Cleft Terminology

Glossary of terminology relating to cleft lip & palate.


Alveolar That part of the jaw which has the teeth in it
Anatomy The form, structure, size and shape of the parts of the body
Anterior Front
Antrum Large nasal sinus or spaces in maxilla or upper jaw. Function not really understood
Aural To do with the ears
Bilateral cleft Cleft on both sides of the lip or palate
Bone graft Insertion of bone into the area of a cleft lip or palate
Cleft Failure of joining of parts
Columella Skin between the nostrils
Congenital Something which is present at birth


Fistula Hole
Eustachian tube The canal connecting the throat with the middle ear
Genetic To do with inheritance
Grommet Tiny drainage tube for the ear drum
Hard palate The roof of the mouth under which is bone and separates the mouth from the nose
Hypernasality Excess amount of air escaping through the nose during speech
Hypertelopism Part of the body being wider apart than normal. Such as the eyes


Lateral Side
Mandible Lower jaw
Maxilla Upper jaw
Micrognathia Small size of mandible
Nasal To do with the nose
Nasendoscopy A test using a small camera to record how the soft palate is working
Occlusal To do with the way teeth meet together
Ophthalmic To do with the eyes
Oral To do with the mouth
Orthodontics Straightening teeth
Orthognathic surgery (Jaw) surgery to move forward the whole of the upper jaw, or to move the mandible (lower jaw)
Otitis Media An infection or inflammation of the middle ear.
Otolaryngologist Ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon


Palate Roof of the mouth
Pharygnoplasty Operation to correct hyper nasal speech
Philtrum Feature of the upper lip vertical depression from nose to lip
Physiology How the parts of the body function or work
Posterior Back
Premaxilla See Primary Palate
Primary palate Premaxilla – Developing lip anterior hard palate and alveolus. Triangular area of the anterior hard palate. Formed between the 4th and 7th weeks of gestation.
Prolabium The central part of the upper lip between the mouth and the nose
Rhinoplasty Nasal correction


Secondary palate Posterior part of the hard palate and soft palate. Formed between the 6th and 9th weeks of gestation.
Septum A wall or structure dividing parts of the body
Sinus Can be anatomical or normal such as nasal sinus
Soft palate The back of the roof of the mouth which moves when speaking and swallowing
Submucous cleft Although surface layers complete, muscle beneath not joined
Supernumerary teeth Tiny, extra teeth – denticles
Syndrome Group of congenital anomalies that appear together in newborn infants
Unilateral cleft One sided cleft
Velopharyngeal closure The closing of the nasal cavity from the oral cavity resulting in air used in speech being directed through
the mouth rather than the nose
Velopharyngeal Incompetence Inability to achieve adequate velopharyngeal closure


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