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Cleft palate

A cleft palate is a type of congenital abnormality caused by a lack of tissue in the mouth during development that results in a facial malformation. Specifically, a cleft palate refers to a split that is found in the roof of the mouth.

Cleft lip and palate care in Denver

With careful evaluation and care, we help restore the function and form of your child's lips and palate.

At Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, our board-certified physicians are dedicated to sensitivity and comprehensive craniofacial care for your child. We believe compassion, respect and communication are essential for guiding you both through the diagnostic and treatment process.

Expert advice, available 24/7

Free health-related information is available just a phone call away. Our nurses help you understand your symptoms, treatment options and procedures. They will also help you find a provider or specialist and schedule an appointment.

Free health-related information is available just a phone call away. Our nurses help you understand your symptoms, treatment options and procedures. They will also help you find a provider or specialist and schedule an appointment.

Related specialties

Learn more about our related specialties.

Rocky Mountain Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Center

Our cleft lip and palate program offers long-term care to ensure the best results for your child. Our goal is to help them gain healthy function for eating and speaking, while also restoring their lips and mouth.

Evaluation for cleft palate and lip

Our specialists examine the patient, share information and together, design a comprehensive treatment plan. This not only assures the quality of care but also provides coordinated, ongoing treatment and reevaluation, as appropriate.

Comprehensive treatment plans are created in collaboration with clinic providers, following a day-long, multidisciplinary evaluation at our clinic. Following the evaluation, you and all professionals associated with your child’s care receive a detailed report outlining findings and recommendations.

The care plan and report include coordinated, ongoing treatment and reevaluation as appropriate. We offer a wide array of surgical treatment options depending on your child’s unique care. Patients opting for treatment at the center are followed throughout the reconstructive process. Your child's surgeon and our team develop a long-term plan that is achieved gradually and carefully, through surgeries that are coordinated with all aspects of a patient's treatment throughout the years.

Treatments for cleft palate and lip

Treatment for cleft lips and cleft palates has improved greatly in recent years, as has the treatment approach. Most children now can achieve a more average appearance with regular speech and eating abilities.

Ear tube insertion

Ear tubes may be necessary if a child's hearing is impaired. The muscles that control pressure in the ears are connected to the palate, so children with cleft palates often need ear tubes that can be placed to help control that pressure since the muscles can't respond as they would normally. Placing these ear tubes helps maximize hearing abilities, so it will not impact the child later in life.

Postsurgical care

Your child’s medical and psychosocial progress is carefully followed by our expert teams throughout the treatment process. This continuity assures strong patient-physician relationships, optimal surgical results and it helps you navigate medical care for your child.

Your child’s surgeon and center team will develop a long-term plan that is achieved based on your child’s goals and milestones. Any needed surgeries will be coordinated with your child’s treatment and progress through the years.

About the Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Center

Learn more about what makes our treatment center the compassionate place for your child to receive advanced medical and surgical care for cleft palate.

Our story

More than 25 years ago, Dr. R.C.A. Weatherley-White, a cleft palate and craniofacial surgeon, introduced The Rocky Mountain Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Center for patients in the Rocky Mountain region. Today, our team is made up of experts representing more than 13 specialties. Together, they offer a welcoming and patient-focused environment. The team is committed to consistent follow-up and clear communication with families and referring physicians.

Our multidisciplinary team provides care from infancy to adulthood for patients who travel from across a multistate region. Our hospital gives patients easy access to care coordination with more than 300 board-certified pediatric physicians for associated syndromes and conditions.

Our care team

The Rocky Mountain Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Center brings together a broad array of medical professionals who work together to achieve proper healing and function. Your child's care team may include:

  • Audiologists
  • Case managers
  • Genetic counselors
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgeons
  • Orthodontists
  • Otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat)
  • Patient nurse navigators
  • Pediatric dentistry
  • Pediatricians
  • Plastic surgeons
  • Psychologists
  • Restorative dentistry
  • Speech pathologists

Our approach to cleft lip and palate treatments

Whether diagnosis occurs in utero or at birth, our team approach assures excellent quality of care and alleviates stresses faced by families seeking medical attention for their child.

Our center brings a team of experts together who specialize in cleft palate and craniofacial assessment and treatment. We do this so that you can see the physicians you need in one convenient location.

Our clinic is run with our patients in mind. During clinic sessions, our teams introduce fun activities and social opportunities for patients and families alike.

Many families who travel to our clinic from around the Rocky Mountain region, choose the convenience of staying at the nearby Ronald McDonald House – Denver, a free resource for patient families.

We have a separate clinic date and time to accommodate adults who would like a consultation or ongoing treatment for cleft palate-related conditions.