A cleft lip or palate can be successfully corrected with surgery and orthodontic treatment. A pediatrician and a plastic surgeon work with a child's parents to choose the best timing for surgery. Most surgeons agree that a baby cleft lip should be repaired by 3 months old. To repair the partition of mouth and nose as early as possible, a cleft palate generally is repaired between the ages of 12 and 18 months. Any surgical procedure is dependent upon a child's general health and the nature of the cleft lip or cleft palate.
Children with clefts usually continue to receive treatment after surgery, including dental care and speech therapy.