Cleft Lip

Prehistoric art tells historians that people once thought congenital diseases, or birth defects, werebad omens or the displeasing of the gods. In one instance, it was thought that cleft lip was caused by themother of the baby being startled by a rabbit. Odd as it may seem, at that time it was the most logicalexplanation for that particular birth defect. However, now we know that a cleft lip is not caused by amother being startled by a rabbit, but by the environment the mother is in, the ethnicity, race, genetics,sex, and so on. Cleft lip is the fourth most frequent congenital disease in the United States. On average,one of every 700 newborns is affected by this disease, which means that approximently 5,000 babies areborn with cleft lip every year. This very common defect goes along with many other defects as well. Affected babies go through surgery to sew the lip around 1 to 2 months of age, later dental/orthodonticcare, ear care, and speech therapy. Although a lot of cleft lip cases accommodate some mental situations,a lot of cases do not. First of all, the prefix "cleft" means "split," so knowing this, a cleft lip is a separation, or split, in the upper lip. The cleft might only be on one side of the lip making a small notch,or it could go all the way to the base of the nose. This type of a cleft lip is called a unilateral. A secondtype of a cleft lip is called a bi-lateral where there is one cleft on each side of the lip. The separation isusually an opening where the upper lip failed to grow together. The failing to grow together can varyfrom a small notch at the top of the lip to a complete separation stretching to the nose. How this defecthappens goes back to genetics. Every child inherits 100,000 genes, 50,000 from each parent. There are anumber of inherited genes that combine together to form the face, palate, or lip, and that can cause aproblem. In most cases, cleft lip happens because of a combination of ge…

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