Christina L. Hutchinson, DDS
Hutchinson Dental is a family dental practice offering general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, resorative procedures and management of sleep disorders. In practice for 17 years, Dr. Christina Hutchinson graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry and worked in a private practice in Tulsa before moving to California in 2008. She completed an advanced education in general dentistry residency at UCLA and was later part of a private practice in Manhattan Beach for nearly six years. She bought Hutchinson Dental in 2015.
What is your dental treatment philosophy?
“I like to approach each patient, each tooth with whatever I would want for myself. I would prefer more conservative treatment if an option exists, but ultimately I want what is most predictable over time.”
Does an improved smile really improve confidence?
“Absolutely! Whether it is a smile makeover or repairing a small chip in a front tooth, the reaction is the same. Patients appreciate having the best version of their smile restored, and they begin to smile wider and with pride. It is so much fun to be a part of that!”
What have been your proudest moments during the recent crisis?
“Nobody prepared us for what happened during the pandemic or the changes that came after. I am so proud of my team for coming together to combine what we learned from various resources to remain calm and have a plan to reopen our doors safely. It was a team effort, and I am grateful for those around me!”
How do you persuade difficult patients to trust you and your recommendations?
“I pay attention. Patients will often give nonverbal cues that give me insight as to what is holding them back, if they cannot articulate it. I use that to be direct if I sense they need to get a personal fear off their chest, that they need me to spend more time explaining if they are not understanding something, or I see a need to spend time talking about something else to establish rapport. I always tell patients that ‘they are the boss.’ No one does anything they are not comfortable moving forward with, whether we agree or not.”
What tips do you give patients to maintain their health while staying at home more than usual?
“Most important: Do not let bad habits from a change in your schedule become your new normal. Stand up and walk around hourly so you are not sitting for too long. Drink plenty of water. Try not to snack between meals. Find an enjoyable outlet for your body and mind. And of course find time to brush and floss daily!”
What can we all do about the mental toll this outbreak has taken?
“The past few months have been challenging for me. As if the stress of COVID-19 closure was not enough, then came curfews and floods of opinions on social media. For a while the bad news was nonstop, and I was having a negative physical response to it. In the interest of self-preservation, I decided to control what I can control and let the rest go. Now my Instagram feed is almost exclusively German shepherd puppies, and I run more every day. It has made a positive difference for me, and I find myself smiling more than feeling stress.”
What are you especially grateful for?
“With the threat of illness modifying the way we live our lives, I am grateful for my health and for the health and safety of everyone around me. There really is nothing more important than your health.”
What are your thoughts on work-life balance?
“It is essential to protect this balance if you expect to have a long career. If you are truly giving your attention and devotion to patients, it is consuming and can take a toll on you and your relationships. My husband and I both work hard for our careers, so we both like to switch off every now and then to reset. Without this, I think we would both burn out prematurely.”
Explain why preventive dentistry IS so important.
“I emphasize consistent home care to patients because there is nothing like your own teeth and enjoying dental health. Some patients do not value what that means until they are on the other side. Every mouth is different, so the key is to provide personalized recommendations for each patient. Regular dental visits allow us the opportunity to identify and intervene before situations become more dramatic and costly.”