If your child was born with a cleft lip, then you are probably concerned this condition will affect him or her physically and socially. A cleft lip is the fourth most common birth defect that occurs in the United States. This condition occurs when the lips do not form properly during the pregnancy. A child with a cleft lip would have an opening from the upper lip to one or two nostrils. However, this condition is treatable. Read on to find out treatment options for a child with a cleft lip.

Consider Plastic Surgery

Pediatric plastic surgery is one of the ways to treat this condition. A cleft lip repair is a surgical procedure that corrects abnormal development. It takes multiple surgeries over a period of 18 years to repair your child's lip. The first surgery usually occurs when your child is between six and 12 months.

It also gives your child a more natural appearance and restores function. Cleft lip surgery improves your child's ability to speak, eat, breathe and hear.

Sign Your Child Up For Speech Therapy

Repairing your child's cleft lip should decrease any future speech problems. However, some children may still have some problems speaking after going through this surgery.

After the initial surgery, you should have child see a speech language therapist. He or she can carry out an initial assessment to check for speech difficulty. Your therapist will then set up a variety of appointments to check speech as your child gets older. If the assessments reveal any problems with your child's use of language or pronunciation, then your child will go through speech exercises to help with development.

Schedule An Appointment With A Dentist

Cleft conditions can sometimes cause problems with a child's teeth. A cleft condition can affect the gums. It also can cause teeth to get out of position or to be tilted. Other problems may include missing teeth or extra teeth.

It helps to have a dentist assess your child's mouth and teeth. Your dentist can recommend treatments when necessary. He or she also can catch dental problems early.

It is hard on a family when a child is sick. As the mother, you have to be supportive of your child and explore all treatment options. It helps to understand you can always get a second opinion on a medical diagnosis. You should look for a doctor who has experience with treating children with cleft conditions.