Alveolar/Maxillary Cleft Bone Grafting

For children with clefts of the lip & palate, the teeth and upper jaw are also frequently involved. While the cleft lip and palate are primarily repaired in infancy and early childhood, the remaining defect in the upper jaw and nose are addressed in later childhood. This is often between the ages of 7 and 13. The timing of this repair is based on individual growth and tooth development. The graphic below shows how the missing bone affects the upper jaw, nose, and teeth. Bone grafts from the hip or lower leg are most frequently employed to correct these defects. Rarely, a bone substitute may be used. This allows for appropriate eruption of permanent teeth and a more normal pattern of development. Additionally, correct timing of this procedure prepares the patient for any future jaw (orthognathic) surgery that may (may not) be recommended. An Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon trained treating cleft lip and palate has a unique blend of understanding of both the surgical aspects as well as the dental growth and development relating to these problems.