to certain substances during pregnancy (i.e. cigarettes, alcohol, specific medications), maternal diabetes and maternal obesity. 


Diagnosis and Treatment


How do you identify and diagnose cleft lip and/or cleft palate? They are typically noticeable at birth. Furthermore, they are increasingly seen during an ultrasound before birth. The submucous cleft is much more difficult to identify however indicators include a bifid uvula, a translucent strip of lining in the middle of the roof of the mouth, a notch at the back edge of the hard palate, as well as speech problems (abnormally nasal speech), persistant ear disease and/or swallowing difficulty. 

How do you treat cleft lip and/or cleft palate? An interdisciplinary team of professionals work together to provide best outcomes. Treatment includes pre-operative positioning, reconstructive surgeries, and ongoing therapy. There is the initial surgery to close the separation as well as further surgeries to improve appearance of the mouth, lip and nose. Therapy may include feeding and speech, as well as screenings for hearing impairments which are more prevalent in children with cleft palate.  

Links for Further Information

The DynaCleft system is a pre-operative positioning device that gently guides, shapes, and supports facial tissues to improve nasal symmetry and better position a cleft lip for improved cosmetic and functional surgical results. 

The system is comprised of two components, the 

DynaCleft Positioning Strips and the DynaCleft Nasal Elevator. Each component can be used independently, together, or in conjunction with a NAM or intra-oral plate.   

Unilateral Strip

Bilateral Strip

 Nasal Elevator

DynaCleft Benefits

*  Re-positions prolabium, 
   premaxilla and alveolar               segments for best possible           surgical results.

*  Easy to apply and manage,

   increasing compliance.

*  Significant cost savings 
   compared to NAM.

Nasal Elevator Benefits

*  Improves nasal symmetry.

*  Lengthens & straightens the    

*  Reduces need for primary 
   nasal surgery.

*  Reduces length and extent of 
   primary nasal surgery.

*  Facilitates nasal breathing.

Baby and Parent Benefits

* Optimizes cosmetic and functional outcomes.

*  Easy at-home treatment minimizes clinical visits - 
    no professional adjustments necessary.

*  Does not interfere with feeding.

*  Gentle, non-invasive treatment that maximizes baby comfort.


Prescriptions and Ordering

For purchase orders (POs) or institutional pricing, please fax the order to 303-480-9115 or email to [email protected].

To order directly for a patient, download the the Prescription-order form and fax or email us the order.

** There is currently no coverage for the DynaCleft® Positioning Strips or Nasal Elevators. Due to FDA regulations, direct orders require a prescription. **

If you have any questions or requests, please call us at 1-800-206-8381 or email us at [email protected]. Click here to unsubscribe from future newsletters and other general communications.  

Noted research details can be found at:

OraStretch®, Salvate™, Nutrisqueeze ™, CryoJaw™, Helping People Say Ahhhhh!™  are trademarks of CranioMandibular Rehab, Inc.  Dynacleft™ is a trademark of SouthMedic LLC. 

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