Dental Hygienist Bids Adieu To 50-Year Career


For more than 50 years, patients at Severna Park Family and Cosmetic Dentistry have sat in hygienist George Albergo’s chair, where their semi-annual teeth cleanings have also been opportunities to catch up on life.

“You won’t believe the conversations I have, and it has nothing to do with dentistry; it has to do with people,” Albergo said. “This is way more than teeth.”

Albergo will retire on May 3 after a career that was spent almost entirely at one dental practice.

The son of Italian immigrants, Albergo attended the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, where in 1973, he was the only male in his graduating class of 15 hygienists.

Upon graduation, Albergo returned home to Edgewater, Maryland. He had a summer job lined up working at a boatyard and ended up helping out at his own dentist’s office, as well.

“Back then, there weren’t (many) hygienists … in fact, my license number is 967; it’s over 6,000 now,” he said. Albergo stepped in for a hygienist who was on leave in the summer of 1973.

The move proved to be a fortuitous one. Grateful for his help that summer, the office manager put Albergo in touch with Dr. Richard Cheskis in Severna Park. On October 1, 1973, Albergo began his new job, where he has remained a steadfast presence.

When Cheskis retired and handed the baton to Dr. Alison Wright, she had the built-in bonus of a hygienist who brought a wealth of firsthand knowledge about and personal relationships with their patients.

Wright described Albergo as “the cornerstone of the office,” adding that “the fact that he’s seen generations of families is huge.”

In the office, Albergo is known for wearing many hats. In addition to being a hygienist, he owns a lab and has done dental repair for patients as they sit in the waiting room. He’s also “the guy” for any necessary office maintenance. He attributes his handyman skills to his time working at the boatyard as a young man.

“He’s got a tool for everything,” said Dr. Stacey Russell, who joined the practice in 1995, after more than a decade spent as a patient there.

Albergo’s proverbial tool belt apparently includes career consulting, as well.

After Russell graduated from dental school, her mom, also a patient, mentioned to the hygienist that Russell hoped to practice there. Albergo set up a meeting with Cheskis, and the rest is history.

Russell is not the only one whose career was impacted by her time in Albergo’s chair. One young man, who had been a patient since he was a toddler, was advised by his dental hygienist to try his hand at being an elevator mechanic.

Albergo was delighted when he received the update that his recommendation was pursued, and his hunch was right – the field was a fit.

This particular young man is the grandson of a couple who are longtime patients of Albergo. He’s come to be such a fixture in their lives, he was even invited to their 50th wedding anniversary, and he proudly displays a photo of the occasion in his office.

“Every time they come in, I get giddy. They’re a blast,” Albergo said of the multi-generational family.

Just as the practice has found ideal fits to take over for retiring dentists, allowing for seamless shifts over the years from doctors Cheskis, Hooper, Schatz and Russell to its current lineup of doctors Russell, Deasey, Wright and Zitofsky, a new hygienist will begin a few days after Albergo leaves.

“This is long-term successful because it’s like family,” Albergo said of the small dental practice.

As for his retirement, Albergo looks forward to more time with his wife and traveling. He will also continue to be a presence in the office with his lab business, working on dental repairs, setups and the like.

Severna Park Family and Cosmetic Dentistry is located at 22 Truck House Road, Suite 3. The team can be reached at 410-647-4269 or


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