Ah, the marvels of tooth care.
More than a dozen years ago, my dentist sold his practice and the new guy didn't do such a great job. He used the new (at the time) resin fillings, and they really weren't very good yet (my amalgam fillings are thirty+ years old and doing fine). The resin fillings broke down, decay set in, and I've just completed a pair of root canals.
I worked hard to not need those root canals; I got the fillings replaced (but not in time), I did a bunch of visualization (yet I could feel the Universe sending me the "No, you've got to go to the endodontist" message), I took Chinese herbs and had acupuncture (which probably helped keep the infection down). All of these alternate treatment modes did help postpone the inevitable, and if I wanted to lose my teeth they were fine therapies.
I've been in chronic pain since... oh, perhaps July.
I've got the new job, I've got my design business ramped back down to hobby status, I've initiated construction projects around the home, and it just feels good to take care of this problem. Like most people, having someone else root around in my mouth is about the last thing on my list of how I want to spend time (I suppose open-mouth kissing is an entirely different category, since I do want more of that).
I explored my hesitation about the procedure and realized it was the lack of control of my circumstance that made me uncomfortable. So I re-cast the experience, choosing to think of the endodontist as an extension of me. I focussed on the idea that I hired him, I delegated this care to him, that I chose this course of action. Do I have time and inclination to learn to do this myself? Ha! DIY dentistry is not on my horizon. Would I rather have someone with thousands of successes at work deep in my molars? Absolutely.
I did such a good job of becoming less fearful and more trusting that I even fell asleep in the chair for a little while.
He told me I'm likely to have another couple of days with significantly more pain, but then I should be pain free. Ahhh, that will be nice. It's been interesting being my positive, outgoing, inspirational self while also holding the pain at bay.