What Is a Bifid Uvula?

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Present in some infants at birth, a bifid uvula is a developmental condition, and it is the less serious form of a group of conditions found at birth, such as cleft lip and cleft palate.

Why Bifid Uvula Occurs

Much like cleft lip and cleft palate, a notched uvula is created when the tissues from both sides of the roof of the mouth don't join properly in the middle. Unlike cleft lip and cleft palate, however, the diagnosis of this condition is sometimes missed until after birth, since it may not be visible during routine ultrasound exams.

A submucous cleft palate condition may also be diagnosed along with uvula that is bifid, and this addition may be of more concern than a simple split uvula. In this case, the treatment of the cleft palate may require surgery for repair and closure of the open space, explains the Centers for Disease Control.

As with severe cleft conditions, the infant may have a higher incidence of ear infections or feeding problems, but an atypical uvula does not impact eating or speech as much as an opening in the palate can.

Recommended Treatment for Bifid Uvula

If a child is diagnosed with bifid uvula, the surgical team normally involves a dentist, an oral surgeon, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist, and possibly a speech therapist, depending on the severity of the cleft (hole in the palate of the mouth). Surgery often entails closure of the palate and uvula at a very young age (2 years or younger), and possibly more surgeries as the child develops.

Despite the worries some parents may face, bifid uvula and any cleft associated with it is an easily correctable condition, and with proper treatment and follow-up, a patient can expect a lifetime of good dental health.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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