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Cleft Lip + Palate


We're here to help kids with craniofacial differences, like cleft lip and palate. We offer support ranging from surgery to speech and feeding therapy, and we're with you every step of the way.

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This page is for our littlest patients.
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Correcting smiles + creating lasting memories

Smiling is powerful. We're here to help your child's smile shine if they have a craniofacial difference, like cleft lip or palate. Did you know that cleft lip and palate are two of the most common craniofacial conditions during pregnancy? It happens when some parts of your baby's face, like the lip, the roof of the mouth, or both, don't form completely. We do not know the exact cause, but some researchers speculate that it may be due to changes in genes, diet or medication use during pregnancy.

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Cleft lip and cleft palate are conditions that some people are born with. They happen when the tissue that makes up the lip and mouth doesn't close all the way, leaving a gap. A cleft lip can happen on one or both sides of the upper lip or in the middle, but that's pretty rare. If a baby has a cleft lip, they might also have a cleft palate, which is a gap in the roof of the mouth. These conditions can make it hard for a baby to eat, talk, and hear, and can also affect their teeth.



Some babies are born with what's called a cleft lip, which is something doctors can spot during a routine ultrasound before they're even born. But it's a lot harder to tell if a baby has a cleft palate from an ultrasound, so it might not get detected until after they're born. If doctors want to check for a cleft palate before the baby's born, they might use a special kind of MRI called a fetal MRI.



We're here to help you and your child with the best care possible. Our team of experts will create a personalized treatment plan based on your child's unique needs. We always make sure that you and your child feel comfortable and we're always ready to help with anything from feeding to surgery, if needed. Here's what we offer:

Our team of highly skilled surgeons can recommend surgery that's just right for your child's needs. But don't worry, we don't just stop there. We'll keep an eye on your little one as they grow and mature into adulthood and beyond. Our team is one of the only clinics in the area that also cares for adults with cleft and craniofacial differences. No matter how old you are, we're always here to help you out with any medical, surgical, orthodontic and dental concerns you may have. 

Baby with cleft lip palate
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See the difference

Take a look at our before-and-after photos to see how we've helped our patients. You'll be amazed at the incredible results we've achieved with our procedures.



How can I be connected with other families?

Lots of families with kids who have cleft lip and palate have found it super helpful to talk to other parents who are going through the same thing. We can connect you with other families to chat with one-on-one. Just ask for contact info for parents who are happy to share their experiences.

Are there local support groups (in Massachusetts)?

We often connect families with the Foundation for the Faces of Children in Brookline, Massachusetts. The foundation is geared toward children with craniofacial anomalies and has information about cleft lip and palate.

One of our best resources is connecting your family with other families who have been through the same thing. Talk to your care team about how to make that connection.

What are some online resources?

These are online resources that others have found helpful:

  • American Cleft Palate Craniofacial Association: Offers prenatal resources, fact sheets, instructional videos, booklets for teens and support groups.
  • Wide Smiles: A resource with practical information for parents on everyday things: how to word birth announcements, tell siblings, etc. They also have resources for older children on handling school teasing and self-esteem concerns. And offer a packet for new parents with things they should know.
  • Dailystrength: An online community and blog where parents can chat and have their questions answered and participate in an online cleft lip and cleft palate support group.
Anasuya Gunturi MD, PhD talks with patient at Lowell General Hospital's Women's Wellness Center clinic appointment.
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