If children are born with cleft lip and palate, this can have consequences for the development of the teeth. Both in the primary teeth and afterwards, it is possible that there are too many or not enough teeth. It is also possible that the teeth are different in size and structure and that the primary or permanent teeth come in crookedly or that they erupt high in the crevice of the palate.
In Guatemala, we have employed two permanent local pediatric dentists in our own hospital since January 2022. They come every Monday and Thursday and provide both treatments and education. From the age of six months onwards, we teach mothers how to brush the first teeth that emerge and provide them with a baby toothbrush. From the age of two, the children in the project go to the dentist every six months. In addition to our regular pediatric dentist, we work with five local dentists throughout Guatemala who also receive children for monthly check-ups and prepare their teeth for further operations.
Since 2022 we have also employed a permanent local orthodontist who travels to our hospital twice a month and sees children from the age of four. A scan is always first made of the teeth to map out the development and growth of the teeth. Some children get braces at a young age to widen the jaw and restore the shape of the upper jaw. If necessary, the children are prepared for the jaw fissure surgery, which will take place between the ages of nine and twelve. Every child receives a personal treatment plan from us. The entire orthodontics project is sponsored by Smile Train from America.