Endodontics is a type of dental specialty that focuses on diagnosing and treating tooth pain and conditions affecting the inside of the tooth. One common treatment that endodontists are associated with is root canal treatment. Because diseased teeth can usually be saved with root canal treatment, endodontists are sometimes known as specialists in saving teeth.


To become a specialist, endodontists have to complete 2-3 years of additional endodontic training after completing dental school. This training is centered around studying diseases of the dental pulp and how to eradicate them. It also helps them to diagnose tough cases of oral and facial pain. Additionally, they are trained in pain management techniques that allow them to numb patients who normally have problems with maintaining numbness.


The office of Bethesda Family Dentistry offers a full range of professionals who continually work to perfect their craft. Dr. Joseph Lee is a general dentist who has limited his practice to endodontics. His experience and caring techniques allow for a comfortable appointment for all patients. His office hours are generally Tuesdays and Thursday mornings.



Did You Know?

Every endodontist is a licensed dentist, however only 3% of dentists are endodontists. However, this 3% performs more root canals that your average general dentist. On average, an endodontist will perform 25 root canals a week, while general dentists only perform about 2. This is one reason why endodontists are more experience at performing complex root canal treatments.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need to see an endodontist?

You may need to see an endodontist if you are experiencing some or all of the following:

  • Severe or sudden tooth pain
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Swelling or redness in the gums around the tooth
  • Swelling in the face
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures


Additionally, you may also need to see an endodontist if your general dentist refers you to one. While most general dentists can handle routine root canals, more complex or specialized cases are generally referred to an endodontist.


If you are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, schedule a consultation with our endodontist, Dr. Joseph Lee today!


What is a pulp infection?

Model of the inside of a tooth with pulp infection

Your teeth are composed of three layers: outer enamel, dentin, and the inner pulp. The pulp layer is composed of nerve tissue and blood vessels, and extends into the roots of your teeth. When tooth decay extends past the enamel and dentin layers into the pulp, bacteria are able to enter and infect the pulp chamber.


Once pulp has become damaged, it will continue to break down and more bacteria will multiply. This is ultimately what causes an infection and the resulting tooth pain. If left untreated, the infection will continue until it forms an abscess, or pus filled pocket, at the bottom of the tooth root.  


What types of treatments do endodontists perform?

Root canal treatment is the most common treatment performed by endodontists. During root canal treatment, infected tooth pulp is removed from the inside of the tooth, the pulp chamber is thoroughly cleaned, and the remaining tooth structure is restored, usually with a dental crown or cap. Root canals are essential to preventing tooth abscesses or tooth loss.

In addition to root canals, endodontists can perform any type of treatment that deals with the internal structure of your tooth. This can include treating traumatic injuries, placing dental implants, endodontic retreatment, or endodontic surgery.


Does endodontic treatment hurt?

One of the most common myths surrounding endodontic treatment is that it is painful. While decades ago this may have had some truth, modern technology has made endodontic treatments, such a root canals, virtually painless. In fact, most patients describe root canals as being similar to having a cavity filled.

Furthermore, most patients come to an endodontist because they are already in pain. This is because when the tooth pulp becomes infected, it causes inflammation within the tooth. Root canal treatment removes this infection and promotes healing, however it takes a few days for the resulting inflammation to dissipate. This is why some people may experience pain after a root canal. However, the pain is simply a result of the infection, not the treatment.


What can I expect when undergoing endodontic treatment?

Your specific expectations for endodontic treatment will depend upon the type of treatment you are having performed. For any type of endodontic treatment, however, you can expect to be properly anesthetized so that you are comfortable during the procedure. Depending on the type of procedure, you may also be offered varying levels of dental sedation to keep you calm and still. Also, for any type of endodontic treatment, a dental dam is usually placed around the affected tooth to keep it isolated from the rest of the mouth.

green dental dam on tooth

With that being said, most cases of endodontic treatment are generally root canal treatments. During a root canal treatment, Dr. Lee will gently drill into your tooth to access the pulp layer. He will then remove the infected tissue and thoroughly clean the pulp chamber and root canals. Once the chamber and root canals have been cleaned, he will fill the remaining space with a rubber-like dental material called gutta percha. This will provide additional support to the tooth. The final step is to restore the remaining tooth structure with a dental crown.


Will I need to follow any special guidelines after endodontic treatment?


Depending on the type and extent of the endodontic treatment you received, you may be provided with special guidelines to follow post-treatment. These guidelines can vary depending on the treatment, however they usually pertain to keeping the treatment site clean, temporary diet modifications, taking antibiotics or pain medications, and returning for post-op care or permanent restoration placement. Prior to your endodontic procedure, our office will supply you with any post-treatment guidelines.


What is the cost of endodontic treatment?


The cost of your endodontic treatment will vary depending on the type and extent of treatment, restoration method, and the location of the affected tooth. The Consumer Guide to Dentistry estimates that root canal therapy is approximately $600-$900, pulp removal is about $150, and endodontic surgery can range from $550-$700.


If you have dental insurance, most insurance plans will offer partial coverage for restorative procedures, such as root canals. However the total amount of coverage will depend upon the type of dental insurance plan you currently have. Before undergoing endodontic treatment, our office will work with your insurance company to determine your level of coverage.


For a qualified, experienced, and caring approach to endodontics, schedule a consultation with one of our dentists at our Ferndale Bethesda Family Dentistry office in Bethesda.