Patients in a series of 45 complete clefts of the lip and palate had the lip and alveolar clefts repaired in infancy. These were compared with a control series of 263 similar clefts in which only the cleft of the lip was repaired in infancy. Both groups had the palatal clefts repaired at a mean age of 3 years and 1 month. Articulated dental casts, obtained from both groups at a mean age of 7 years, were studied to observe the articulation of the posterior dental segments.
The study showed a small increase in posterior crossbite malocclusion and a notably high incidence of collapse of the posterior dental arch in the group that had the alveolar cleft repaired at the time of the cleft lip repair.
The conclusions of this report are against early surgery on the alveolar cleft.
Bernstein, L. Dental Occlusion and Early Repair of Alveolar Clefts. Arch Otolaryngol. 1972;96(5):395–399. doi:10.1001/archotol.1972.00770090627001
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