A South Australian doctor has performed a historic operation on a man whose entire mouth has been closed over by a debilitating growth.
Eng Kheng had never received dental treatment while living in a remote village in the country's Kampong Cham province for the past 30 years.
Mr Kheng had a one in 750,000 chance of developing the rare condition called Gingival Hyperplasia and while he had been able to eat some food, the growth made his life a nightmare at times.
He had just about accepted the growth and thought it would remain with him, until a health worker came to his village to check people's eyesight and discovered the growth.
Enter Adelaide doctor, Andrew Cheng.
"It's certainly one of the most severe cases I've seen," Dr Cheng told the ABC.
“He was able to swallow but the way he swallowed was different to you or I. He kinks his neck back and swallows, a bit like a bird.”
Mr Kheng’s case was considered too intense for Cambodia's health system to handle, prompting Dr Cheng to go above and beyond to help save his life.
“'He could potentially die in Cambodia if we performed the surgery. So we brought him back to Australia,” he added.
Not stopping there, Mr Kheng’s regular nurses were allowed to chip in on the landmark surgery to give them a greater understanding of his condition.
Despite the considerable risks involved with the delicate surgical procedure, doctors quite literally put a smile on Mr Kheng’s face.
The surgery was a complete success and his dream of fitting in and looking like everyone else in his village is now a reality.