Christina L. Hutchinson, DDS
Hutchinson Dental is a family dental practice that accommodates a variety of needs, including restorative procedures, cosmetic dentistry and management of sleep disorders. Owner Christina Hutchinson, DDS, has been practicing dentistry for 20 years. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry and worked in a private practice in Tulsa before relocating to Southern California. She opened Hutchinson Dental in 2015.
What makes your practice a great place to work?
Hutchinson Dental is a great place to work because we all have the same attitude of helping patients and each other. There is always laughter, which makes the day fly by. When you have a great team, you have to protect them.
Describe a turning point in your career.
Years ago, I was frustrated working to support someone else’s practice and being undervalued for the customer service I am hardwired with. My husband recognized my worth more than my previous employer, and he found the perfect practice for me. The style of the retiring dentist, the team and the patients were a perfect fit! I will always be grateful for my husband’s belief in me.
What do you find most rewarding about working in the health care industry?
Probably more meaningful than any smile transformation has been the many relationships I have made over the years, thanks to dentistry. The friendships made with my team members, colleagues, sales reps and patients give me more warm fuzzies than any actual restoration or case I have completed.
What products do your patients love?
My sleep apnea patients love the Panthera appliance. This is milled from type 12 nylon, so it is super thin (less stuff in your mouth) and flexible (so it 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 of their snoring (spouses also love it).
What issues do older adults face in terms of oral health care?
Probably the most common problem I see with older adults is root decay. As patients take more prescription medications, they often have a dry mouth, which makes it easier for bacteria to adhere and damage teeth. It is so important to keep the mouth hydrated and clean, not to mention regular checkups to diagnose problems before they become big ones.
What preventive measures do you encourage for younger patients?
I emphasize deliberate home care to patients because there’s nothing like your own teeth. Some patients don’t value what that means until they’re on the other side. When I diagnose early cavities that aren’t quite ready to be restored, I emphasize to the patient that they 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.
How do you help patients with their feelings of apprehension?
Everyone on our team is a good listener, and we don’t pressure anyone to do anything they don’t want to do. If a patient takes the time to share a worry or bad experience, we listen and do what we can to accommodate them. Most of the time just being heard, and taking things slowly is all they need to gain confidence.
Any wise words you’d like to share?
Drink more water! It is better for your body, promotes clearer skin, flushes out toxins, and irrigates and neutralizes the pH in your mouth in between brushing. And if it’s fluoridated water, it can help reverse early cavities.
What is something our readers may not know about you?
I am an early bird; sleeping in is something I’ve never been able to do (but it sounds lovely). I am up and literally running at 4 or 5 a.m. every day, and I don’t stop buzzing around until the sun goes down.
How do you handle working under pressure?
I made my peace long ago that I can only be in one place and do one thing at a time. When days are nutty, I tend to prioritize what I need to do, and I block everything else out. I endeavor to do whatever I’m doing well in that moment and move on to what’s next. That’s all anyone can do.
How do you stay fit physically, mentally and emotionally?
I spend the majority of my day caring for someone or something. However, in the interest of self-preservation, I carve out time each day to do something just for myself. Even if I have to set the alarm for 4 a.m. to run or take the dog on a long walk, dedicating time for myself allows me to reset and fuel my spirit for the rest of the day.
Photographed by Siri Berting