The top priority in the treatment of a Cleft-Child is to enable it to breathe, speak, eat and smile without difficulty. It receives a "normal" aesthetic appearance, which makes integration into society possible. Within days of the baby's birth, an impression is made of its jaw and a removable dental plate is constructed, which separates the baby's mouth from its nasal cavity. This makes nearly normal drinking possible for the infant. Furthermore, this device promotesproper position and functioning of the tongue, as well as inducing the correct development of the palate. As the child matures, a number of operations are performed, which lead to a complete closure of the cleft lip and palate. The first step is the surgical closure of the lips at the age of six months. A cleft palate is initially operated on at the age of 12 months. Corrective surgery such as labio-alveolo-plasty, pharyngoplasty (which improves speech), rhinoplasty, and alterations in the position of the teeth and jaws are follow-up procedures which may be required into adulthood.
A facial cleft is an opening or gap in the face, or a malformation of a part of the face. Facial clefts are a collective term for all sorts of clefts. All structures like bone, soft tissue, skin etc. can be affected. Facial clefts are extremely rare congenital anomalies. There are many variations of a type of clefting and classifications are needed to describe and classify all types of clefting. Facial clefts hardly ever occur isolated; most of the time there is an overlap of adjacent facial clefts.