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FAQ:  Cleft Palate



Question:
I was born with a "minor" cleft palate. Single side, scar tissue to the middle of the roof of my mouth. As a result I had a "peg" tooth capped at a young age and extensive orthodontics through my preteens to teens.

I am now 31 years old, my teeth have once again shifted. Crowding in the scar tissue area (no bone for teeth to butt up against, is my understanding.) My dentist, after many appointments of saying he's working on a plan, referred me to another dentist who in turn referred me to an Orthodontist. Initially I was not willing to undergo Orthodontics again after so much money and time in my teens.

However, I now have a cross bite damaging the surface of my teeth. The orthodontist indicated it would take 48 months to shift everything back with full braces/retainers/etc. My question is, now that I am 31 years old, I don't believe I am growing any more. It seems to me it could be done in a less amount of time (and money) considering he's not contending with a developing mouth.

I'm looking for any info. I'm seriously thinking just leave it and deal with things as they "break". I realize any answer is subjective considering you can't see me but I am very interested in any comments. Regardless, I attended the consultation and paid to have the impressions done. If I receive serious inquiries, I'd be happy to put you in touch with the dentist, referred dentist or the orthodontist. ...Michael in MI

Answer:
Michael, you should, at the minimum, have a protective splint or ortho device fabricated to protect your teeth and keep them from further shifting. I would recommned you see an oral surgeon and get an evaluation to see why the shifiting is occuring.

There may be something else that everyone else is missing. You don't have to wear braces, necessarily. There are expanders and appliances that can move your teeth while you sleep. It is harder, however, to do this as you get older. Your bones are harder and it takes a bigger bulldozer to get through the hard ground.

Appliances can cut down the 48 month treatment to less than 16 months, if you are a candidate. Send me your models with a wax bite and I can give you a second opinion. In the meantime go to the oral surgeon.

Editorial Staff

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