A cleft is a gap in the mouth that didn't close during the early stages of pregnancy, and this kind of birth defect happens more often than you may realize. It is estimated that, worldwide, a child is born every 3 minutes with a cleft — about one in 500-750 births. Sometimes a cleft condition can be easy to see because it’s an opening in the lip. Sometimes it’s harder to tell if someone has a cleft because it’s an opening in the roof of their mouth (called the palate.)

With surgery, a child suffering from a cleft lip or cleft palate can have a brand-new, beautiful smile. Cleft repairs are offered by the skilled surgeons of Mercy James Centre usually by the time a baby is 3 months old, and that a cleft palate should be repaired between the ages of 12 and 18 months.  Here are before and afters from Mercy James Centre.

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