Christina L. Hutchinson, DDS
Hutchinson Dental is a family practice offering general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry and the management of sleep disorders. Dr Christina Hutchinson graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry and spent the first five years of her career in a private practice in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She moved to California for an advanced education in general dentistry residency at UCLA in 2008 and later worked with another private practice in Manhattan Beach for nearly six years. She opened Hutchinson Dental in 2015.
What is your practice known for?
“Hutchinson Dental is known for honesty and consistency. We have very low turnover within our team, so patients build relationships and trust the advice they are given. We are not the office that tries to sell anything; rather we make recommendations based on what is best for the patient.”
What are the most popular therapies and services you offer?
“My sleep apnea patients love the Panthera appliance. It is milled from type 12 nylon, so it is super thin (less stuff in your mouth) and flexible (does not feel rigid). It maintains a specific posture of your lower jaw to support your airway. Patients can adjust the position themselves, which is like reducing the volume on their snoring (spouses also love it).”
How do you promote tranquility in your office?
“We are fortunate in our practice that we do not have to do much to maintain tranquility. It is so refreshing to hear laughter all day and never have tension in the office. Each team member gets along, and everyone pitches in to work together as a team. This is the greatest team of women I have ever worked with, and I am very protective of them.”
What is the most common misperception you hear about the field of dentistry?
“Occasionally we will have new patients who have not seen a dentist in years. Most often they come in because they have a dental problem, and they almost always say that before this, everything was fine so they did not think it was necessary to come in. Routine dental care is so important! Having annual exams and professional care allows us to diagnose issues before they become painful, expensive and more dramatic.”
Why is preventive dentistry so important, in your opinion?
“I emphasize deliberate home care to patients because there’s nothing like your own teeth and enjoying dental health. Some patients don’t value what that means until they’re on the other side. When I can diagnose early cavities that aren’t quite ready to be restored, I emphasize that patients have a window of opportunity to remineralize their enamel and avoid a filling. They can achieve this with consistent brushing, contoured flossing and using a fluoride rinse every day.”
What technologically advanced equipment does your office have?
“We have a dental cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) system in the office. It is a lot of fun to show patients more than just their teeth. We are able to view any airway obstructions and calculate the volume of their airway to communicate with ENTs, calculate volume and density of bone where an implant is needed for oral surgeons, view the TMJs, and look at the bone beyond the traditional bitewing series. It’s incredible!”
What stories can teeth tell about habits, diet and hygiene?
“Teeth and gums give so much away if you know what to look for. Different wear patterns suggest specific origins of para-functional activity. Dental crowding can suggest difficulty breathing nasally. Different stains suggest the intake of various beverages or fruits. Even looking at the soft tissue can reveal which toothpaste a patient uses.”
Why should adults consider braces?
“Alignment of the teeth is so much more than just straight teeth that look nice. Over time teeth can drift, resulting in crowding. This is less than esthetic, makes hygiene more challenging, and causes accelerated wear and unkind flexural stresses—resulting in painful sensitive areas.”
What does the future hold for the field of dentistry?
“There is increasing awareness from patients, dentists and other medical specialties about the significance of the airway and how it impacts dental and sleep issues for patients. It has opened conversations with patients that previously weren’t had. It has been positive for dentistry!”
What do you consider an appropriate amount for the Tooth Fairy to leave per tooth?
“I often ask our pediatric patients who have wiggly teeth what the Tooth Fairy is paying these days, out of curiosity. Most patients will report $1 per tooth, and I would say that is pretty reasonable. But perhaps there should be a bonus for an extraordinary tooth, like if they were able to turn in a tooth with cool roots that are intact. It is like extra credit, which should be rewarded!”