Cleft Lip and Palate Clinic
The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital takes a team approach to caring for children born with cleft lip and/or palate. When you attend our clinic you will meet with that team of specialists at one time, in one location. They will work together – and with you and your child – to evaluate your child’s progress and create the best plan going forward.
Cleft Lip and Palate team
There are many people involved in the management of your child’s cleft lip and/or palate. Your child’s care team may include:
- Nurse team coordinator: A nurse practitioner specializing in the care of children with cleft lip and palate who works with the team to manage your child’s care, and is available when you have questions or concerns
- Plastic surgeon: A surgeon with specialized training in repairing cleft lips, cleft palates and related conditions
- Orthodontist: A dentist who evaluates the position/alignment of your child's teeth and coordinates treatment with surgeons and other specialists
- Pediatric dentist: A dentist who evaluates your child’s teeth
- Speech and language pathologist: A professional who performs a speech evaluation to assess your child’s language and communication
- Ear, nose and throat nurse practitioner: Evaluates your child’s risk of ear infections/hearing loss which can be associated with cleft lip and palate
- Geneticist: A physician who helps diagnose your child, reviews your child’s medical history and may counsel your family regarding pregnancy risks
- Social worker: A professional who helps your child and your family cope with the social and emotional aspects of a cleft lip and/or palate
Sometimes our team may refer you to other specialists to provide the best care for your child’s unique needs.
- Audiologist: A hearing specialist who will assist in the evaluation and management of hearing difficulties your child may have
- Psychologist/counselor: A specialist who supports mental health
- CradleME: A program that helps to connect people to free community services available for pregnant women, children and families
After you are checked in, a nurse or medical assistant will show you and your child to an exam room. They will check your child’s height, weight and head circumference and briefly review your child’s medical history.
Each team member will visit that room, one at a time, to evaluate your child. You can expect the appointment to last up to 3 hours.
After each clinic, the team meets to review your child’s progress and agree on the best plan for the coming year. We will send that plan to you and to your child’s doctor. The clinic nurse team coordinator is available to you and your family by phone or email to provide support, answer questions and assist with coordinating care between clinic visits.
Looking for more information about your child’s cleft lip and/or palate? We recommend these trusted sources for further information and support.
KidsHealth: Cleft Palate (for Parents)
KidsHealth: Cleft Palate With Cleft Lip (for Parents)
KidsHealth: Cleft Lip/Cleft Palate: Feeding Your Child (for Parents)
ACPA: Feeding Your Baby Videos
ACPA: What About Breastfeeding?
KidsHealth: Speech-Language Therapy for Children With Cleft Palate (for Parents)
These organizations can provide additional services to support you and your child.
CradleME: A partnership of free services available for pregnant women, children and families: Maternal & Child Health, Public Health Nursing, Maine Families, WIC Nutrition Program, MaineMOM and Child Developmental Services Early Intervention Program.
American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association: The American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA) is an association of individuals and health care professionals who are interested in clinical care and research advancements for those affected by cleft and craniofacial conditions.
Facing Maine: Facing Maine connects, supports, builds awareness and advocates for Maine individuals, children and families affected by cleft and craniofacial conditions.
Foundation for Faces of Children: The FFC is dedicated to supporting the social, psychological/emotional and educational needs of individuals and families affected by craniofacial differences.
Children's Craniofacial Association: Children’s Craniofacial Association addresses the medical, financial, psychosocial, emotional and educational concerns relating to craniofacial conditions.
Maine Parent Federation: Maine Parent Federation is dedicated to bringing the power of knowledge and voice to families of children/dependents with special needs assisting in opening the gateway to systems of care.