Implant Dentistry and Periodontics - Michael D. Edwards, DDS, MSD
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Serving Fisher and Indianapolis since 1998

Becoming a Periodontist

Dr EdwardsAs a periodontist, Dr. Edwards specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease, as well as the placement of dental implants. General dentists commonly refer patients to periodontists when they experience complicated problems, including moderate to severe gum disease, gingivitis, missing teeth, or bone loss. Periodontists are qualified to perform advanced procedures to treat these conditions, including osseous surgery, scaling and root planing, crown lengthening, tissue grafting, bone grafting, and ridge augmentations. To become a periodontist, a person needs to earn a doctoral degree in dentistry or dental surgery, followed by years of specialized training. All this specialized knowledge is put to use serving you when you visit Implant Dentistry and Periodontics.

Undergraduate Work

Before potential dentists can be accepted to dental school, they must complete high school and a four-year Bachelor’s degree. This is the foundation for the kind of scientific education a dentist needs in order to be successful in dental school and beyond.

During this time, prospective dentists are encouraged to participate in volunteer work, develop strong leadership skills, and take opportunities to learn more about the dental field. Prospective dentists should also start preparing for the DAT or Dental Admission Test and receive a score that is high enough to be accepted to a dental school.

Dental School

All dental schools are competitive, but some are much more competitive than others, with requirements regarding prospective students’ undergraduate work and a litany of other standards which can range from community involvement to volunteer hours in actual dental practices.

After being admitted to a dental school, students receive a rigorous dental training that spans four years. The coursework in dental school is scientifically driven, based on dental anatomy and dentistry techniques. Towards the end of dental school, students start focusing more on hands-on training to hone their skills under the supervision of certified dentists. Upon graduating from dental school, students can start applying for residency programs.


Because the field of periodontology is incredibly competitive, dental school students typically need to maintain a network of periodontists as contacts so that they have the chance to complete a residency after graduation. Periodontal residencies range between 30 to 36 months, and are often offered by universities, hospitals, or private medical offices. To apply for a postdoctoral periodontal program, students must submit their board exam scores, their dental degree, their transcripts, their letters of recommendation, and a portfolio of their work. The American Academy of Periodontology recommends that professional residency programs only accept students that are in the 50th percentile of their already highly qualified class.


After their periodontal residency is complete, periodontists need to be licenced by completing a series of written and practical exams. Every state has its own licensing board that dictates who can become a periodontist. After this basic licencing, periodontists also have the option of becoming board certified through the American Board of Periodontology.

Periodontists are uniquely qualified to care for complex problems with the supporting structures of your teeth. Dr. Edwards, a certified periodontist in Indianapolis, looks forward to helping you with your smile.  Contact our office today for an appointment!

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