Patients and Families

Smile Train aims to support cleft-affected families worldwide by creating, connecting, and sharing information about comprehensive cleft care.

father holds daughter

Comprehensive Cleft Care Areas

Smile Train aims to support families worldwide by creating, connecting, and sharing resources about different areas of comprehensive cleft care. Explore our site to find invaluable advice and resources.

practicing speech

Cleft Care at Home

Comprehensive cleft care does not only happen at your local Smile Train partner treatment center. It is so important for children and caretakers to have access to cleft care resources at home. Smile Train is dedicated to creating a variety of resources to meet every need.

young man with untreated cleft

Understanding Clefts

Families should always consult a doctor or cleft care expert for information about possible causes of their child’s cleft, treatment opportunities, and a timetable for cleft care.  

Baby gets weighed

Feeding and Nutrition

Because a cleft can affect a child’s ability to suck and swallow, timely nutrition services are essential to preventing malnutrition. 

Ghana cleft lip surgery


Cleft lip surgery is ideally performed when the child is between three and six months, while cleft palate surgery is usually conducted between nine and 12 months. Contact your nearest Smile Train treatment partner for a detailed consultation.

Cleft center in Nigeria

Hearing Services

Children with cleft palates are more susceptible to middle ear inflammation, which can result in hearing loss. Early screenings and simple treatments, such as ear tubes, are important preventative services.

dental training with oversized toothbrush

Dental and Orthodontics

A cleft increases a child’s likelihood of having severe dental issues, such as misplaced teeth, tooth decay, and gum disease. It is vital to start early with pediatric dental care involving caregivers and trained professionals.

speech therapy session

Speech Services

Children with cleft palates often struggle to develop normal speech and language habits. Caregivers should seek early guidance on how to work with their child at home and  have them regularly screened to determine whether they need speech therapy. 

child is comforted by Smile Train staff

Counseling and Support

It is important that families work with their cleft team to address any psychological issues their child may be experiencing so that they can develop confidence and self-esteem. 

Mother celebrates after cleft surgery

Financial Assistance

Cleft treatment can be expensive. All aspects of cleft care, including surgery, are offered 100% free at all Smile Train partner centers.

Value of Comprehensive Cleft Care

The Journey

A smile is only the beginning. Access to a full range of comprehensive care gives children with clefts the best chance at a healthy and productive life.

Comprehensive Cleft Care

Comprehensive cleft care ensures that all aspects of a child’s treatment – including nutrition, dentistry, hearing, speech and language development, social skills, and self-esteem – are attended to.

Comprehensive Care

Comprehensive care brings cleft professionals from different disciplines together to offer treatment in the most impactful and cost-effective way, not only for the child, but for their whole family.