One of the many surgeries that Cleft Palate kids usually have to do is to fix the cleft in the bony ridge that your upper teeth sit in, called the Alveolar Ridge. After the lip has been fixed and then the palate, most doctors usually wait until somewhere between 7-9 years old to fix this ridge. The idea of yet another surgery on your child's mouth is hard, so you don't usually rush into it. Usually.
Kelly had a consult with a Orthodontist in October, and a follow up in March. The March appointment held a surprise: the Ortho felt we should see what an Oral Surgeon said about a bone graft soon. The trip to the Surgeon had the same result...bone graft soon. Wow, we assumed this would be at age 8 or 9, but after hearing that she needed it before end of summer, and that the graft would mean no swimming for 8 weeks, I decided to put it all in high gear and get it done during Spring Break.
See the bone graft needs bone... so they open up the hip bone, scrape out all the available bone there, and then open up the maxilla, both lip side and palate side, and put the bone in there. Sew up the hip then the mouth: both layers of skin (palate and floor of the nasal cavity) back up and send you on your way. Oh, and take out a tooth or two (two for Kelly). This will give the adult teeth that haven't come in yet, bone to come down through and anchor to. It also closes any remaining holes in the mouth that air can escape through during speech.
Kelly went in Wed. morning and we were released that same day (5:00pm) and while she was very sore and swollen, she is doing better and better by the hour. Dr. says she can go back to school next week, play, just not run or play rough. She is on a liquid diet for a week, then if all is well move to a very very soft diet . The surgeon was very pleased with his work and feels it should be a success, but we won't know for sure for a month or two. I'm just glad to have it over and hopefully done....and allow Kelly to have a great summer swimming!
You can see the cleft on the mid to left side of the x-ray.
The tooth sitting right in the cleft, up high, that is horizontal was removed.
One more, very large, step closer to being "done" with all the cleft treatment.