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Classification

Cleft lip and palate are congenital deformities that can occur in various forms and locations. The cleft can manifest in the lip, palate, or both, often involving the upper alveolar bone, which houses the teeth.

The cleft lip can be unilateral, affecting only one side, or bilateral, affecting both sides. The severity of a cleft lip can range from incomplete, characterized by mild notching of the lip, to complete, which presents as a large gap extending from the lip to the nose.

Cleft palate can occur in different parts of the palate. It can be a cleft of the hard palate, which is a cleft in the bony portion of the roof of the mouth. Alternatively, it can be a cleft of the soft palate, occurring in the soft, muscular part of the palate located behind the hard palate. In some cases, both the hard and soft palates are affected, including the uvula, which is a soft tissue projection from the middle of the soft palate.

A unique form of this condition is the submucous cleft palate. This type of cleft occurs in the tissues beneath the mucous membrane that covers the palate, making it often referred to as an “invisible cleft”. This form of cleft is typically detected when a child exhibits difficulty in speaking.

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