Jaw Surgery

Riverton UT Jaw Surgery with Dr. Derrick Gale

Facial Surgery in Salt Lake City, UT

Jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery or jaw straightening surgery, refers to various surgical procedures performed on the upper jaw, lower jaw, and chin. Jaw surgery can have both practical and aesthetic purposes. Whether you are experiencing functional issues or wish to enhance your appearance, jaw surgery provides life-changing results. 

Gale Jaw Surgery Utah

The jaw and chin are defining characteristics of the face. A properly aligned jaw gives us a beautiful, happy smile and a confident, strong appearance. The chin and jaw also play vital harmonizing roles with other facial features, particularly the nose and forehead. A well-proportioned and correctly aligned jaw also gives us a healthy bite and can improve the airway. 

The multiple functional and aesthetic roles of the upper and lower jaw make the facial skeleton an incredibly complex part of our anatomy. As such, learning to modify and reconstruct the jaws appropriately takes years of training and experience. When considering jaw surgery, you should ensure you choose a surgeon specializing in maxillofacial surgery, combined with reconstructive and plastic surgery

Dr. Derrick Gale combines all these requirements. Trained under respected surgeons Dr. Alan Sclaroff, DDS, and Dr. Jose Barrera, MD, his extensive experience also encompasses sleep surgery, including skeletofacial reconstruction. His complete understanding of the function of the jaw and a trained artistic eye makes him one of the best possible surgeons to perform your jaw surgery. 

This page provides a thorough background on jaw surgery in Riverton and Salt Lake City. If you have any unanswered questions or wish to book a consultation, please call un on 801-506-6344 or visit us online

Meet Dr. Derrick Gale, MD

Customized Consultations, Individualized Results

With a focus on improving both form and function, Dr. Gale applies experienced aesthetic judgment and surgical expertise to achieve each patient’s individual cosmetic and functional goals. While delivering the highest level of care and expertise, Dr. Gale and his team maintain a down-to-earth and comfortable atmosphere to put you at ease. 

What is Jaw Surgery?

Jaw surgery involves the cutting, repositioning, and manipulation of the jaw bones to achieve a desired functional or aesthetic result.  Depending on the issue to be addressed, your surgeon will work on your upper jaw, lower jaw, or chin. 

Why is Jaw Surgery Performed?

Jaw surgery is performed for several reasons. These include;

  • To correct the way the upper and lower teeth fit together and jaw closure issues
  • To improve facial asymmetries, overbites, underbites, and crossbites
  • To improve the biting and chewing functionality of the jaws
  • To address speech or swallowing issues
  • To reconstruct the chin or jawline after an accident or from a congenital or acquired disfigurement
  • To remedy obstructive sleep apnea

What Does a Jaw Surgery Involve?

Jaw surgery is a significant operation done under general anesthesia in a hospital. It generally requires a short stay in the hospital following the procedure. As such, before your surgery, you need to ensure you are in good health, eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, and fully prepared for the operation. 

Jaw surgery is performed through incisions made inside the mouth, leaving no visible scars. However, in some instances, small skin incisions may be needed. 

Depending on your anatomy, your surgeon will place strategic cuts in the jawbone and change the position of the jaw and chin. In some cases, more bone is necessary to achieve the desired results and will be taken from donor sites on your body, such as the hip, leg, or rib. Dr. Gale frequently uses the rib as a donor site, as this area heals very well.  

Once the anatomy is in the correct position, miniature plates, screws, wires, and bands are used to secure the bones in their new positions. These items stay permanently inside the bone structure and can act as extra support, even once the body has fully healed from the surgery.

After the surgery is complete, you will be monitored for any complications in recovery. Your friends and family may visit with you after you have been cleared, but you will need to stay in the hospital for a short time for IV hydration until you are able to drink enough fluids on your own. 

After a few days of care in the hospital, you will return home to continue your recovery. 

What can I Expect During Recovery from Jaw Surgery?

Dr. Gale will give you strict guidelines for your recovery. These include:

  • What and how you can eat
  • Cleaning your teeth
  • Avoiding smoking and tobacco
  • Staying calm and relaxed
  • Pain medications
  • Dates for when you can begin resuming regular activity 


Healing from jaw surgery takes a while – usually, it takes three months for a full recovery. Generally, two to three weeks after recovery, you can begin non-strenuous activity and resume work or school. You will be able to see results immediately, but final results become apparent once swelling and bruising fully subsides, usually after about six-eight weeks.

Am I a Suitable Candidate for Jaw Surgery?

Good candidates for jaw surgery include those concerned with the appearance or function of their mouth and jaw. Realistic goals are essential, as is a positive outlook for the results of the procedure. 

Jaw Surgery FAQs

Yes. Dr. Gale will get to understand your personal concerns through your consult, and he will design a customized surgical plan to meet both your functional and aesthetic goals.

In many cases, jaw surgery is performed as reconstructive surgery for sleep apnea, malocclusion, trauma,  or post-cancer ablation. In some instances, some patients may choose rhinoplasty to harmonize their face after the procedure. Consult with your surgeon about complementary procedures. 

When performed by a trained and experienced maxillofacial surgeon, jaw surgery is very safe. Nonetheless, potential risks may include but are not limited to:

  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Blood loss
  • Incorrect setting of the jaw structure requiring revision surgery
  • Root canal therapy on individual teeth or tooth loss

After jaw surgery, you will experience pain and swelling. You will need proper dietary supplementation in the first few weeks, as chewing will prevent proper healing. 

Yes. Jaw surgery is an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. By expanding and/or moving the upper and lower jaws forward, specialist surgeons can increase the breathing passage and enable unobstructed sleeping. Discuss this with your surgeon. 

Jaw Surgery in Riverton UT and Salt Lake City, UT

Jaw surgery is a life-changing procedure. Whether your concerns are functional or cosmetic, you should seek care from a jaw specialist. Dr. Derrick Gale of the Ear Nose and Throat Centre of Utah is one such specialist. As a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon and a fellowship-trained sleep surgeon, he brings the highest level of training and expertise to jaw surgery. You need to look no further than Dr. Gale for your procedure. To arrange a consultation or ask any questions you may have, please contact 801-506-6344 or visit us online.