While many conditions involving oral and craniofacial care are treatable, they can be serious and life threatening.
01 | Introduction
Oral and craniofacial surgeries repair and correct conditions related to the head, mouth, neck, and face. Specialists often work on both bone and soft tissues to restore natural appearance and function to a patient. Children born with conditions like; cleft palate, cleft lip, and craniosynotosis, are typically diagnosed in utero or after birth. Other patients who suffer from malformations, trauma, and various symptoms that pertain to the oral/craniofacial areas may not be noticeable or diagnosable at birth.
02 | Causes
There are various reasons that a child may be born with a defect, however most direct causes are unknown. Links to in-utero conditions and habits of the carrying mother are always assessed as smoking, diabetes, medications, and more have been linked to various birth defects. As with any birth, mothers should always get regular check-ups and follow recommended diets, medications, and activities. If your child shows signs of difficulty breathing, eating, drinking, speaking, or hearing; consult a provider. Some conditions will not be diagnosed or even show signs and symptoms until a person grows out of adolescence and into adulthood. Unfortunately trauma can be caused spontaneously through various unforeseen incidents.
03 | Treatment
Most trauma or birth conditions effecting the neck, face, head, or mouth, require surgery. Surgery often prevents complications as a child grows older, depending on the condition. Some minor conditions may be treated with physical therapy. Early intervention often results in the best and most successful treatments. Long-term effects can still cause difficulties with eating, drinking, speaking, learning, vision, hearing, and general movement. Full use of affected areas could be minimal or require therapy, even after corrective surgery.
Surgeries and life-long complications or disabilities can be traumatic and difficult for families. It can be exceptionally difficult when the patient is a child. There are many resources which can help with navigating diagnosis, learning about conditions, handling loss of function, post-operation therapy, and other support topics.
For more information on oral and craniofacial anomalies, please visit https://acpa-cpf.org