I never believed James Frey because of the Economic Way of Thinking – I refer of course to Paul Heyne’s book and not just the method. In one of the chapters of the EWT, Heyne covers basic public choice. Business people are always lobbying the government to regulate their rivals and when they do so they always have a public-interest story to sell. Heyne, however, cautions skepticism. One of his examples, is about veterinarians who lobbied the government to crack down on unlicensed canine tooth cleaners because, the veterinarians argued, unlicensed cleaners might subject the dogs to unnecessary pain. Heyne replies (I quote from memory) "Now, if you were cleaning a dog’s teeth would you subject it to unnecessary pain?"
Frey’s story about undergoing two root canals without drugs was obviously false. Not because such pain cannot be endured but because no dentist is going to risk his fingers in the mouth of someone who hasn’t had an anesthetic.