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How a Root Canal Helped Me Think Positive

“I have to do a root canal,” my dentist said. Negative thoughts raced through my head…until I started counting my blessings.

“No doubt about it, the nerve is infected,” my dentist said, peering at my problem tooth. “I have to do a root canal.” I had known that was a possibility when I came in for my appointment this morning, but I’d been hoping all I needed was a deep filling. Now negative thoughts raced through my head. How much would this end up costing? How many more visits till a permanent crown was in place? How badly would it hurt?

“I’m giving you more anesthetic,” Dr. Gonzalez said. “This might sting a little. Don’t forget to breathe.”

Breathe, I told myself, trying not to flinch as the needle went in. And stop with the negativity. Start thinking positive.

I know when you’re feeling down, counting your blessings really lifts your mood. That’s what I was going to try here. While Dr. Gonzalez went to work on my tooth, I put my mind to work on the pluses of this particular dental procedure. (Hey, it helps to be specific in your prayers so why not in counting your blessings?)

One, this root canal will probably save my tooth.

Two, my dentist is really good about explaining what he’s doing as he goes along, which makes everything much less scary.

Three, I put aside enough in my flexible spending account to cover what insurance doesn’t.

Four, I get to hear what’s happening with the U.S. Open in real time. (Dr. Gonzalez is a golf fanatic and has his TV tuned to the tournament coverage.)

Five, this doesn’t hurt! I feel some pressure but no pain.

By the time Dr. Gonzalez set his instruments down, I was actually in a good mood. And it got even brighter when he said, “No eating until the numbness is completely gone. If you really have to have something soon, get a milkshake.”

Doctor’s orders to have a milkshake? Now that’s one blessing I didn’t count on!

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