One of the reasons I did not hesitate taking on some cleft palate babies is because I found a dentist in Xian, who lives 15 minutes away from the foster home. Dr Niu is one of only two dentists in China that can make orthodontic palate molds for babies with cleft palates. He studied with Dr. Barry Grayson in New York and has had about 30 patients since he came back in 2002. Once I found out that he was able to do this, I knew that it would be easy for me to help the cleft babies even more. We now have now added seven more patients to his list in a matter of months.
There are four major things the cleft molds do:
1) It gives the baby a fake palate which allows them to drink better so they pick up weight easier.
2) It aligns the gums which are often in different positions and not only that but their cleft can leave a wide space in the gum line. In the first week of Karl's mold this gap closed the space 50mm which is half of the 100mm gap. You have to go to the dentist every week for an adjustment.
3) It gives also helps in speech development and will prevent any speech impediments because there is a roof of the mouth for the tongue to use.
4) Gives support to the nose so it does not fall flat.
Five of the cleft babies have started this process from the cleft home and there is another two up in regular foster home. I have been amazed by this whole process and how a child's mouth can change. Tina is growing like weed and had to have her mold redone because it had changed so much in two weeks.
I have been so grateful to Dr Niu for his work on the babies. Joseph's mouth now needs very little work. We now just have to wait for him to get big enough to get the surgery.
Life, Love and Laughter,
Starfish Children's Services
US Tax Number: 20-4682916
At Starfish, we have taken care of 67 children to date, arranged almost 50 surgeries and had a whopping 19 international adoptions, so our little starfishes live all over the globe: the US (latest adoptions to Kentucky and New Jersey), Netherlands, Norway and Spain. Two children are matched at the moment waiting for their families. We currently have 30 babies under the age of 3 1/2 at two foster homes.
We just opened a new cleft palate house on February 5, 2009 and currently have nine babies.
NEW BLOG SITE FOR CLEFT HOME: