Jean, left, and Shirley today

Why these RDH “cover girls” love the dental hygiene profession

July 11, 2024
Nearly 50 years into their careers, these childhood friends still love clinical dental hygiene, and enjoy working in the same practice.
Meg Kaiser, Associate Editor

It’s been more than 10 years since Jean Orenstein, RDH, and Shirley Quat, RDH, of Studio City, California, were featured on the cover of RDH magazine. (Note: For a few years, the cover of RDH magazine featured photos of dental hygienists, accompanied by a short Q&A about the “cover girls” inside the issue.)

The cover Spotlight article from December 2013, said, “Best friends since childhood,” the duo worked for the same two dentists, and agreed that they enjoyed motivating their patients and forming “wonderful relationships” with their patients.  

The duo recently contacted Jackie Sanders, editor of RDH, to report, “We’re still working and going strong! Dental hygiene is still thrilling for us! We want to demonstrate [to other hygienists] that you can stay current, and aging is not a negative thing. With years of experience, RDHs can constantly refine their skills if they have that mindset and desire.”

The two departed one of the offices where they worked and now work solely for Drs. Leyli Dehghan and Larry Kozek in Beverly Hills. “We love working together and the office culture is very collaborative. The dentists have an extremely high standard of care and do excellent and beautiful work, and they appreciate our attention to detail and the clinical treatment we provide.”

Shirley and Jean’s main priority is patient care. Their office has an environment that encourages personal growth and lifelong learning. “We’re fortunate to work with a wonderful patient population and we look forward to going to work. Our staff is truly a team, and we’re always there for one another. We work with a small, refined group of specialists who have the highest standards and consistently predictable outcomes.” 

Longtime members of their professional organization, as they move closer to the end of their working years, they’re “dismayed” when they read about offices taking shortcuts and expecting the dental hygienists to compromise their work and ethics to save time and money. 

“We’re always educating our patients to expect the highest quality of care and educate them about how their oral health impacts their general health and well-being. We’ve been accused of being ‘overly enthusiastic,’ which we take as a compliment because we’ve never slacked off or cut corners in treating patients. We champion their successes in achieving optimum oral health and we cheer each win, big or small.”

Their “low four digit” California dental hygiene license numbers (both graduated in the 1970s) are testimony to their longevity in the profession, and they eagerly tell new and younger hygienists about how they can “keep on scaling” and avoid burnout. 

“Of course, there is much more to our profession than instrumentation and it’s not difficult to stay current with all the resources available, such as online webinars, in-person lectures, RDH magazine, and professional journals. We’re sad when we read on various social media sites about how hygienists are being pressured with unreasonable schedules, disrespect, overtreatment, or lack of diagnosis.  

“We feel fortunate to be where we are, especially at this point in our lives. Being RDH magazine ‘cover girls’ was truly a high point for us, and we’ve not wavered in our enthusiasm or dedication as providers.”

About the Author

Meg Kaiser | Associate Editor

Meg Kaiser is an associate editor in Endeavor Business Media’s Dental Division. She works on, RDH eVillage and RDH Graduate newsletters, Dental Economics magazine, and RDH magazine, and has for nearly 20 years. She knew she'd caught the dental bug when she began preaching oral-systemic health to everyone she met. Contact her at [email protected].