Alveolar cleft repair is a surgery that closes the gap between the mouth and the nose at the level of the gum line.
It also grafts the bony defect, or area of bone that is missing.
Grafting provides support for the base of the nose, which otherwise tends to sink in.
Grafting provides bone in order for the adult teeth to descend and be able to survive.
Typically, bone grafting is done when the canine tooth starts to descend, or come down.
The timing for alveolar bone graft and cleft repair is done several years after the child’s first cleft lip and cleft palate repairs, typically between ages 7 to 9.
If a lateral incisor tooth is present, then bone grafting may be done earlier to prepare the area for this tooth.
Preparation for alveolar cleft repair and alveolar grafting involves a Pediatric Orthodontist, who will place a device to prepare your child for the graft procedure.
Alveolar bone graft material can be autologous, which means that it comes from your child, or from an off the shelf product.
Autologous graft material is typically bone taken from the hip.
The procedure would be done in a hospital and your child would stay overnight.