A cleft palate is a congenital deformity in which the two plates that form the roof of the mouth are not completely joined. Cleft palate can be hereditary. A cleft palate causes problems in speech, breathing, eating, facial development, and the growth of teeth. A cleft palate results in an incomplete separation between the nasal and oral cavity. Reconstructive surgery can fix a cleft palate. It is for the doctors to decide the appropriate time for surgery. If the surgery is done at a young age, then more surgeries may be required by the time permanent teeth appear. If it is delayed, then extensive speech therapy may be needed at a later stage.