Dental researcher improves a device to help cleft-palate patients avoid surgery

Oct 01, 2010
Tarek El-Bialy has improved a device that will help stretch the constricted upper arch in the mouth of a child who has a cleft palate.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Children with cleft palates may no longer need invasive jaw-widening surgery as an adult.

Tarek El-Bialy, an associate professor of in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta, has spent eight years updating materials and making precise adjustments adding to a dental device that will help stretch the constricted upper arch in the mouth of a child who has a cleft palate. If people with the condition can’t have their arches widened enough while they are growing, then they are highly likely to undergo major, corrective jaw-widening surgery as an adult, where the upper arch is cut, widened and then sewn back together.

“With this new device, we are hoping that people with cleft palates and constricted upper arches won’t have to get this surgery anymore,” says El-Bialy.

Devices currently used are put inside the upper arch, which prevents the tongue from resting against the . The tongue needs to rest against the teeth because this action helps support that part of the mouth from pressure from the cheek muscles. If the tongue can’t rest against the teeth, it causes the upper arch to become even more constricted which exacerbates the situation for people with cleft palate. Because current expansion devices leave no room for the tongue, people using them usually develop mouth breathing, which in turn may lead to respiratory problems and other dental-related issues.

El-Bialy’s device, which is protected by a patent, is instead put on the outside of the teeth in the upper arch. He says the apparatus which will stretch the upper arch, will do a better job of controlling teeth movement and won’t interfere whatsoever with the tongue.

Ryan Roesinger, 15, who has a , says people with constricted upper arches will have a much better quality of life.

“It means a life with fewer surgeries and a life with less pain,” he said. “I’m very excited.”

Clinical trials will be required before the El Bialy’s expansion device can be sold to patients. TEC Edmonton, the exclusive commercialization agent for the University of Alberta, has filed a patent application for the device and is working with El-Bialy to find a company that can fund trials and get the device to market.

Explore further: Ebola expert calls for European anti-virus 'corps'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Research shows timing improves cleft palate surgery

May 12, 2008

Research by Dr. Damir Matic, a scientist with Lawson Health Research Institute in London, Ontario is changing the way cleft palate surgeries are performed throughout North America and around the world. Matic has been conducting ...

Can cleft palate be healed before birth?

Dec 01, 2009

In a study newly published in the journal Development, investigators at the USC School of Dentistry describe how to non-surgically reverse the onset of cleft palate in fetal mice - potentially one step in the journey to a b ...

Genetic profile reveals susceptibility to cleft palate

Sep 15, 2008

For the first time, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine have identified a series of genetic mutations that appear to be linked to significant risk for cleft palate and other dental abnormalities. ...

Recommended for you

Ebola expert calls for European anti-virus 'corps'

12 hours ago

Europe will be "vulnerable" if it does not regard viruses as a "national security issue" like the United States, the microbiologist who discovered Ebola said in an interview published Friday.

In Liberia, Ebola steals Christmas

12 hours ago

The Ebola epidemic has cast a dark shadow over Christmas this year in Liberia, where small businesses are especially feeling the pinch.

Firm recalls caramel apples amid listeria fears

Dec 25, 2014

A Missouri firm is recalling its Happy Apple brand caramel apples because of the potential that they could be contaminated with listeria. The recall comes after at least three deaths and at least 29 illnesses in 10 states ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.