During the first three months of pregnancy, the structure of a baby’s mouth and face begins to shape. Typically, around the fifth or sixth week, the two sides of a baby’s upper lip start to merge. However, sometimes the merging does not occur correctly, causing the upper lip to split and form what is referred to as a cleft.

This split or opening in the roof of the mouth is known as a cleft palate and can be comprised of a hard palate, which is the bony front part of the roof of the mouth and/or the soft palate, which is the soft portion of the back of the roof of the mouth. If a cleft palate is not corrected, it can cause severe health problems that include difficulty with feeding, ear infections that lead to hearing loss, issues with speech and language, and impaired dental development.

In addition, children with a cleft palate may also suffer from social isolation and bullying. Fortunately, a cleft palate can be treated with a series of surgeries that will achieve an improved appearance with minimal scarring.

Peyton Manning’s Cleft Palate Struggle

Most people are surprised to learn that 2016 Super Bowl winning quarterback for the Denver Broncos, Peyton Manning was actually born with a cleft palate. This condition led him to cope with years of bullying, difficulty with feeding, and two surgeries to close up the gap in his palate. Through all of the health struggles and teasing, Manning followed his dream of becoming a football star and became one of the leading NFL quarterbacks of all time.

Manning has never been shy about discussing his struggles as a child. In 1999, he decided to create the PeyBack Foundation to provide programs as well as opportunities to children at-risk. The PeyBack Foundation has generated over $10 million dollars through different grants and programs that help encourage success to underprivileged children in Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, and Tennessee.

Cleft Palate Treatment in Miami

Miami Orthodontist, Dr. Derek Sanders provides craniofacial orthodontics for patients with a cleft palate or cleft lip. If your child was born with a cleft palate or cleft lip, contact us today to learn more about how craniofacial orthodontics can change his or her life.