Early palatal growth and development after primary palatal closure was studied in children with different types of cleft lip and palate (CLP). Palatal dimensions were measured on dental casts taken at fixed ages, from 9 months to 4 years of age. The results showed that soft and hard palatal closure in one stage had a significant impeding influence on posterior sagittal palatal growth compared to closure of the soft palate only. Timing of surgery possibly had a small temporary restrictive effect on posterior transverse palatal growth and development. Type and severity of the oral cleft had a significant effect on transverse palatal development and anterior sagittal dimensions. Anterior arch width was reduced in children with a complete unilateral (U) CLP or bilateral (B) CLP. The palates of the latter children had consistently larger anterior arch depths. Compared to normal children, palates of cleft children changed anteriorly from wider at 9 months of age to narrower at 4 years of age. Arch depths were smaller in cleft children except for anterior arch depths in children with complete BCLP.