Submucous Cleft and Speech

PTLS Fact:

Some parents have asked what a submucous cleft palate is. and do all the children have this. Let me see if I can help explain. First, no. Not all the children with PTLS have this, however, it has been seen in some of the children. What is it? In the first 8 weeks, when the embryo is developing (1st 8 weeks of pregnancy), the palate (roof of the mouth) develops. Sometimes the left and right sides do not come together, leaving a small gap. The skin closes over the bones, so it is not seen, but it can be felt. One sign that is seen when you look in the back of the throat. There is a bit of tissue that hangs, called the Uvula. The length of it has been linked to PTLS (being too short). However, if it looks like a “W”, called a Bifid Uvula, it is a sign of a Submucous Cleft Palate. This can also cause a larger gap in the back of the nose/mouth area (just above and behind the Uvula), called a Velopharyngeal Insufficiency, so the Adenoids should not be removed or it can cause the gap to be larger. The cleft can be surgically repaired. So, next time your baby is opening their mouth, or crying, take a look in the back of the mouth. If you are concerned, ask your child’s doctor to check. I hope this helps. ~Julie Smith-Centeno

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