Craniofacial defects such as cleft lip and cleft palate are among the most common of all birth defects. They can be isolated or one component of an inherited disease or syndrome. Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to oral clefts. Although clefts can be repaired to varying degrees with surgery, researchers are working to understand the developmental processes that lead to clefting and how to prevent the condition or more effectively treat it.
Currently there are no national data for cleft lip or palate. The National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN) collects cleft lip and palate data annually from 11 states (Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah), which provides a means for estimating national data.