Cleft Center

Trust the knowledgeable and highly-skilled doctors at CCOFS to take care of your child with a cleft or craniofacial condition.

The multidisciplinary team at our center is nationally recognized by the American Cleft Palate–Craniofacial Association (ACPA). And our Cleft and Craniofacial Center is one of only five treatment centers in the country outside of universities or hospitals capable of providing your family with this level of complex care. We use industry-leading surgical techniques, advanced technology, and custom treatment plans to provide predictable, natural-looking results.

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Family-Centered Approach to Care

At Carolinas Centers for Oral & Facial Surgery, our team of specialists follows a family-centered approach, which means patients, parents, and caregivers play an active role in the decision-making, planning, treatment, and recovery process. We ensure that your voice is heard and that you feel comfortable at every step in your child’s healing journey. Working hand-in-hand with your child’s doctors, we will build a personalized treatment plan that strives to achieve the best possible clinical outcome.

Meet Our Providers

Rick Kapitan, DDS, MS, FACS, FAAP

Wisdom Teeth Removal, Dental Implants, Cleft Center, and Full Arch Restoration
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Our Associations


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May 20
How Long Does It Take to Recover from Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery?
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May 19
What Is the Ideal Age for Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Surgery?
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May 18
How Do Babies Feed After Cleft Surgery?
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May 17
How Many Surgeries Does It Take to Fix a Cleft Lip or Palate?
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Jul 12
Dr. Rick Kapitan: Expert in Cleft and Craniofacial Surgery
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Jul 12
Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate Corrective Surgery and Care
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Our Previous Mission Locations:

Guatemala City, Guatemala | Patzun, Guatemala | Antigua, Guatemala | Columbia | South Sudan | Kenya | Zimbabwe | Niger | Ethiopia


Cleft and Craniofacial Therapy Timeline


  • Initial Assessment
  • Lip Taping/Nasoalveolar Molding (NAM)
  • Feeding Evaluation

3-4 Months

  • Lip Adhesion
  • Speech Therapy
  • Audiology

6-7 Months

  • Primary or Definitive Lip Repair

12-16 Months

  • Palate Repair
  • Speech Therapy
  • Ear Tubes

2 Years

  • Speech Therapy
  • Audiology
  • Pediatric Dentistry

3-5 Years

  • Speech Therapy
  • Lip Revision Surgery
  • Palate Revision Surgery

4-6 Years

  • Initial Interventional Orthodontic Evaluation
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Preparation for Alveolar Bone Grafting
  • Speech Therapy

6-8 Years

  • Orthodontic Expansion
  • Alveolar Bone Grafting
  • Pediatric Dentristry

12-14 Years

  • Definitive Orthodontics

16 Years

  • Nasal Revision Surgery

17-20 Years

  • Orthognathic Surgery

Foundations We Support

Free to Smile Foundation

The Free To Smile Foundation is a team of doctors and volunteers committed to changing a child’s life one smile and surgery at a time, at no cost to them. They aid impoverished children in underserved communities suffering from cleft lip, palate, and other abnormalities around the world.

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Face to Face Foundation

The Face to Face Foundation is a 503(C)3 non-profit organization dedicated to treating children affected by cleft lip and palate abnormalities. Founded by Dr. Rick Kapitan in 2017, this foundation helps Charlotte area families “close the gap” and meet the many financial needs associated with their child’s treatment.

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Samaritan’s Purse

Since Samaritan’s Purse Cleft Lip Project began in 2011, they have repaired the lips of more than 700 babies, children, youth, and adults. Every lip repaired over the last 10 years represents an opportunity for change and a second chance.

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Exceptional Cleft & Craniofacial Care in the Carolinas

Carolinas Centers for Oral & Facial Surgery provides compassionate, family-centered care to children with craniofacial complexities throughout North and South Carolina. Our oral and maxillofacial surgeons utilize the latest surgical techniques, advanced technology, and specialized care to effectively diagnose, treat, and manage a broad spectrum of craniofacial conditions. Trust our multidisciplinary team to deliver predictable, natural-looking results in a safe, comfortable, and state-of-the-art environment.

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