A cleft palate is an opening in the roof of the mouth in which the two sides of the palate do not join together, as an unborn baby develops. A cleft palate can occur on one side (unilateral cleft palate), or on both sides (bilateral cleft palate). Cleft palates are one of the most common birth defects in the United States. Approximately, one in 600 newborns are born with cleft palates.
Cleft palates are congenital defects, or birth defects, that occur early in pregnancy. The majority of clefts tend to be due to a combination of genetics and environmental reasons. The risks of recurrence of a cleft condition is dependent upon numerous factors, including the number of affected persons in the family, the closeness of affected relatives, the race and sex of all affected persons, and the severity of the clefts.
The palate is made of bone and muscle and is enclosed by a thin, wet skin that forms the red covering inside the mouth. Its purpose is to split your nose from your mouth. The palate has a very symbolic role during speech, when you talk it prevents air from blowing out of your nose instead of your mouth. The palate is also very vital when eating. It prevents food and liquids from going up into the nose. During swallowing, the tongue presses up against the palate and pushes the chewed food to the back of the throat where it then goes down into the stomach.
Causes of Cleft Palates
Cleft palates can occur in conjunction with other syndromes or birth defects. There are numerous causes for these birth defects, including mutant genes inherited from one or both parents, drugs, viruses, and/or other toxins that may cause abnormalities in a developing fetus.
Symptoms of Cleft Palates
- Separation of the palate
- Nasal distortion
- Ear infections
- Inability to gain weight
- Nasal regurgitations
- Growth retardation
- Misaligned teeth
- Feeding problems
- Poor speech
Legal Rights For Cleft Palate Defects
If you or a loved one has give birth and your child has been diagnosed with a cleft palate, please fill out the form to the right for a free case evaluation by a qualified birth defect attorney or call us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).