I finally "bit the bullet" and called the dentist. The pain had gotten to be just too much to bear. And yes, just as I thought, the problem WAS caused by that ridiculous slip of the drill that my last dentist made all those years ago. Damage to my psyche, damage to my tooth, all in one fell swoop. Nice.
Today I have a huge, gaping hole in my mouth, thanks to a giant effort made by the dentist I was able to see last Friday on an emergency basis. I thought I was going to end up with a root canal, but instead, the "reward" for facing my fears was a double tooth extraction. The hole that drill slip made had never been repaired, so I was left with a cavity that went all the way through the tooth. The wisdom tooth that was wedging that back molar in had to go too, obviously, since it was turned completely sideways.
Funny, but I don't feel all that much stronger for facing my fears, because what I went through Friday did NOT alleviate any fears at all. It made new ones. Let's just say it took ten shots of novacaine, a drill, an awl, a hammer and chisel, and a LOT of banging on my jaw to get those two teeth out. Today, my pain meds (the only ones I can take) quit working...and I am not "better in 24 to 36 hours".
Pete is out of town till Friday.
I surrender. My weakness has been found. Dental work is my kryptonite.