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

This one is about: Concerning Late Erupting Teeth

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A Cleft-Talk reader poses this question regarding the late eruption of teeth in a cleft-affected child:

Justin is 9 mos (today) and has yet to get his first tooth. He's been gnawing on everything for about 3 mos. now, but still no pearly whites. This is probably more of a generalized baby question, but, at what age should we be concerned if he still hasn't sprouted any?

Joanne Green, WideSmiles writes:

Concerning the question of late-erupting teeth, I sent the question to our Dental Consultant and have gotten the following response from him.

Hello Joanne,

I'm looking forward to the meeting in August too!

Teeth in children with cleft lip and/or palate, can be normal and healthy just like any other children. Children without cleft lip and/or palate can experience delayed eruption and congenitally missing teeth too. It is however, more likely that children with clefts will have a greater chance of delayed eruption and missing teeth. If one was to look at the point in embryonic development where clefting begins, it is the same layer of material from which teeth are formed as well. Therefore, especially in the area of the cleft, there is a greater chance of missing a tooth or delayed eruption.

As to the question of an x-ray to determine missing teeth, I don't recommend it on a very young child. What would be the purpose? If we find out a tooth is missing, there is really nothing we can do about it anyway.

I personally feel that it would just be an unnecessary exposure to radiation for the child.

Hope this is of help in clarifying things.

John Liu DDS

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