This article is sponsored by UConn Health. It does not reflect the work or opinions of NBC Connecticut’s editorial staff. To learn more about UConn Health, visit

Every year, more than 7,000 babies are born with cleft lift and/or cleft palate. They often need multiple surgeries to eat and speak properly, beginning at a very young age and continuing throughout their lives.

Fortunately, the experts at UConn Health are implementing a non-invasive orthodontic technology that uses skeletal anchorage as an alternative to jaw surgery and dental implants. Dr. Flavio Uribe, Program Director and Interim Chair of the Division of Orthodontics at the UConn School of Dental Medicine, cites the case of a young patient named Mackenzie who was born with a cleft lip and palate and entered treatment with his team at age 11.

Mackenzie would have been a strong candidate for jaw surgery. But, says Dr. Uribe, “We decided to use skeletal anchorages with some plates to minimize the discrepancy between her upper and lower jaw.” The result he says, was “Unbelievable, outside of this world.”

Mackenzie agrees. “It worked like a charm,” she says. And while she never thought her appearance was “abnormally different,” her treatment had the added benefit of boosting her self-esteem. “She’s beautiful and she always has been,” says Holly, Mackenzie’s mother. “To see her to grow into a confident young lady is huge.”

Mackenzie is one of many patients at UConn Health who have benefited from this life-changing procedure. Visit to learn more.

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