If your cleft went through your gum line, you may need a bone graft (the bone comes from your hip) so that your adult teeth will stay strong in your mouth. An orthodontist will work with you for 6 months before this operation to make the gap big enough to take a new piece of bone –they do this with an orthodontic appliance – sort of like braces, but this is called a quad helix.
You usually stay in hospital for 2 or 3 days and after the operation you need to use mouth wash to keep your mouth clean. Because you may not have had a stay in hospital for awhile, probably since you were a baby, it’s a good idea to visit the ward to ask any questions you may have. No question is silly, ask away.
According to one young man, “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. The sorest part was my hip and I only had to take a few weeks off playing sport.”
Lots of kids need orthodontics which is a specialised dentistry to make your teeth straighter and your top and bottom teeth aligned. Most kids may end up having two big sessions of orthodontic work done at around 8-10 yrs, then again when older. Because of this you will probably get to know your orthodontist pretty well and they you.
The first work your Orthodontist does is preparation for the ‘bone graft’ operation. You will see the Orthodontist regurlarly before the operation to make sure the gap will be big enough to take your new piece of bone. They do this by putting a spring (quad helix) in between the teeth either side of your cleft which takes about 6 months to stretch.
For orthodontics to work all kids need to have healthy strong teeth so looking after your teeth is really important.
Here is a simple checklist to make sure your teeth will be around long enough for the Orthodontist to do their magic. Your baby teeth are important as well as they help to make sure there is a place for your adult teeth by ‘holding the space’ in your mouth.
- Brush with a fluoride toothpaste after breakfast and before you go to bed.
- Only eat sugary foods and fizzy drinks at mealtimes.
- Go to your dental appointments at the school dental clinic or cleft clinic.
You might want to know this:
[faq list kids medical]
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