Jaw surgery

For some children with clefts, the upper jaw does not grow properly. This leads to an abnormal relationship between the upper and lower teeth, characterized by the lower jaw growing far forward of the upper jaw. When this occurs, the teeth don't fit together properly, and surgical correction may be required. Surgical correction typically involves cutting the upper jaw and allowing it to slide forward, then holding the upper jaw in this new position with small titanium plates and screws. This procedure, called a LeFort I, is typically deferred until the child is nearing completion of his or her facial growth, generally in the middle teenage years. This procedure is also generally preceded by a period of orthodontic preparation with braces.