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FAQ:  Cleft Palate

My daughter is 15 months old and was born with a healed cleft lip. Her palate is completely intact, but on her right upper gum line there is a small piece of her gum that seems to be missing (it is where her right upper incisor should be) I have heard that children who suffer from cleft lips sometimes have missing teeth.

My daughter has gotten her bottom four teeth, her two upper front teeth, her left incisor, and two back molars (one on the top and one on the bottom) but her right incisor still has not emerged. Should I have reason to be concerned? Also my daughter's lower right gum line seems to be swollen. It has been swollen and pinkish white in color for about a week and a half.

She is always biting on a finger on that side and frequently cries out in pain, I have tried using baby anbesol but it doesn't seem to even temporarily relieve the pain. Please help! Should I make an appointment as soon as possible?

First, I would make a consultation appointment to see your pediatric dentist. You are correct in your question that patients with clefts tend to have teeth missing. The upper right lateral incisor that is not there is more than likely missing.

This is completely normal and you should NOT be alarmed. Lateral incisors are commonly missing in patients even if they are not cleft patients. (my brother was missing his) As far as her gums swelling, I'd go have your dentist check. It's probably nothing to worry about; but it's better to be safe. I hope this has helped.

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