Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms


Bifid Uvula:  A bifid or bifurcated uvula (a fleshy extension at the back of the soft palate that hangs above the throat) is a split or cleft uvula. Newborns with cleft palate often also have a split uvula. The bifid uvula results from incomplete fusion of the palatine shelves but it is considered only a slight form of clefting.

Bilateral Cleft Lip:  Both sides of the lip have not formed completely and is usually always accompanied with a bilateral cleft palate. 

Clefts:  Malformations of the upper lip, hard, and soft palate.

Cleft Palate/Craniofacial Team:  Group of specialists working together to provide care for individuals with a cleft lip and/or palate.

Columella:  Strip of tissue connecting the base and tip of the nose, misaligned in some cleft palates; the fleshy terminal portion of the nasal septum.

Compensatory Articulation Errors:  A gross sound substitution that is an attempt to compensate for the physical inability to produce a given sound correctly.

Complete Cleft:  Continues through the upper lip into the floor of the nostril.

Craniofacial Anomalies:  Congenital malformations of the face or head. Some, like cleft lip and palate, are among the most common of all birth defects. Others are very rare. Most of them affect how a person’s face or head looks.

Hyponasality:  A quality of voice in which there is a complete lack of nasal emission of air and nasal resonance, so that the speaker sounds as if he has a cold.

Incomplete Cleft:  A minor “V” shaped notch in the vermilion (red part) portion of the lip.

Malocclusions:  Improper alignment of the maxillary and mandible dental arches; a problem in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together in biting or chewing. The word malocclusion literally means“bad bite.” The condition may also be referred to as an irregular bite, crossbite, or overbite.

Micrognathia:  An underdeveloped mandible (the jaw or a jawbone, especially the lower jawbone).  In short, term for a lower jaw that is smaller than normal.

Myringotomy:  A surgical puncture of the tympanic membrane and insertion of a ventilating tube for pressure equalization used to correct otitis media (inflammation of the middle ear).

Nasal Emission:  Air escaping through the nose during speech production.

Nasal Mirror Test:  Non-instrumental procedure to assess velopharyngeal functioning. A small mirror is placed under nasal passages while client produces words or sentences containing high-pressure consonants, if the mirror fogs air may be escaping the nose.

Nasalance Score:  Numerical value that reflects the magnitude of hypernasality, obtained by using a nasometer.

Nasoalveolar Molding Device:  NAM is a pre-surgical treatment used to improve the final results of surgical repair for cleft lip and cleft palate. Surgical repair alone cannot correct the multiple problems encountered with the deformities that result from clefts of the lip and palate.  An acrylic orthopedic appliance is used by dentists to approximate the cleft and mold the nose, reducing the amount of surgical correction required during treatment.

Nasometer:  Instrument to assess nasal resonance disorders. Simultaneously measures the relative amplitude of accoustic energy being emitted through the nose and mouth during phonation.

Obturator:  Dental prosthesis made to fill the cleft and partition the oral cavity from the nasal cavity.

Palatal Fistula:  A hole between the mouth and nose that may arise following the surgical closure of a cleft palate.

Palatoplasty:  A surgical procedure used to correct or reconstruct the palate in a person with a cleft palate.

Pierre Robins Syndrome:  Symptoms: micrognathia, retracted and elevated tongue, isolated cleft (hard and soft), congenital heart problems, digital anomalies, conductive hearing loss, and developmental deficits.

Prolabium:  Central portion of the lip.

Prosthodontist:  A dental specialist concerned with the replacement of missing teeth and other oral structures.

Submucous Cleft:  A muscular cleft in the region of the soft palate, usually not discovered until later in child hood, characterized by a bifid uvula.

Treacher Collins Syndrome:  Characterizations include malar hypoplasia, micrognathia, malformation of external ear and ear canal, conductive hearing loss, cleft palate, and projection of scalp hair onto cheek.

Unilateral Cleft:  Extends through the external portion of the upper lip, through the alveolus, and through the hard and soft palate. Commonly on the left side of the face.

Velocardiofacial syndrome:  Velocardiofacial syndrome (VCFS) is a genetic condition that is sometimes hereditary. VCFS is characterized by a combination of medical problems that vary from child to child. These medical problems include cleft palate, or an opening in the roof of the mouth, and other differences in the palate; heart defects; problems fighting infection; low calcium levels; differences in the way the kidneys are formed or work; a characteristic facial appearance; learning problems; and speech and feeding problems. The name velocardiofacial syndrome comes from the Latin words ‘velum’ meaning palate, ‘cardia’ meaning heart and ‘facies’ having to do with the face. Not all of these identifying features are found in each child who is born with VCFS.

Velospharyngeal Inadequacy:  Unable to separate oral and nasal cavities during swallowing and speech production.

Vermilion:  A reddish portion of the upper lip that sometimes extends to the nostril on a cleft of the lip.