The Spires Cleft Centre team monitor progress throughout childhood, with key review points at 18-24 months, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, 15 and 20 years. Our multidisciplinary team includes specialist clinicians in the following roles:
A clinical nurse specialist is a nurse who is specialised in caring for babies and children born with a cleft lip and / or palate, as well as providing support, information and advice to their families. They are likely to be the first member of the Spires Cleft Centre that you will talk to if you have a baby born with a cleft lip and / or palate.
Clinical nurse specialists provide antenatal support and postnatal support and give advice on issues such as feeding your baby. They will usually be in touch within 24 hours and provide an on-call service for new referrals 365 days a year.
Clinical psychologists offer support to patients and their families at whatever age or stage of treatment that it is needed. They can offer time to discuss concerns about development, behaviour and self-image, and about how problems in these areas may be affecting life in the family, at school and in the wider social world.
See psychological needs for more information.
Children born with a cleft lip and / or palate are particularly at risk of tooth decay and other dental issues, so good oral health is very important from a young age. The consultant dentist will see children, young people and adults regularly to encourage and aid good oral health. They can also provide treatment to improve the appearance and function of teeth and gums.
Often a cleft can affect the teeth and cause them to grow irregularly. The consultant orthodontist sees patients at regular intervals through childhood and adulthood to give advice and help align the teeth. Orthodontic treatment might also be provided alongside other treatment (for example, with young adults before and after surgery to realign the jaws).
See dental care and development for more information.
If your child was born with a cleft palate, they will be regularly assessed for any ear and hearing issues from a young age. This assessment will be done by an ENT consultant and audiologist.
See hearing problems for more information.
The cleft surgeons in the team carry out cleft lip repair and cleft palate repair surgery, usually during the first two years of your child’s life. Your child may need further operations as they grow older in order to improve the appearance and function of the lips, nose and palate. Children with a cleft in the gum may also need an alveolar bone graft operation.
The maxillofacial surgeon works with adolescents and adults to improve the appearance and function of their jaw.
See surgery for more information, including anaesthetics and care before and after surgery.
Our speech and language therapists provide assessment, advice and therapy for speech, language and communication difficulties related to cleft. They will liaise closely with your local specialist and community speech and language therapists.
See speech and language therapy for more information.
The administration team are often the first point of contact for the Spires Cleft Centre, with our secretaries and assistants co-ordinating appointments, operations and clinics.
Please contact a member of the administration team if you have any queries or concerns in relation to your care (see Oxford centre – find and contact us and Salisbury centre – find and contact us for details).