Meet Dr. Michael Hutchison – Associates in Family Dentistry

By Becky Kalajian

It’s a story not many could share, but Michael Hutchison’s teenage observation of an artificial bovine insemination launched him on a completely new career choice.

The Ames, Iowa native had thought that being a veterinarian was his dream career, but after witnessing a vet student perform the above procedure decided that dentistry was for him instead.

Since moving to Traverse City in 1997 and forming Associates in Family Dentistry, Hutchison has brought his love of dentistry to his patients.

He says he and his support team offer general dentistry procedures using technology to make it faster and more comfortable.

They also help patients suffering from chronic headaches, migraines, TMJ, and sleep disorders using the science of neuromuscular dentistry.

“For many years, dentistry was focused on the diseases of the teeth and we were focused on just the mouth,” said Hutchison, who since moving here has raised his three children with wife Taffy. “We know now that dental disease reaches as far as affecting the heart, the muscles of the head and neck, sleep disorders and many more body systems that we were not aware of before.”

What is the story behind your business?

When I moved here from my family practice in La Grange, IL, I formed a partnership with the doctors in Associates in Family Dentistry. I brought some specialized skills and treatments that were not available at the time in Traverse City. I became accredited in the Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry in 2000 when there were only 125 in the world. Now there are over 300, but it was a service that Traverse City needed and I was able to offer that here.

Since then, we have incorporated laser dentistry and same-day crowns in the dental office. This means fillings can be done without anesthesia. You can also have a crown done in one day instead of the traditional three week wait, avoiding the hassle of temporary crowns.

What is unique about your practice?

In 2000, I began developing the only physiologic jaw positioning mouth guard called the PowerPlus Mouthguard.  In 2009, it was tested and published by Wayne State University Biomedical Engineering Department as a new discovery to increase strength. In 2015, I was awarded a US patent.

The PowerPlus Mouthguard is being marketed nationwide. Many athletes of all sports are embracing the technology; it is currently being studied for its promise in mitigating concussion forces.

Why dentistry?

I grew up in a town where veterinary medicine was popular, so one day I went to observe a vet student. I watched a surgery on a pig and thought that was awesome, but then he took me to check on a bovine artificial insemination project.

I watched him put on a long glove and put his arm in the back end of a cow up to his shoulder.

I asked, “If you want to be a small animal doctor do you have to do that?”

He said, “Everyone has to do this!”

I went home dejected and no longer wanted to be a vet. My father, who grew up on a farm, got a pretty good chuckle from that.

He then told me to be a dentist because they make a great living, only work three days a week and golf the rest.  

I thought that sounded great, so I made an appointment to spend a day observing a local dentist in town and loved it. I received my undergraduate education at Brigham Young University and Iowa State and my Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree at Loyola University in Chicago.

After all these years, I have a great practice and though I do love it, I don’t get to golf nearly as much as my father thought I would.

What are you your hobbies/interests?

I love to golf, road and mountain bike, and we have a little sailboat that we like to take out on the bay. I spend a lot of time traveling and speaking about my mouth guard invention PowerPlus Mouthguard.

To make an appointment with Dr. Hutchison, call 231-946-9644, visit or visit the Associates in Family Dentistry at 10850 East Traverse Highway, Suite 2250.

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