A short review of root canals:
They suck. Don't get one.
Yes, yesterday morning I went to the dentist with a throbbing toothache, and five hours later I was at an endodontist's office having a root canal. I can't take regular novocaine because it has epinephrine in it, and the alternative anesthetic isn't as effective, so I ended up getting five injections (two before the procedure and three during it to "top up"), which was loads of fun, let me tell you. I'm not that bothered by needles, so I can't imagine what it would have been like for someone who is.
Anyway, the whole thing was quite unpleasant and I'm very sore and fragile-feeling and can't eat properly today, but even so, the aftermath hurts less than the toothache itself did. The downer is that he couldn't finish the whole procedure yesterday, so I have to go back next week to have my tooth reopened, the roots shaped and the packing stuff put in, and then one more time to get the actual crown.
Oh, and as I was leaving, all numb and puffy, he gave me a prescription for antibiotics, but said not to take them unless I notice swelling or redness. I hate when doctors do that. I don't want the responsibility of deciding whether I need medication or not -- you're the doctor, you tell me! What if I get an infection and don't realize it, and end up maimed or dead because I had the antibiotics and didn't take them? It could happen. (That said, I just checked out my mouth and I don't see anything even slightly abnormal. But I do have a headache which is clearly a rampaging brain disease. :P)
Of course I don't want to take them if I don't have to, since that's how antibiotic resistance happens, but I do question whether my degree in English literature qualifies me to make medical judgments. I'm thinking it probably doesn't. I can analyze the heck out of your short story, though. Ha.