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Charles Reap

Charles Reap, Author of Destiny Charles Reap is a former newspaper reporter and columnist, a dentist and a lecturer. He has authored two textbooks and two published novels ( His illustrated children’s book Destiny has just been released by Gypsy Shadow Publishing. Also among his accomplishments, Reap lists being an actor and a film extra.


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Destiny by Charles Reap Dentistry—For Better or for Worse by Charles Reap Out of a Dentist's Mouth by Charles Reap

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Destiny by Charles Reap
This little story is for youngsters up to the age of perhaps 10. It is about a tiny sprig of a post oak that grows in a huge forest totally consisting of pines. It is resented and not wanted by the pines, does not understand why it was thrust into such a place and is unmercifully teased and tormented by the older pines. In the end, however, it perseveres and progresses to its intended destiny as a lovely shade tree in a restful meadow. The story presents to youngsters that they can succeed in life even through adversity. Illustrated by Elbert L. Tremblay.
Word Count: 1264
Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon
Price: $3.99

Dentistry—For Better or for Worse by Charles Reap Some personal thoughts and advice for lay people about dentistry. Or, things you always wanted to know about dentistry, but were afraid to ask.

Word Count: 12329
Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon
Price: $3.99

Out of a Dentist's Mouth by Charles Reap Vignettes about a number of personal happenings while practicing dentistry—some happy, some otherwise. Who says one cannot be happy in the dental office?
Word Count: 11100
Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon
Price: $ 3.99



“Hey,” came the booming voice from high above.

“Huh?” responded the tiny newborn, somewhat alarmed.

“And just who do you think you are, popping up down there?”

“I don’t know. I think I’m a post oak.”

“You don’t even belong here. You’re not our kind.”

“I can’t help it.”

“Well, just dry up and wither away.”

“No! I won’t and you can’t make me.”

The elder, a huge pine, brought itself up to its full dignity and spoke to its companions, “Did you hear that? Do you think we ought to do something about it?”

His neighbor said quietly, “What we can do?”

Another piped up, “We could cut off his sunlight, and drop cones on him.”

Farther away, one said, “Any idea why he’s here?

“Not supposed to be. This is our neighborhood anyway.”
Once again, the big one spoke somewhat arrogantly, “Tell you what, you puny little fellow. We’ll just see if you can make it here with all of us big ones. You’re not like us. You’re not as good as us and you don’t deserve to survive.”

One year passed, then two. The blazing sun and pouring rains had nurtured him and he became even more determined, even though the pines still towered over him.
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Dentistry—For Better or for Worse

“Fordy years ago I cudn’t even spell
denus, and now I are one.”

That funny statement has always stuck with me. Actually, I could spell dentist by the third grade. I had to go to one often enough. And how I dreaded and hated it. For some unknown reason, my working parents could never go with me; I was simply told to show up at Dr. Blank’s office at a certain time. And, like an obedient numbskull, I did.

As a matter of fact, my very first visit to a dentist was with a first grade friend of mine, Bobby. It was scary. He, whose parents were also at work, and I had to walk downtown (six whole blocks!) from elementary school and then up a long steep narrow stairway, down a darkened hallway, and into his foreboding office. Anyway, this particular dentist checked Bobby’s teeth and mine, and then we left. That’s all that happened, and I never saw him again.

I began seeing Dr. So-and-So a few years later, when he and his new wife moved to town and rented an apartment from my father.

Dr. So-and-So’s office was also a second floor, but a much brighter one. At least, in the afternoons the sun would shine brightly in his windows and reflect off of my tears of fright. Lordy, I hated that man! He would drill on my not-numbed-up teeth and all he would do was to tell me to hold on tightly to the arms of the dental chair. Ooh, what suffering!

Dentists in those days only had the old-fashioned slow, belt-driven drills. They’d run perhaps thirty-five hundred revolutions per minute, tops. You could feel every revolution of the drill bit (The bit is called a bur).

Nowadays, the various air-turbine high speed drills will power along at speeds nearly a million RPMs. There’s no longer any of that vibration. A study was done finding that above roughly sixty-five thousand RPMs, one no longer felt much vibration on the drilled tooth. But with the increased speed you’ve added heat, which, if excessive, can easily damage or even kill the nerve of the tooth, so cooling water needs to be sprayed onto the tip of the bur.

Anyway, Dr. So-and-So’d have me rinse my mouth and I’d intentionally take a r-e-a-l long time doing that, because I knew as long as I was doing that, he couldn’t drill. It wasn’t much, but at least it was a small relief from his heavy hand.

I didn’t have very good teeth back when I was a youngster. In fact, it’s a wonder I have all my teeth now, because I rarely brushed them in those days. It sure did make my big sister mad, though, when I’d take my fingernail and scrape off a big thick bunch of goop (plaque: accumulated soft clumps of bacteria) from my front teeth and show the white mass to her. I thought it was pretty funny when I grossed her out. Little boys like to do things like that to big sisters. She frequently nagged me to go brush my teeth. Incidentally, it is this plaque that makes the framework into which mineral crystals form, becoming what we call calculus, otherwise known as tartar.

I wasn’t required to visit the dentist very often back in those days of the thirties and forties. On one of my less-than-periodic visits to Dr. So-and-So, he told me that I had an abscessed baby tooth and that it’d have to come out. I had a gum boil (fistula). He showed me the x-ray and pointed out the large dark abscess shadow between the roots. (Note: as primary [baby] teeth get ready to be naturally exfoliated, the roots dissolve away. This is why, when a child loses a baby tooth, there’s very little root left.) Then, he told me that a shot (another of my traumas of the era) wouldn’t do any good because of the fistula. I don’t know that I said anything. I do know I didn’t want a shot. Nor did I want a tooth pulled. However, this kind and gentle soul proceeded to get out his big ol’ forceps and go to work on me. The screaming I did could probably have been heard a mile away. Funny, but I will never forget that day. He got the offending tooth out all right, so I at least had something to take home and put under my pillow that night for the tooth fairy. As usual, I had no parents with me that day. Later, after I got home and told my mom of my experience, she phoned him. I don’t know what their conversation was, but lo, I had to continue to visit him for my dental work. Many years later, when I was in dental school, I learned that his decision that Novocain would not work on me at that time was incorrect!

Another time, while living in another city, I again was required to have a baby tooth removed. This time, however, my dad went with me (probably remembering my previous experience with dental extractions), and the dentist gave me gas. Now that was something else again! I had that mask popped over my face without any advance warning and I suddenly found that I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was dying, and tried to remove myself from the chair. Didn’t work. Two grown men (dad and the dentist) were too much for my pitiful ten-year-old strength. Soon, however, everything went black, and, as I recall, that was the blackest black ever made. However, I didn’t die, and when I awoke a few minutes later, the tooth was out! Wow, what a nice change from my previous dentist-performed extraction. It turns out, as I learned in later years, that the dentist gave me nitrous oxide (laughing gas).
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Out of a Dentist's Mouth

During the many years of my practicing dentistry, one of the things that kept life interesting was the many varied types of patients I treated. Working with the general public, one sees about every kind of personality—some very good, some very bad.

As an aside, I must admit that several jokesters suggested to me that my life as a dentist must have been a real grind! I retorted that actually, it was very filling! I had to say, however, that on occasion, I’d feel rather down in the mouth! One bright guy told me that if I happened to be Chinese, I should be a periodontist named, Dr. Sub Gum. Another fellow told me that surely I must have been a drill sergeant in the service!

(By the way, you’d think that after practicing for forty-some years, I’d have learned how. Now, wouldn’t you?) One serious problem I have now in retirement, and having filled cavities for that many years, whenever I stroll around my yard, if I find a depression-cavity—I feel the need to fill it and smooth it over! Okay, with dirt, not precious metals.

Back to my subject, although I found nearly all of my patients interesting in many respects, some of these people were much more interesting and challenging than others. I’ve purposely omitted their names, of course. I am mentioning these particular patients so you, dear readers, may take a good look at yourselves and, hopefully, not emulate the bad side of any of them.
Out of a Dentist’s Mouth Charles Reap

Poor Mrs. X. One almost had to feel sorry for her. She was the widow of a gentleman who owned, or at least was a major stockholder of a railroad in the Northeastern part of our country. She had no offspring that she ever told me about. She entered my practice one day and from then on, each and every one of my employees found themselves in tears at one time or another—solely because of her demeaning attitude. She had the sourest outlook on life that one can imagine. And, I think that she wanted everybody around her to feel the same way. When any of us looked at the appointment book and saw her name, we knew we were not going to have a good day! She apparently considered herself to be a queen. She acted as though she resented having to lower herself to associate with us normal commoners. Although she immediately let my assistants know that she was wealthy beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, she wasn’t going to part with any more of it than absolutely necessary. Oh, she always paid my fees, but we frequently needed to remind her, or send a second bill.

Approaching seventy-five years old, she had very ugly, misplaced upper front incisor teeth. (Actually, she was so ugly [excuse me—unattractive], I am surprised she ever found any poor soul to marry her in the first place. There was no way she could ever have had sufficient attractiveness, even in her youth. I’m sorry, but I just don’t think such would be possible.) I suggested a simple appliance to help straighten these out—it would not have been a difficult task—and she said, “Go ahead.” However, when it came time to place it in her mouth, she refused to wear it. She did pay for it, however.

Now, this lady’s attitude toward others was that nobody was as good as she. She was the penultimate snob. She exhibited a very humiliating attitude toward all of my staff, including me. None of us could ever get close enough to her personality to offer a friendly, caring attitude; it was sheer frustration. No one could please her in any way, no matter how hard we all tried. Then, she would throw out some insulting and debasing remarks to whoever was tending to her needs. Oh, how the demeanor of my staff abruptly changed whenever they spotted her name on the schedule.

I think she must have hated me, because she wouldn’t change to some other dentist, and apparently didn’t want to give me the pleasure of not having to deal with her!

I spoke about her and her attitude (without mentioning her name, of course) to another dentist once, and he said she surely had to be the one that came to him before she came into my practice. When I casually mentioned this to her, she blatantly denied having ever been to him. Of course, she was insulted that I had even mentioned that fact. (I hadn’t even told my friend her name, just her attitude, and he immediately realized who it was I was speaking about.)

She finally passed away. I wonder which way she headed—up or down.

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