You'll find hundreds of files on cleft lip, cleft palate here on widesmiles.org.

This one is about: Basic Definitions - Palate, Unilateral, Bilateral, Complete Cleft, Incomplete Cleft


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Palate -

The shape of the palate (in a normal palate I would say it is similar to toe section of the top of a shoe - Or just the right shape for your tongue in a relaxed state) gives you the right shape for tongue placement during speech. The palate is hard and boney from the gums to just past mid-point where the boney ridge gives way to soft tissue - the soft palate or velum. The soft palate goes beyond where you can feel it with your tongue and will reach all the way to the back of your throat if you want to make it do so.

Interesting - if you run your tongue along the middle of the hard palate, you can feel the line where the palate fused.

Normal palates have an arch to them, but a "High arched palate" has an exaggerated arch and could even be steepled.  There is not cleft there, in that there is no hole, but the palate also in incapable of functioning the
way a "normal" palate functions.

Lips -

Basically, our face is formed out of three plates that move toward center during gestation. If they fuse normally, the place where they join forms the philitrim lines (those straight lines that make up the cupid's bow).

Unilateral Cleft Lip: If one side fails to fuse it is a unilateral.

Bilateral Cleft Lip: If both sides fail to fuse.

Complete Cleft -

A "complete cleft lip" is one that will separate the lip, all the way up through the floor of the nostril, and through the gum.  A "complete cleft palate" will separate the palate all the way through the whole palatal structure.

Incomplete Cleft - An incomplete cleft of each will separate some, but not all of that particular structure.


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