One of the most frequent craniofacial abnormalities is cleft lip and palate. During the first few days after birth, infants have a lot of difficulties sucking. Parents experience psychological stress as a result of incorrect feeding and are at risk of nutritional deficiency. As medical technology advances, comprehensive correction of cleft lip and palate is undertaken in the later stages of newborns. It is a multidisciplinary strategy including pedodontists, oral surgeons, prosthodontists, and speech therapists. A cleft is a gap in the palate that may exist at birth. It may, however, arise as a result of trauma, sickness, or surgery. For example, in certain situations, oral cancer therapy includes surgery to remove a portion of the palate. When the palate is correctly formed, it moves in different locations when you talk, allowing you to enunciate effectively without using excessive nasal tones, and it moves in various positions when you eat or drink, preventing liquid and food from entering your nose when you swallow. These daily activities, as well as tooth growth and location, might be affected by a cleft palate.
Palatal obturator (dental plate)
- The use of a palatal obturator (dental plate) varies from country to country. The use of such plates from the first days after delivery.
- They are composed of plastic and are custom-built to match the precise contour of the hard and soft palates, extending forward to block off the nasal cavity from the mouth. If done properly, the surface should always be totally smooth. During breastfeeds, a rough surface may irritate or injure your nipple and areola.
- A pediatric dentist or orthodontist creates the plate, and it is preferable if it is fitted to your infant during the first 2–3 days of life. As your baby develops, the plate will need to be modified and/or replaced.
- A baby may not feed properly for a day or two after having a plate installed as he adapts to the changing shape of his mouth. As your baby learns to take the nipple deep into his mouth and push it on the plate, careful placement and attachment may be required.
- Some mothers find it difficult to breastfeed with a plate and remove it during feeding. It is better to have an open mind and determine what your infant needs.
- At some point, your infant may be equipped with a detachable, pre-surgical prosthetic device comparable to the plate.
Advantages of using feeding appliance include
- It aids in the maintenance of appropriate nutrition by covering the cleft palate and creating a hard platform against which the newborn may push the breast to obtain milk.
- It promotes appropriate suckling, resulting in the development of normal oral motor and swallowing reflexes.
- Feeding issues such as nasal regurgitation and choking are reduced, and feeding duration is reduced.
- It holds the tongue in the proper place, preventing it from entering the defect and assisting in the expansion of the maxilla and maxillary shelves toward each other.
- Reduces milk flow into the nasopharynx, lowering the frequency of nasopharyngeal infections and otitis media.
- It is also beneficial in presurgical nasoalveolar shaping.
- After cheiloplasty, the cross arch is stabilized and the maxillary arch does not collapse.
Cleft Palate Treatment
Although surgery is typically effective in covering the palate, a cleft palate obturator is sometimes required to entirely cover the hole. An oral prosthesis is an obturator. They create a mould of your mouth before building the gadget out of plastic or metal. If the opening in the palate recurs after surgery, an obturator may be utilised as an alternative to surgery or as a temporary remedy until surgery is suitable.
Proper eating is necessary for good growth in newborns with cleft palates, hence an obturator is indicated. The prosthesis makes it simpler for adults and children to eat and swallow, allowing them to acquire enough nourishment. It also helps with straightforward communication and reduces anxiety caused by speech difficulties.
If all or part of the palate was removed as a consequence of trauma or surgery, an obturator may be implanted immediately. The first prosthesis is often replaced ten to fourteen days later with a transitional one that may be changed until the location heals. This transitory period might span anywhere from two to 24 months. After healing is complete, a long-term obturator is made and placed over the wound.
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