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Early Education Provides Mold for Outstanding Life (Part VIII): Becoming a Dentist

By Ralphine Major

I looked at the still black and white photo and marveled that it even existed.  It was made during a time when pictures were important and rare.  A single picture captured the most special moments in our lives.  It was long before the arrival of smart phones, cell phones, and digital cameras that seem to record our every move today.

The year was 1958.  Two promising dentists had reached a milestone, and the black and white photo filmed the unforgettable occasion.  Second year dental students Dr. Perry McGinnis and Dr. Reuben (Nib) Pelot III were dismissing their first patient, the late Eddie Strong of Memphis, Tennessee.  Over a six-week period, both dentists made a set of dentures for her as their first clinical assignment.  McGinnis, the Gibbs High School graduate who enjoyed a long and outstanding career in dentistry, shared a personal note about that day.  “When the instructor inserted my dentures to grade them, he looked at me and said rather bluntly, ‘Son, your dentures almost beat my hand out of the mouth!’” Dr. McGinnis said.  The instructor’s understatement that the dentures did not fit too well evidently did not bother Ms. Strong.  “To show her appreciation, she gave each of us a silver dollar,” Perry said.

Today, Dr. McGinnis is retired, and Dr. Reuben Pelot presently practices general dentistry in Farragut, Tennessee.

 

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