Dealing with the recovery process of cleft palate repair can be stressful, intimidating, and painful – not just for the patient, but for their guardians. Don’t panic! There are ways to reduce the discomfort and make your child’s healing more effective.
Adapting Your Child’s Diet
The most important part of post-repair dental care is giving sensitive mouths time to fully recover. While dietary restrictions are dependent on the patient’s needs, as a general guideline we recommend meals that are cool or warm (never hot!), provided with water for rinsing and cleaning afterwards, and carefully delivered into the mouth – it is a good idea to use a rubber spoon or small sippy cup, to ensure that you do not accidentally rap the roof of the mouth or give the curious child something uncomfortable to chew on.
During the first week, your child should be placed on a strict liquid diet. Rich broths, juices, melted ice-cream, and baby formula are all safe options during this critical initial healing period. The following week, you will begin to provide soft foods, such as pudding, yogurt, custard, and purees. Finally, during the third week, you will carefully monitor the reintroduction of normal foods back into your child’s diet.
Ongoing Care Guidelines
It is vital to prevent your child from inserting foreign objects into their mouth – even their own fingers and toes could ruin the repair and necessitate restarting the treatment. For this reason, we will provide them with restraints that they wear on their arms to inhibit that behavior. Except in the case of emergency or under a physician’s supervision, these restraints should always be kept on the child for the entire first ten days of the process.
Your child may experience some pain during the first few days. Liquid relief products, such as Children’s Tylenol, may be used as directed to help soothe the discomfort. Speak to your doctor about stronger medication if it is needed.
Speak to your doctor immediately if you observe any of the following:
- Fever (Temperature over 100.4°F)
- Severe pain that doesn’t respond to medication
- Bleeding or other changes in the suture area.
- Draining or discharge, especially if accompanied by pus or foul odor.
- Any injury to the repair site.
Your child’s oral health is important to us! Following the advice outlined above alongside your doctor’s guidance should ensure a rapid and safe recovery, but if you have any additional questions or concerns do not hesitate to contact us for more information.