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

The History of Dental Implants


history of Dental Implants

In the olden days, losing a tooth might have meant living without the ability to chew or talk properly—or letting an ancient dentist implant a mediocre false tooth made of rock or wood into your mouth. Archeologists have found ancient remains fitted with all different kinds of innovative implants, ranging from pig bone to iron rods.

In fact, bamboo dental implants have been found in the mouths of people who lived 4000 years ago in China, and seashells have been found embedded in ancient skulls of people who lived around the turn of the century in Honduras. In the late 1800’s, doctors had already started experimenting with porcelain teeth mounted onto platinum discs and inserted into the mouth, although these early experiments usually ended in failure.

Osseointegration: an Accidental Discovery

One of the biggest challenges for dentists experimenting with early dental implants was osseointegration failure, or the failure of the implant to fuse to a person’s natural jaw tissue. Fortunately, a solution for this problem was discovered on accident by an osteopaedic surgeon named Per-Ingvar Bränemark in 1952.

Bränemark was studying healing and regeneration in rabbits, and he inserted a titanium post through a rabbit’s leg to see what would happen. To his surprise, the post couldn’t be removed a few weeks later when he tried to take it out. He realized that the bone had integrated with the titanium, and that the technology could be used in dentistry applications. In 1965, Bränemark placed the first dental implant in a live human volunteer.

The Evolution of Modern Dental Implants

Although Per-Ingvar Bränemark is considered the founder of modern dental implants, many technological advancements have made implants better than ever before. New implants used titanium posts with roughened surfaces, which tend to bond better with existing bone tissue. Implants are also much more realistic looking than traditional varieties, and these days, implants are nearly indistinguishable from your natural teeth.

Advancements in porcelain composites and abutments have made implants stronger and more durable than ever before, and periodontists today have a greater understanding of the placement, maintenance, and problems that can occur with implants. In fact, implant dentists in Fishers go to school for an additional three years to learn more about dental implant surgery and protocols. As one of the best periodontists in Fishers, Dr. Edwards can give you the smile of your dreams. Make an appointment for an implant consultation today!

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!

Your Dental Implant Options

dentist and patient looking at x-raysThese days, you don’t have to worry about using an unrealistic denture if you are missing teeth due to an injury or previous tooth decay. Dental implants, which are artificial teeth that are anchored directly into your jaw, are comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, and incredibly durable. Here are a few of the most common types of dental implants, and how Dr. Edwards and Dr. Rajkumar will decide which version is best for your smile.

Endosteal Implants

Endosteal implants are dental implants that are independently inserted into the jawbone itself. Endosteal implants typically require two surgical procedures—one to place the posts and another to add abutments to the posts that will eventually hold the new dental crowns. Endosteal implants are best for patients who have a generally healthy mouth and can commit to an extended dental implant procedural timeline.  

Subperiosteal Implants

Unlike endosteal implants, which each have their own individual post, subperiosteal implants are supported by posts attached to a metal frame that is installed below the gumline. The posts that support the dental crowns protrude through the gumline, and the frame is attached to the jawbone with posts of its own.

Subperiosteal implants work well for patients who don’t have sufficient jawbone width or height to place dental implants. Subperiosteal implants can also be used as part of a single-stage dental implant procedure, helping patients to complete their implant surgery faster than traditional endosteal procedures.

Immediate Load Implants

In certain cases, Dr. Edwards and Dr. Rajkumar might recommend immediate load implants, which are designed to be installed in a single day. During the immediate load implant procedure, the posts or subperiosteal frame is installed and the crowns are attached on the same day. After the surgery, patients will have a smile that looks normal, and they can eat soft foods until their implant locations heal. However, please note that not all patients are candidates for immediate loading, since the gum tissue and jawbone needs to be healthy enough to support the changes.

Make An Appointment Today!

If you are interested in dental implants in Indianapolis, don’t hesitate to contact our office. Dr. Edwards and Dr. Rajkumar will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan to help you to meet your dental goals. Periodontists in Indianapolis receive an additional three years of specialized training regarding the placement and maintenance of dental implants, which is why you should make an appointment with Implant Dentistry and Periodontics today.

Bruxism and Gum Disease

woman grinding teethFeeling stressed out? Dr. Edwards might be able to tell at your next appointment, even if you never mention it. One of the ways stress can manifest itself physically is through teeth grinding, which can have serious consequences for dental health.

Of course, not all people under extreme stress experience bruxism—the technical term for teeth grinding—and not all people who grind their teeth do so because of stress. In fact, many people grind their teeth do so exclusively at night, and it’s completely involuntary. For those who suffer from nighttime bruxism, the reflex nerve control center in the brain switches off, causing the chewing reflex to activate. This puts a lot of stress on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and can cause earaches and headaches.  

Clearly, bruxism is a painful and unpleasant problem in itself, but unfortunately the pressure it puts on the teeth and jaw can cause another problem: gum disease. The constant grinding can loosen teeth and increase the size of the periodontal pockets, where bacteria can collect and irritate gums and underlying bone. These bacteria inflame the gums, leading to pain, swelling, bleeding, and further gum recession. And where periodontal disease already exists, bruxism can greatly accelerate the progression of the disease.  

Besides just contributing to bruxism, stress can actually lead to gum disease as well. Stress compromises the immune system’s ability to fight off disease, making it easier for bacterial infections to creep in. Use of tobacco and alcohol has also been shown to contribute to both periodontal disease and bruxism.

Periodontal disease can be treated relatively easily in its early stages by root planing and scaling (scraping plaque off from where it collects below the gumline), but as it progresses the damage it causes is irreversible. The loss of gum tissue and bone can only be corrected with surgery. That’s why it’s so important to seek prompt treatment if you or your dentist notice symptoms of bruxism. Bruxism is most commonly treated with mouthguards worn during the night to minimize grinding. Once the bruxism is taken care of, gums can be treated for bacterial infection and be given a chance to heal.

For bruxism and gum disease treatment in Indianapolis, don’t wait until the damage is done—schedule an appointment today with Dr. Edwards, your Fishers and Indianapolis periodontist.

The Stages of Gum Disease

woman holding side of mouth in painRecent studies show that nearly 50% of American adults over 30 have gum disease. These findings are astounding, but one of the reasons the number is so high is because many people don’t recognize the early stages of periodontal disease. Gum disease progresses over time, so your moderate case of gum disease can become very severe and compromise the health of your entire mouth. Knowing the different stages of gum disease, along with what symptoms mark each, can help you to recognize and treat the disease early.

Stage I : Gingivitis

The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, and occurs when plaque is allowed to stay on the teeth too long. Plaque is a colorless and sticky film that builds up on your teeth; it is full of bacteria and toxins that can cause infections. When plaque is left alone, it hardens into tartar, which further irritates the gums, leading to gingivitis.

Bleeding gums during flossing or brushing are a sign of gingivitis. During this stage, gum disease can usually be reversed with proper brushing and flossing accompanied with tartar removal.

Stage II : Periodontitis

If left untreated, gingivitis will turn into periodontitis. During this stage, bacteria works its way below your gumline and pockets start to form as your gums pull away from your teeth. These pocket trap food and more plaque, setting the stage for a vicious cycle of worsening infection. Your body’s immune system tries to fight the bacteria, but in the end this response damages the bone and connective tissue even more, and your teeth become loose.

During this stage, your gums continue to be susceptible to bleeding, and may frequently be painful. Once the disease has progressed this far, there is some irreversible damage.

State III : Advanced Periodontitis

Extremely severe gum disease is called advanced periodontitis. This is the final stage of gum disease. At this point, the fiber, bone, and connective tissue supporting your teeth are totally destroyed. Your teeth are likely to shift or loosen, and, even with aggressive treatment, your teeth may still need to be extracted. Missing teeth and advanced gum disease can also affect your bite, the way you speak, and the way you eat.

Don’t let gum disease progress to its advanced stages. During the early stage there are a lot of treatment options including periodontal treatment and LANAP; the health of your mouth can still be fully restored. If you’re looking for gum disease treatment in Fishers or  LANAP in Indianapolis, contact us today. Our team at Implant Dentistry and Periodontics is specially trained at diagnosing and treating gum disease, no matter how far the disease has progressed.

The Dental Implants Process

woman looking in mirrorDental implants are the most successful treatment for tooth loss in dentistry today; they are a fantastic, popular, long-term solution. But they aren’t right for every patient. If you’re considering dental implants in Indianapolis, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the dental implant placement process before you decide that it is right for you. Knowing what to expect can help you to decide whether or not you want implants. Whatever you decide, our specialized team of experts at Implant Dentistry and Periodontics is here to answer questions and help you find the right care plan for your situation and needs.

Traditional Placement Procedure

The first step to getting dental implants is to meet with our professional team at Implant Dentistry and Periodontics. We’ll perform an initial exam, including X-rays and teeth impressions in order to see the status of your mouth. Then we will work to develop your personalized care plan. Getting dental implants doesn’t look exactly the same for everyone, but we will help you to know what you can expect, how long each procedure will take, and how long recovery should be.

Generally, if you have enough bone, you’ll get the implants during your first procedure. This is an oral surgery and is done under anesthesia. The implants are titanium posts which are attached to either the upper or lower jawbone. Our periodontist will make a small incision in your gum where the implant will be placed. In order to place the implant into the bone, a hole will be drilled in your jawbone. The implant is placed in the small hole, and the incision is stitched closed.  You’ll then need to wait 4-7 months while the bone and the implant post fuse together.

During your second procedure, and abutment will be attached to you implant. This procedure can happen after your bone has fused with the implant; we’ll know by X-ray when this is the case. The second procedure is less complex than the first procedure. Again, an incision will be made in your gums in order to expose the tops of the implant posts. An abutment is screwed to the titanium posts. An abutment can be made from many different materials; it serves as the important connector between post and prosthetic crown. Once the abutment is in place, the restoration, or crown can be cemented or otherwise attached to the abutment. Until it is time to place your customized crown, (usually four to six weeks after the second procedure), a temporary crown will be in place.

Bone Grafts

It’s important to know that dental implants can only be placed if your jawbone has enough mass and density to support the implant root, so getting implants as soon as possible after you’ve experienced tooth loss will increase the likelihood that you’ll be able to get dental implants. The longer you wait for treatment, the more invasive the procedure will likely be, and you may need a bone graft procedure before implants can be placed. Bone grafting is a common way to build up the bone in your jaw. Bone from another source is added to your jawbone in a surgical procedure before the implants are placed.

It’s important to remember that this is just a traditional timeline for dental implants. In many cases, steps can be combined in order to reduce the number of visits a patient needs. We’ll be happy to discuss exactly what the process might entail for you during your initial exam. If you need an implant dentist in Indianapolis, our premier team will work hard to help you feel comfortable during every step of the process. Give us a call today or visit our website to schedule an appointment today!

LANAP versus LAPIP: What’s the Difference?

Laser Dentistry conversationPeriodontal disease, or gum disease, is the result of infection in the gums. Many factors can contribute to the development of infection, including poor dental hygiene, dry mouth, smoking, genetic factors, and more. This disease can wear down the gums and jawbone until eventually, your teeth may fall out.

In the same way that periodontal disease can develop around natural teeth, peri-implantis is an infection in the gums surrounding dental implants. Both conditions can lead to swollen gums, severe discomfort, bleeding, tooth loss, and more. To treat these issues, Dr. Edwards at Implant Dentistry and Periodontics uses the advanced laser procedures LANAP and LAPIP.

LANAP: Treatment for gum disease around natural teeth

When gum disease develops around one’s natural teeth, LANAP can be used to eradicate bacteria and infected tissue and encourage the reconnection of gum tissue. In this procedure, a variable-pulsed laser emits 7 vibrations that all affect the gums in different ways. This treatment restores gum health without the need for surgery and stitches.

LAPIP: Treatment for gum disease around dental implants

In the LAPIP procedure, the goal is much the same: to remove bacteria and diseased tissue so the healthy tissue can regenerate. The major difference between LAPIP and LANAP is the way the gums and bone are connected to the teeth.

Benefits of Laser Treatments:

Our laser gum treatment in Indianapolis has been described as one of the best and has provided countless patients with healing benefits unlike any other procedure, including:

  • Relief of pain
  • Preservation of prior dental work
  • Protection of healthy tissue
  • Gum tissue regeneration
  • Minimal invasiveness
  • Fast healing times
  • Reduced risk of infection

If you’re suffering from the effects of gum disease, contact Dr. Edwards. We’ll help your gums back to health and protect your teeth–and implants!–from potential loss.

Sinus Augmentation: Who, What, and How?

older man in dentist chairIf you’re planning to get dental implants, you’re probably eager to get your beautiful smile back right away. But for some candidates for dental implants, there’s another step that has to come first: sinus augmentation.

Who needs sinus augmentation?

A dental implant candidate who does not have sufficient bone mass in the upper jaw may need a sinus lift. There are many possible causes for bone loss: for one, many people who have lost their upper teeth sometimes suffer from insufficient bone mass in the jaw, since bone becomes reabsorbed into the body when teeth are missing. Sometimes gum disease can also spread and lead to bone loss in the jaw. For others, the sinuses may naturally be too large or too close to the upper jaw, as each person’s sinuses are different. Sinuses may get larger with age.

What is sinus augmentation?

Sinus augmentation (also known as sinus lift) raises the sinus floor and grafts bone into your upper jaw area near the molars. This ensures that there is enough bone mass in your upper jaw for implants to be placed securely. Once the sinuses are lifted out of the way, the bone is added between your jaw and the sinuses on either side of your nose.

How does sinus augmentation work?

Sinus augmentation can be performed by an oral surgeon, a maxillofacial surgeon, or a periodontist. The doctor will first diagnose the problem using an x-ray, and measure the existing bone in preparation for the surgery. During surgery, the doctor will open the gum tissue in the upper back jaw to expose the bone and cut a small window in the bone. Through this hole, the membrane that surrounds the sinus is pushed up from the jaw. Bone graft material is then added into the space where the sinus used to be. Once the bone graft is placed, the opening is stitched up and allowed to heal.

Before implants can be placed, the bone graft needs time to meld with the natural bone. This usually takes four to twelve months depending on the amount of bone grafted. Sinus augmentation has a very high success rate and most patients report little discomfort during and after the surgery. And most important, it can vastly increase your chances of successful dental implants that can last a lifetime!

Looking for someone knowledgeable about sinus lift and dental implants in Indianapolis? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Edwards today.

How Preventive Cleanings Benefit You

Professional cleanings and daily oral hygiene are both necessary for the best dental health.A lot of people question whether or not to visit Dr. Edwards twice a year. Is it really necessary to have your teeth professionally cleaned, especially if you’re already following a good oral health routine on your own?

The answer to that question is yes, because preventive cleanings are deeply important to your overall oral health. And according to numerous studies, your oral health has a direct correlation on the health of the rest of your body. Poor oral health can contribute to issues like gum disease, tooth loss, and even different types of cancer. So let’s take a look at why regular visits to your dentist can help you so much.

Helps you stay on top of any problems

Millions of Americans suffer from periodontitis, or gum disease. For some the disease is mostly genetic, while others develop it due to poor oral hygiene. Gum disease can lead to mouth cancer, heart issues, hearing loss, and even pancreatic cancer, but regular visits to your dentist can help you prevent this very serious problem.

If you are suffering from any symptoms of gum disease, you should see your local Indianapolis periodontist immediately. As a periodontist, Dr. Edwards is specially trained to help you win the fight against periodontitis. Visiting us is imperative if you start to experience red, swollen gums that bleed easily – especially if you have a family history of gum disease. If that’s the case, regular visits to your periodontist in Fishers are highly recommended in order to stay abreast of any potential problems. If you’re lucky, we’ll even catch the problem before you do—before your periodontal disease starts to get serious.

Tartar removal

While you can remove plaque and bacteria at home with regular flossing and brushing, you can’t remove tartar on your own due to its hardness. That’s just one reason why regular visits to your dentist are important. We use a process called dental scaling to remove tartar from your teeth. After the scaling has been done, we can also polish your teeth to give them a smooth surface and an extra shine.

While it may seem inconvenient to schedule regular dental visits, it’s imperative if you want to stay on top of any potential dental issues. From detecting cavities before their effects can be felt to tartar removal, regular visits to our office are a must for anyone looking to maintain optimum oral health. Request an appointment today!

The Pinhole Surgical Technique

Man smiling after teet cleaningThe pinhole surgical technique is a way to repair gum recession by the least invasive means possible. This is done by shifting gum tissue around through the smallest possible incision to stabilize the weakened gums with little pain and a short healing time. Take a moment to see how it compares to traditional gum surgery.

Pinhole Surgical Technique vs. Traditional Gum Surgery

Traditional gum surgery involves cutting and suturing the gum tissue into the desired configuration, occasionally using grafted tissue from other areas of the mouth. Although this is an effective treatment for receding gums, it has the disadvantage of requiring incisions and sutures which take time to heal. Updated methods such as the pinhole surgical technique offer advantages including:

  • Minimal discomfort: The pinhole surgical technique causes little discomfort due to the minimal invasiveness of the procedure. The gum tissue is shifted gently into place without any unnecessary damage.
  • Quick recovery time: patients often find themselves able to eat and drink normally shortly after surgery, and can expect their gums to be fully healed much more quickly than with traditional surgery.
  • Instant aesthetic improvement: Because the pinhole surgical technique requires only one tiny incision hidden high on your gumline, you’ll be able to see the finished results right after your procedure, instead of waiting for your gums to heal first.

Does Pinhole Surgery Require Specialized Training?

Since the pinhole surgical technique is a more recent development in the field of dentistry, the number of periodontists trained in it is limited. To receive the training and skills necessary to perform the pinhole surgical technique, a periodontist has to complete a continuing education program. Due to the scarcity of qualified trainers, it can be difficult to find a skilled periodontist familiar with the surgery, which is why Implant Dentistry and Periodontics is so proud to offer this unique service to our patients as an answer to gum disease and recession.

Make an Appointment with Dr. Edwards

Gum recession can be solved with a minimum of pain and inconvenience thanks to the pinhole surgical technique, a revolutionary development within the field of periodontics. To make an appointment with Dr. Edwards, your Indianapolis periodontist at Implant Dentistry and Periodontics, you can schedule online or by phone. If you have any questions regarding the pinhole surgical technique or want to learn about other services we offer, please feel free to contact us at your convenience.