Friday, May 21, 2010 2:18 PM

Chomping at the bit to get the right bite

Katie Stater’s journey through jaw surgery got her the results she’s always wanted.

“The staff at Community Regional Medical Center was wonderful,” said Stater, a registered nurse turned jaw surgery patient.

Stater had upper and lower jaw and chin surgery by Dr. Gerald Alexander and his team. After going to several dentists who said her bite was not right, Stater decided to visit Dr. Alexander. Stater had only met him once before her pre-operative appointment, but she said she heard good things about his care.

“Dr. Alexander was very kind and encouraging,” Stater said. “Especially when I was nervous. He made me feel very comfortable in his hands. They [Community Regional staff] were very attentive and always there at my bed when I called. They did a great job in making my pain tolerable and getting me home ASAP so I could recover in my living room.”

Stater hardly remembers her first few days home due to the anesthesia and pain medication, but said the support at home was great and she was able to sleep a lot and watch TV while she healed. Stater had strong bands placed on her braces to keep her jaw in place for six weeks, so it was difficult to eat.
“I think my most favorite and easiest things to eat were chocolate malts and mashed potatoes with garlic and juices from pork roast,” she said. “I got very inventive towards the end … egg flower soup was a good friend for a while too.”

After the bands were taken off, Stater was instructed to eat soft foods and her first “real meal” was French fries from McDonalds.

“I'm feeling really good now and there really isn't a whole lot of pain anymore.” 

“I do notice a difference in my appearance and the way I talk. Sometimes it is very prominent … sometimes very subtle,” she said. “I love the way it has turned out so far and can't wait to see the final outcome.”

Stater’s friends and family notice a difference and her husband noticed right away. 

“He [Stater’s husband] noticed right after surgery, even when I was my most swollen, that it had elongated my face and that there were more teeth showing,” she said.

“Everyone has had nothing but good things to say about the surgery. Most people were glad that it wasn't drastic, they didn't want me to lose all my chin. ‘It's what makes you Katie’  … is what they said.”

It changed Stater in good ways she didn’t expect.

“Now that I'm two months post op, I would say I would do it all over again to get the results that I have,” Stater said. “And I haven't even seen everything yet. [She still has to get her braces taken off] “I think Dr. Alexander did a totally, bodaciously rad job.”

This story was reported by Rebecca Wass. She can be reached at