Charles Reap is a former newspaper reporter and columnist, a
dentist and a lecturer. He has authored two textbooks and two
published novels (Amazon.com). 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
New Title(s) from Charles Reap
Click on the thumbnail(s) above to learn more about the book(s) listed.
|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.
Word Count: 1264
Pages to Print: 29
File Format: PDF
||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
Pages to Print: 37
File Format: PDF
||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
Pages to Print: 38
File Format: PDF
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
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.
|Back to Destiny
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
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
Back to Dentistry—For Better or for Worse
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
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
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
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
Back to Out of a Dentist's Mouth