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 It’s Never too Late to Straighten Your Smile

Braces as an adult? No way. At least, that was what I thought when my dentist told me that I was going to have to see an orthodontist about my crooked teeth. But my teeth were so misaligned that they were causing me pain when I chewed, so I decided to at least look into it. Turns out braces today are nothing like the ones my friends had when I was a kid. Mine were practically invisible, and I didn't need to wear them that long. I started this blog to encourage other people like me who are nervous about the prospect of wearing braces as an adult. My straight smile is so worth the trips to the orthodontist, and wearing braces was nowhere near as bad as I thought. Read on to find out more about how you can straighten your smile.

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It’s Never too Late to Straighten Your Smile

What You Need To Know About Cleft Lip And Palates

by Jacqueline Byrd

Cleft lips and palates probably aren't a sight common to your everyday life, but this condition is actually shockingly common in the United States -- about 1 in every 1000 births, making it one of the most common birth defects in the United States. But, like most developmental disturbances, cleft lips and palates aren't one-size-fits-all and each case comes with its own unique challenges and conditions. If you're curious exactly what having a cleft lip and palate could mean for your future child, then here's what you need to know.

What exactly does a "cleft lip and palate" mean?

A cleft is just a gap -- a place where the child's bones, cartilage, and muscles didn't fuse together properly. Ergo, a cleft lip and palate (which are actually two different conditions that are almost always grouped together) generally manifest themselves physically as a part of the lip being dragged up to the opening of the nostril. 

Is it dangerous?

As far as birth defects go, this one is fairly low on the mortality rate scale, especially with modern technology helping doctors quickly identify developing cleft lips and palates in gestating babies, and safer surgery procedures. That doesn't mean you shouldn't treat this condition with all the seriousness you would treat any other birth defect -- about three thousand children died in 2013 from it (though this number is significantly smaller than the seventy-six hundred deaths in 1990).

How would this affect a child?

Though both cleft lips and cleft palates (and the combination of cleft lip/cleft palate) can be corrected via surgery, there are some without the means for this surgery, and as a parent, you would have to decide exactly when this surgery would take place in the timeline of your child's life. As an infant, the cleft lip/palate will result in a lack of suction produced by your child, which means that you'll have to feed them sitting up, often with a specialized rubber nipple attached to the bottle to minimize the effort required on your child's part.

If the surgery has to wait (for whatever reason) until after this stage, your child might experience social problems (due to the difference in appearance between your child and their peers), speech impediments, and reoccurring ear infections (particularly in the middle ear). Because of the mformation of your child's palate, the ear is often affected, and this can impact both the health of their ears and their performance.

Even if your child does not have a cleft lip or palate, be sure to take them to a dentist, such as Southridge Pediatric Dentistry, for regular checkups.