Cleft means split or opening. A cleft lip refers to a gap in the upper lip or roof of the mouth.

Clefts of the lips and palate are one of the most typical congenital anomalies in children. This condition occurs during the first three months of pregnancy. It develops as a result of the incomplete closure of the upper lip and roof of the mouth. It leads to deformity of the nose on the affected side. Cleft lip causes several problems with dental development, speech, hearing, eating, and drinking. 

It varies in the degree of severity. This abnormality could be distressing for many parents, as they think their children might feel self-conscious. Cleft-lip and cleft palates are not the same. A cleft lip damages the upper lip whereas a cleft palate causes a gap in the roof of the mouth. Not all individuals are affected with cleft lip and cleft palate. In some cases, it is possible to have both. There are different types of cleft lip.

Types of Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate

Types Of Cleft Lip

Microform Cleft Lip

Also, known as Forme Fruste is the mildest form of cleft lip and comes under the incomplete cleft lip category. It does not have the large or exact cleft appearance of other clefts. But this type simply appears as a scar from the lip to the nose. Though this appears as a mild one it causes problems with functionality. Because of the disruption in the formation of the orbicular oris muscle, it may lead to speech, drinking, and eating issues. The nose will get affected by microform cleft lip.

Unilateral Complete Cleft Lip

This is the most common type of cleft lips. Unilateral cleft lips affect one side of the upper lip. 

One Philtral column, Philtral dimple, and two-thirds of the cupid-bow are protected on the normal side. The cleft prolongs all the way from the lip to the nose in a complete cleft lip. 

The orbicularis oris do not extend in the complete cleft lip. Instead of covering the mouth, this muscle enters the base of the nose on both sides of the cleft.

Unilateral Incomplete Cleft Lip

Unilateral cleft affects only one side of the lip. It has a normal philtral column, philtral dimple, and Cupid’s bow on a side without a cleft. Incomplete cleft lips vary in appearance. It may have a small gap extended to the skin above the lip. 

Bilateral Complete Cleft Lip

A bilateral cleft lip affects both sides of the upper lip. There are no philtral dimples, philtral columns, orbicularis muscle in the middle segment.  On either side, the cleft extends to the nostrils. 

Bilateral Incomplete cleft Lip

A bilateral cleft lip affects both sides of the upper lip. The nostril sills and philtral dimple remain unaffected.

Different Types Of Cleft Palate

Complete Cleft Palate 

 A complete cleft palate affects the entire primary and secondary palate. The cleft expands from the uvula all the way into the alveolar ridge. It can be either unilateral or bilateral. 

Incomplete Cleft Palate

An incomplete cleft starts at the back of the palate with the uvula and expands forward. It involves the secondary palate and does not extend all the way forward to the alveolar ridge. 

The length it expands to the uvula varies in severity of appearance. Some common types of incomplete cleft palates are as follows:

  • Bifid uvula
  • Submucosal cleft
  • Soft palate cleft
  • Soft and hard palate cleft

Medical professionals will provide treatment based on the severity of the cleft lip and palate, the child’s age, and their overall health.