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Nasoalveolar Molding (NAM)

NAM is a technique in which the alveolus (gum ridges) and/or nose are molded with an appliance similar to an orthodontic retainer.

This is usually done by a specially trained orthodontist prior to surgery, in order to make surgery simpler. The baby wears the appliance 24 hours a day for a period of weeks or months. It does not interfere with feeding or breathing for the baby. Did your child have this done, was it successful for your child to have this retainer?

How Does NAM Work?

At your child’s first visit to your Children’s Craniofacial Team, the Children’s pediatric orthodontist will take a mold of your infant’s mouth. The orthodontist will then create a custom-made plastic plate of your child’s mouth, lip and nostrils. Your child will wear the plate 24-hours a day for approximately six months. The plate is held in the mouth by surgical skin tape that also helps guide the growth of your child’s face. Each week, the orthodontist will reshape the plate, reducing your child’s cleft and reshaping his facial features. ( The step’s may be a little different from team to team.

What are the Benefits of the NAM Technique?

Typically, children with cleft lip and palate require between five to seven surgeries—sometimes extending into adolescent years. The NAM device reduces the number of surgeries required during a patients lifetime, which in turn reduces facial scarring, trauma, inconvenience and cost involved in additional surgeries. The NAM device dramatically improves post-surgical aesthetic results for cleft lip and palate patients. In addition, it may also have a dramatic effect on speech and overall health. Because the NAM device covers the roof of your infant’s mouth, the NAM appliance also helps with feeding.

When Can the NAM Procedure be Done on My Child?

Your child will have the NAM procedure before he turns 1 year of age. Typically, the NAM technique is started when your child is only 2 weeks old and is worn until his first surgery (typically at 6 months of age).  The NAM is only effective in infants because their cartilage is malleable. After 6 months of age, your child’s cartilage is no longer malleable, his teeth begin to come in and he is able to take out the NAM appliance.

What is the Role of the Parents?

The NAM appliance does require extra effort and commitment from parents, so parent participation is essential. In addition to weekly visits to the Children’s Center for Craniofacial Disorders, parents will be responsible for attaching the tape to their child’s face. This allows the NAM device to stay in place.

~From and Cited Here: the State of Vermont Department of Health and the Children’s Hospital of Atlanta website.~

The NAM Picture is the Cleft Lip and Palate Foundation of Smiles.

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Site last updated December 5, 2016 @ 3:07 pm; This content last updated June 13, 2011 @ 6:03 pm