Craniofacial Orthodontics

What is Craniofacial Orthodontics?
Craniofacial orthodontics is a sub-specialty of orthodontics.  It is dedicated to the treatment of patients with birth anomalies affecting the skull, face, jaws, and teeth. The orthodontist works as part of a team which includes a reconstructive plastic surgeon, neurosurgeon, oral surgeon, ENT, geneticist, speech-language pathologist, audiologist, pediatric dentist, and psychologist to plan and stage treatment. The craniofacial orthodontist understands facial proportion, growth of the face and jaws, eruption of the teeth, and development of the bite.  

What is a Cleft Lip and Palate?
Cleft lip and palate describe a lack of closure of the upper lip and/or palate during the first trimester. In most cases, the cause is unknown. However, some clefts are congenital (inherited) or the result of maternal environmental exposures during pregnancy.  The geneticist will work with the parents to determine the cause.

Some of the possible effects of a cleft:

  • Jaws do not grow proportionately
  • Difficulty with speech
  • Ear infections
  • Problems with eruption of upper teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • Difficulty chewing

Children should be monitored closely by a multi-specialty team.  All treatment needs to carefully staged and coordinated by experienced doctors since the consequences can be profound.  Please follow the link below to get more information about our team and to schedule a consult.

Inova Children's Hospital Craniofacial Program