For some children born with a wider cleft lip, taping on the outside of the mouth across the cheeks is designed to bring the two sides of the cleft closer together in preparation for lip repair surgery. This process takes a number of months and will minimize swelling and bruising from lip repair ensuring a much better result than without early intervention.
Tapes with rubber bands attached to a plastic plate will restrain the pre-maxilla in the case of a bilateral lip (pictured). The purpose is to bring all the tissues into line for repair. If the palate is open, a plate may also be incorporated. The plate will help create a seal to cover the open palate making feeding easier.
A plate and taping, if required, will be used from as soon as 7 days after birth. For a plate and taping to be effective, it must be used most of the day. Careful attention to hygiene is a must. The plate should be removed after each feed and rinsed in clean water before being replaced. Bands and small straps constructed from tape will hold the plate in place.
It is not unusual for children to take some time to adjust to these appliances. They may seem fussy for a time, but generally settle down within a week or two.
To create the plate, an impression is taken of your child’s mouth by placing a soft pliable material inside their mouth for 30 seconds to record the shape. A plastic (acrylic) plate is then constructed using this mould and may be fitted later on the same day. This procedure is performed by Children’s Oral Health Services.
For more information, contact Children’s Oral Health
Lady Cilento Childrens Hospital
501 Stanley Street
South Brisbane, QLD 4101
Ph: (07) 3068 2280