NJ docs fixing smiles in Garden State and beyond

A collection of New Jersey doctors are gearing up for a trip where they'll literally try and fix the smiles of disadvantaged children in Bangladesh.

Dr. Shahid Aziz and a team of nine other doctors from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey leave Saturday for Bangladesh, where they'll perform 70 surgeries on children with cleft lips and cleft palates. The group will also train other doctors while there.

Liliana Aykurt, a Fairview patient of Dr. Aziz's, recently underwent her second surgery to correct her cleft palate. Aykurt's parents say her birth defect was causing eating problems and are glad their little girl is receiving the right care.

When tissue forming the roof of the mouth and upper lip don't join before birth, children are born with the cleft lip or cleft palate birth defect. Experts say cleft lips or palates can be found on one out of every 1,000 births in the United States.

For an interview on the cleft palate surgery, go to channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.

Related information:March of Dimes FoundationCleft Palate FoundationWide Smiles, Inc.The Smile TrainFresh Start Surgical Gifts

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