By Chris Meehan
Last November, five-year-old Veronica Linczer sat in a small examining room in an Indianapolis children’s hospital, along with her parents Ron and Anne (South Bend) and nine doctors and medical students. Veronica was scheduled for surgery on her cleft palate, until the oral surgeon, the plastic surgeon and the orthodontist got a look at her mouth.
“This is remarkable!,” the doctors kept repeating.
Veronica was born with a cleft palate, though not one that was obvious when her lips were closed. “Inside her mouth, on her upper-right palate, there was a trench-like opening or cleft covered by a clump of skin that should have contained bone and teeth,” Anne explains. “When she smiled you could see the malformed skin in place of one of her teeth.”
When she turned three, Ron and Anne had to decide whether to schedule a major surgery that would graft bone from Veronica’s hip onto her jawbone. If Veronica didn’t have the surgery by the time she turned six, a permanent tooth would not be able to grow in the cleft.
“We delayed surgery to give the Lord time to act,” says Anne. “We invited everyone at our branch meeting to join our family in our daily prayer for healing.”
After praying for more than a year, a baby tooth mysteriously began to poke its way through the folded skin. It took six months to twist and turn into a normal downward position.
The doctors in Indianapolis said they had never seen a tooth emerge from a cleft like that, because there hadn’t been enough bone to support a tooth. An X-ray had revealed new bone growth and another surprise—the shadow of an adult tooth, waiting to replace the baby tooth. A graft was no longer necessary, so the doctors called off the surgery. “It was a true healing,” Anne exclaims. “The gap in her gum line is gone and the cleft is gone. Her palate is in one piece.”