Care Instructions

Babies get used to these appliances very quickly and it will surprise you to see how adaptable they are. You will also see improvements in appearance almost immediately. Although you will feel “all thumbs” to begin with, it will soon become routine and very rewarding as you see the fruits of your labours in the permanent improvement you have helped make in your baby’s appearance. 

Here are the things you need to do to care for your baby and his/her appliance before surgery:

  1. Clean the appliance and palate at least once per day (see details below).
  2. Change the lip tape several times a day making sure to keep pressure on the lip and underlying tissue.
  3. Change the base tape and steristrips as needed. The base tape can be left on for up to a week before changing it. This protects the cheeks from the more frequent changing of the lip tape and steristrips.

Care of the Plate

After feeding, or at least once a day, remove the plate and rinse it in cool water. You may also hold the plate in the palm of your hand and use a toothbrush and toothpaste to brush the plate. Remember to rinse the plate well with water to remove the taste of the toothpaste.  The plate must be treated with care. Since the plate is made of plastic, please do not:

  1. Boil or heat the plate in any way - it will distort;
  2. Put it in your pocket or drop it - it will get broken;
  3. Wrap it in tissue or a napkin - someone will throw it out;
  4. Leave it lying around - pets and children are very curious.

The safest place for the plate is in your baby’s mouth. When you need to take it out, please put it in the case provided. Your name, address and phone number should be clearly marked on the case.  Another very important point to remember is that if the plate is not worn for long periods, the mouth can change slightly and the plate will no longer fit. Therefore, please try to keep the plate in most of the time and call your orthodontist to have the plate checked if you are having significant problems.

Common Issues & Concerns

Here are some of the common issues and concerns you may encounter when caring for your baby:

  1. The Plate is loose.  Try tightening elastics by moving the steristrips higher on the plastic skin, or add some denture adhesive to the plate.

  2. Skin rashes.  Try to move the tape or plastic skin to different areas, or if the problems persist, phone Lorin Scott at the Cleft clinic.  She has some great ideas and remedies.

  3. Sore, red or bleeding areas on the palate of nose.  Call Dr. Loo to arrange an adjustment.

  4. Baby pulling plate out.  This may happen especially later in treatment.  It is important to keep the plate in.  Use more denture adhesive, put mitts or socks on the hands.  If the plate is left out the tongue can push up into the cleft and possibly widen the cleft.  This makes the palate surgery more difficult and prone to complications.  For some babies, it may only be possible to have the wear it at night and during feedings.  Others will refuse to wear it all.  If this happens at this stage, we are often able to discontinue the plate and still provide your baby with a very good result.

  5. Plate not fitting because of teeth coming in.  Contact Dr. Loo and make an appointment to have the plate adjusted as soon as possible.  Often a sliht adjustment will make the plate comfortable again for your baby to wear.