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Some Surprising Dentists Throughout History

There is a fascinating list of household celebrity names that deserve recognition beyond what they are ultimately famous for.  Here at Montgomery Dentistry, we would like to offer you a more well-rounded view of some of our most beloved celebrities who also dabbled in dentistry!

1.  Paul Revere


Paul Revere

A beloved American hero most known for making his midnight ride to warn of the arrival of the British, Paul Revere was also America’s first forensic dentist.  His dental career began in the early 1760’s, when an English dental surgeon named John Baker arrived in the colonies and set up a practice.  Smelling opportunity, Revere sat under the mentorship and teaching of Baker, and eventually began his own practice of crafting and inserting false teeth made of ivory.  Following the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Revere summoned up his newfound dental knowledge and volunteered himself to aid in identifying deceased soldiers by recognizing dental work he had performed on them.  He handed down his business to his son in the late 1780’s.


2.  Thomas Welch


Thomas Welch

Ironically, the man responsible for creating a well-known sugar-laden juice drink also had a previous career in dentistry.  In fact, Thomas Welch is an incredibly interesting man, even outside of his creation of his juice brand.   As a teen he was a secret member of the Underground Railroad and assisted many slaves to safety in the north.  In 1856, he opened a very lucrative, very successful dental practice that remained open until 1880.  He was a devout member of the United Methodist Church, which is what drove him to create a nonalcoholic alternative to communion wine, and in 1893 his grape juice company was launched and became known as “Welch’s Grape Juice Company.”


3.  Doc Holliday


Doc Hillady

Perhaps our favorite character in the movie “Tombstone”, Doc Holliday is most known for his friendship with Wyatt Earp and his involvement in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.  But would you believe it if you were told that Doc Holliday also held a D.D.S. degree from the Pennsylvania College Of Dental Surgery?  He even set up his own practice in Atlanta, Georgia before heading to the American Southwest after being diagnosed with tuberculosis.  Another lesser-known fact about Holliday – his true name is John Henry Holliday.

While most of the world will always know these men for their notable adventures and exploits throughout American history, here at Montgomery Dentistry they will hold a special place in our hearts as fellow dentists.

And Paul, Thomas, and Doc would want all of our clients to make sure that they are up to date on their cleanings and check-ups. 🙂

Photo Credit: Richie Diesterheft

About the Author

  • Dr. Jay L. Robertson

    Dr. Jay L. Robertson

    Dr. Jay Robertson joined our practice in July 2008. He is from Montgomery and is a graduate of Saint James School, Birmingham-Southern College, and the University of Alabama, Birmingham School of Dentistry. He is a member of the American Dental Association, the Alabama Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry.

    Dr. Robertson and his wife Jennifer have four children, John Campbell, Julian, Lowe, and Ansley.

    Dr. Robertson serves on the board of the Montgomery Quarterback Club and is a member of the First United Methodist Church of Montgomery. When not at work, Dr. Robertson enjoys all things sports, including Auburn, golf, and his children’s various sports.

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