Alaska Native Medical Center

Cleft Lip and Palate Program

Contact Us

Alaska Cleft Lip & Palate Program
4315 Diplomacy Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
(907) 729-4347
(907) 729-6808

Alaska’s Cleft Lip and Palate Program (formerly known the State of Alaska Cleft Lip and Palate Clinic) is the first state endorsed cleft lip and palate program in Alaska. This program holds six clinics per year allowing parents and their children the most comprehensive evaluations possible through team care. Our team includes an audiologist, ear, nose and throat specialist, speech language pathologists, behavioral health consultant, nutritionist, pediatrician, pediatric dentist, oral surgeons, plastic surgeons, orthodontists, along with a parent navigator to help guide the families.

Alaska’s Cleft Lip and Palate Program at SCF is open to all Alaska residents, both Alaska Native and non-Native people.

Understanding Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate

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When part of the the lip or roof of the mouth (palate) does not form properly, it leaves a gap, or cleft. This happens early in
pregnancy and may be detected before birth. Children can have one or both of these conditions.

Symptoms of cleft Lip and Cleft Palate

Cleft lips can vary from person to person. A cleft lip could be a small notch in the red part of the upper lip or it could be two wide gaps in the upper lip with a stretched nose.
In a cleft lip:

  • The muscle, skin, and lining of the lip are missing where there is a gap (cleft).
  • The tissue is misplaced on each side of the cleft, which distorts the nearby areas of the face.
  • The nose or one nostril can be stretched and malformed. This can cause nasal obstruction, which will need to be corrected later in life.

A cleft palate can only be seen when the baby’s mouth is open, as the cleft (gap) is in the roof of the mouth.
If there is only a cleft palate and not a cleft lip, it may not be noticeable at first, if it only affects the soft palate.