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Cleft palate and cleft lip may occur independently of each other or at the same time. The terms below are often used to describe and classify cleft lip and cleft palate and to describe a cleft more precisely.
A cleft palate is first categorized according to whether it affects the hard palate, the soft palate, or both.
See a picture comparing a normal mouth with two types of cleft palate.
Cleft lip is classified according to its location and severity:
See a picture comparing a complete cleft lip and an incomplete cleft lip.
Most clefts involve one or both sides of the upper lip. They rarely occur in the lower lip.
If cleft lip occurs with cleft palate, the upper alveolar ridges, which are where the teeth sit, are also involved.
Complete classification of a cleft palate combines all of the appropriate terms. For example:
Current as of: October 16, 2013
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Adam David Schaffner, MD, FACS - Plastic Surgery, Otolaryngology
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