Famous (and Sort of Famous) Dental Hygienists

Female dentist standing in an exam room smiling

Although dentists and dental hygienists work closely together, their job descriptions differ greatly. Hygienists focus on cleaning teeth, while dentists provide treatment relating to teeth, gums, and mouth.

Sometimes people are lucky enough to find a passion and advance it into a career. But ever so often, opportunities develop or life takes a turn of events. These five famous and sort of famous people are known for other ventures, but each of them was initially on track to becoming a dental hygienist.


Paul Revere


Folk hero Paul Revere is famously known for warning Boston townspeople that the British were coming during the American Revolution. Before his notorious cry, Revere studied under an English dental surgeon in an effort to make money during the decline of his silver shop.

Applying his craftsman skills, Revere was able to construct and replace missing teeth. He learned how to build fake teeth and create dentures out of animal teeth and ivory. In today’s day in age, there’s no way a hygienist would perform these kinds of procedures.

Dentistry standards were considerably different in the 18th century than they are today. Well-accredited dentists, like Dr. Timothy Kosinski, not only have their DDS, but they also have multiple publications, memberships, and acclaiming testimonials.

After the American Revolution, Revere gave up on his dentistry career and begun businesses in hardware and a rolling copper mill.


Joan Alden


At the start, published author Joan Alden was discovered by her manuscript about a child with two same-sex parents. To this day, some of her most familiar works are When I First Knew, Her Widow, and Letting in the Night

Along with that, Alden was a professor at The Citadel, an actress off-Broadway, a Wall Street trader, and worked for the Ohio Department of Health. Her abilities are impressive, to say the least. Dentists like Dr. John Granados can appreciate the hard work ethic, as he took numerous courses to expand his education.

Before she became a multifaceted personality, Alden received her dental assisting certificate from Ohio State University in 1965. Her interest quickly shifted and she focused her attention on becoming a teacher. Alden received her bachelor’s and master’s degree in education and communication.


Catherine Greig


Catherine Greig landed herself on the FBI’s Most Wanted List for her role in refuging fugitive and alleged Boston mobster, James “Whitey” Bulger. The two were on the run for over 16 years before being arrested in 2011 in Santa Monica, CA.

Greig wasn’t always known as a runaway. She worked as a dental instructor and received her associate’s degree at the Forsyth School for Dental Hygienists in 1972. Afterward, she began working on a bachelor’s degree in health science at Northeastern University College to continue her dentistry career.

Greig worked long hours as a part-time hygienist and was deeply committed to the dental program before crossing paths with Bulger. The former FBI fugitive pleaded guilty to several charges and is currently serving her time in federal prison.


Ann Battrell


Ann Battrell is a true visionary in the dental hygiene world. She is the first hygienist to serve as the CEO of the American Dental Hygienists Association. The ADHA was founded in 1923, and yet Battrell is the first actual registered dental hygienist to hold the title. 

She received her certificate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree in dental hygiene. Battrell also held dental hygiene faculty positions at Northwestern University Dental School and Palm Beach Community College.

Before she became executive director, Battrell started as a manager of education in 2005 and worked her way up the ladder. She now acts as an advocate for expanding the role of dental assistants and hygienists in the delivery of oral health care.


Carol Ann Guest


Beauty queen Carol Ann Guest was crowned Mrs. Utah in March 2011. The following month, she competed in the national Mrs. America pageant in West Virginia.

But prior to her pageant days, Guest earned a bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene at Weber State University in 1988. While spending 18 years at a private dental practice, Guest also worked with students seeking a dental assisting certificate.

Similar to Guest, Dr. Edward Hobbs in Longview, TX is devoted to his community and shares his knowledge by teaching and mentoring students.

Guest instructed at Salt Lake Community College Dental Hygiene program before opening her own business. Embrace Your Place was established in 2002 and offers empowerment workshops for young girls and women.