The Children's Dental Center opened in Fishers, Indiana in March of 2007. We are located minutes from I-69 and are easily accessible by residents of Central Indiana, including the areas of Indianapolis, Noblesville, and Carmel.
Michelle H. Edwards, DDS
For Dr. Michelle Edwards, pediatric dentistry is about more than dental health; it’s about creating a pleasant visit to the dental office promoting an establishment of trust and confidence in children that will last a lifetime. “My position is to help build a dental home, valuing prevention, early detection and treatment of dental disease in children,” she says.
Dr. Edwards grew up in Munster, IN, around multiple family members who worked in medical and dental fields. She attended University of South Carolina to attain a BA in psychology, and completed a 2-year hospital residency and obtained her Master’s degree in Pediatric Dentistry from Indiana University at the Riley Hospital for Children in 2003, after which she served as an associate at a dental office on the south side of Indianapolis before deciding to start her own pediatric practice.
As a child, Dr. Edwards remembers trips to the dentist as unpleasant. “Our dentist was a big, unfriendly man with large hands,” she says. “I didn’t like going to the dentist at all. My goal with my own practice is to make it as place where children, even if they come in with fears or a nervous feeling, can leave with a smile on their face and anticipation of their next visit.” Her patients and their parents affectionately call her “Dr. Michelle.”
In professional circles, Dr. Edwards holds a Diplomate fromThe American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, is a Fellow Member of The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and a member of both the American Dental Association and the Indiana Society of Pediatric Dentistry.
When she isn’t making her dental office more fun than the local Chuckie Cheese (according to a pint sized patient), Dr. Edwards is spending time with her periodontist husband, Michael and their three children at their Indianapolis home. The family enjoys playing golf together, fishing, sitting on the beach, and movie nights.
Rebecca Rafla, DMD
Dr. Rebecca Rafla is from Louisville, KY but has found a new home right here in Indianapolis. She attended Samford University in Birmingham, AL where she obtained a BS in music, and she received her DMD at the University of Kentucky. She is currently finishing up a 2-year residency and Master's degree in Pediatric Dentistry from Indiana University at Riley Hospital for Children and is thrilled to be joining Dr. Michelle and the CDC team.
Dr. Rafla is a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, and the Indiana Dental Association.
Dr. Rafla has always loved working with children in any setting, but her greatest passion is offering children and adolescents a fun, safe, and educational experience at the dentist. She believes in providing compassionate care for all of her patients and their families. "I desire to create lasting relationships with my patients and their parents by listening to their unique goals and working together to achieve them," she says. Dr. Rafla wants everyone to love going to the dentist!
In her free time, Dr. Rafla enjoys performing jazz around the Indianapolis area, investing in her church, and trying out new restaurants. She loves to host friends and family and is always looking for a new recipe to share!
Meet the Team
As Dental Assistant & Team Coordinator at Children’s Dental Center, Ashley Thurman helps train new employees, keep the daily patient flow at maximum efficiency, coordinate community events, schedule general anesthesia cases and assist Dr. Michelle in the operating room with anesthesia patients. In addition, she takes charge of the insurance department, office protocols, and the office’s marketing efforts!
Ashley grew up in New Castle, IN. She graduated from Shenandoah High School in 2007, and dedicated her spare time senior year to attending the school’s vocational course for Dental Assisting. “I had braces when I was 10,” she remembers, “and just fell in love with dentistry!” After graduation, Ashley continued her education with Ivy Tech's Expanded Functions Dental Assisting Program and Coronal Polishing and Caries Prevention Course, and became CPR and Radiology Certified. “I have always been fascinated with teeth and educating people to have proper dental hygiene,” Ashley said.
Ashley has been with Children's Dental Center since 2008 and feels like her workplace is a second home. “I love the caring atmosphere provided for our patients, as well as each other,” she comments, adding, “We believe in going above and beyond for our patients to ensure a happy and healthy visit, and that’s the best part of my job!” This extends to Ashley’s visits to preschools, where she makes presentations about oral health. The family-focused CDC philosophy has become a mantra Ashley loves. “If I wouldn’t do it to my child, I won’t do it to yours!”
When she isn’t working, Ashley spends time with her boyfriend Jon and her Wheaten Terriers, Manny and Maeve. She enjoys going to wineries or dropping in for Taco Tuesday at Friaco’s. She is proud of the home she owns in Noblesville, IN, but her idea of a perfect year is to move to Maine, run a bed and breakfast, eat seafood every day and learn to sail.
Debra, Dental Assistant
For Business and Dental Assistant Debra Murdock, the Children’s Dental Center is a place she can use all of her talents. She is a certified dental assistant with a radiology license who can assist with procedures as needed, but spends most of her time behind the front desk interacting with patients and their parents.
A Fort Wayne, IN, native, Debra has lived in Fishers for the better part of the past 15 years. Her Bachelor's degree is in General Studies from Indiana University, but she says she had a strong desire to work with families and knew an instructor at Dental Office Training by Lynn, where she ended up studying dental assisting.
“I have a great deal of experience communicating with children and relating to parents,” Debra comments, pointing to years as a single mom, a substitute teacher, and a school volunteer. “When I was young, we didn’t have the benefit of a pediatric dental specialist, so I admit dental visits were anxiety filled. My kids love coming here, and the most rewarding part of my job is seeing all the children who have had a happy dental experience and are looking forward to coming back to see us again!”
When she’s not wearing double hats at work, Debra can be found at home with her three children: Regan, 15, Keely, 13, and Nolan, 11. They also have two rescue dogs, adopted from Alliance for Responsible Pet Ownership, which the family supports as their chosen charity. The foursome loves to travel, are planning an extended mid-western US trip, and hope someday to tour Europe, specifically Italy and Scotland.
Jennifer, Licensed Dental Hygienist
Jennifer has been around dentistry for as long as she can remember. She grew up in Fishers, Indiana and her father was a dentist. Like him, Jen has always been interested in the profession. At Children’s Dental Center she enjoys providing her young patients with a positive experience and educating them on the benefits of sound dental hygiene. Helping to instill a desire in her patients to take good care of their teeth and mouth is also a challenge Jen willingly takes on.
Jen earned a Bachelors of Art from Depauw University and her Associates in Science from Indiana University School of Dentistry. As a Registered Dental Hygienist she takes X-rays, seals and polishes patient’s teeth, and she educates the children about how to best care for their teeth. Jen has over 25 years of experience as a Dental Hygienist and truly finds pleasure spending her day with patients and working alongside the amazing team at Children’s Dental Center.
When Jen is away from her Children’s Dental Center family she enjoys spending time outdoors walking her dog and seeing her own family including her two daughters, dog and extended family and friends. The Monon Trail is her favorite local place to visit. Jen’s interests also include reading, fitness classes, studying the Bible, and running. And finally, if the Chicago Cubs are playing—Jen’s rooting them on!
Richmond native Melissa says she loves seeing the smiles on kids’ faces when she comes to work every day!
She has been working in dentistry for the last 17 years after graduating from the Professional Careers Institute’s dental assistant program in 2002 and from Colorado Tech with an associate’s degree in 2012. She decided to study dentistry after remembering her positive experiences with dental visits growing up.
In her role at Children’s Dental Center, Melissa assists our dentists chairside, performing expanded dental functions such as placing fillings, crowns and spacers. She loves her job, saying “I love working with my team and doing what I love every day. I have a passion for helping people.”
When she’s not assisting our dentists, Melissa enjoys spending time with her son and daughter and says her kids are her greatest achievement. She also loves to watch football and take motorcycle rides. When asked whom she most admires, she says: “My mother, because she did so much for me and my sister as a single parent.”
Samantha’s duties at Children’s Dental Center and Indy Implants are many as an expanded functions dental assistant. On any given day, she may be educating patients on dental health, performing operative procedures, polishing teeth and charting.
A native of Anderson, IN, Samantha graduated high school from Anderson High in 2006. She attended Kaplan College to achieve a Dental Assisting Diploma in 2007, got her radiology license and became certified through Ivy Tech's Expanded Functions Dental Assisting Program and Coronal Polishing and Caries Prevention Course in 2011. Samantha pursued a dental career in response to her own dental journey. “I was always embarrassed about my smile,” Samantha said. “I had braces four times, so I wanted to help others be confident in their smiles.”
Samantha has worked in the dental field since 2007 and says the best part her job is the appreciation for everyone’s hard work and the ability to change the way people view dentistry. “They come in and think something is going to hurt or something bad is going to happen,” Samantha said. “It’s great to show them that the dental office is not a place to be scared of since we are here to help them, not hurt them.” She also enjoys the team driven and family atmosphere amongst the CDC staff.
Samantha currently lives in Anderson, and enjoys spending time with her husband, Ryan, and son, Vance. Her greatest achievement is becoming a mommy to Vance in January of 2017. The family has two “fur babies,” Kane and Gretzky. Samantha enjoys hanging out by the pool with family and friends and says her idea of a perfect weekend includes a Cincinnati Reds game or taking their boat to the lake.
Vicki, Business Assistant
As our business assistant, Vicki completes a variety of tasks to ensure our office runs smoothly. On a day-to-day basis, Vicki schedules appointments, makes confirmation calls, fields patient questions and coordinates the financial needs for Children’s Dental Center.
Vicki is a Huntington, IN native, who graduated with a degree in marketing and distribution management from Indiana University. Vicki wanted to move into the dental field after her previous roles in sales and administration. She said, “As a child, I loved going to the dentist and the feeling of clean teeth.”
Vicki joined our practice in 2016. When it comes to working at Children’s Dental Center, Vicki said she really enjoys the fun atmosphere amongst co-workers and the wonderful, friendly families she sees each day. Residing in Fishers now, Vicki loves relaxing by the pool with a good book and spending time with her family. Vicki and her husband, Jon, are parents to Max (18) and Maddie (16), as well as their black lab, Bonnie (9). She considers her children her greatest achievement and her parents her greatest admiration. “They taught me to be a kind, loving and generous person, regardless of what you receive in return,” Vicki said. Vicki has been a member of the St. Louis de Montfort parish for 19 years.
Kris, Business Assistant
As our business assistant, Kris works to ensure our office runs smoothly every day. Kris greets patients with a friendly smile, schedules appointments, makes confirmation calls, fields patient questions and coordinates the financial needs for Children’s Dental Center. She loves interacting with our patients and their families each day.
Kris is a Carmel, IN native and has lived in Fishers for the past 25 years. She holds a marketing degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Kris is excited to begin a career in the dental industry because it’s a friendly and caring atmosphere, and she has great memories of taking her three children to visit the dentist when they were growing up.
Kris joined our practice in 2019. She enjoys learning new things about the dental industry each day, and that she gets to interact with so many patients and families, as well as her co-workers every day. When not working, Kris enjoys playing tennis, pickleball, traveling, walking her dog Champ, and spending time with her three children (with two daughters and one son, she has a house divided among Indiana and Purdue!). She considers her children her greatest achievement and her mother her greatest admiration.
As an expanded functions dental assistant, Kaci Koons loves the collective team relationship and their ability to work well together at the Children’s Dental Center. Certified Dental Assistant, Kaci, first became interested in the dental industry because her best friend was doing it - and Kaci has loved it ever since.
Her upbeat personality and caring attitude make her the perfect fit for working with the children at the Children’s Dental Center. Residing in Alexandria, IN, Kaci has been working in the dental field for over 13 years.
Not having gone to the dentist until she was 16 years, Kaci understands the importance of regular dental visits and proper oral care - perhaps better than anyone! Her past experience is what motivates her to educate the young patients at the Children’s Dental Center to maintain excellent oral hygiene as a lifelong goal.
In her spare time, you may find Kaci at Starbucks reading a great book. She also enjoys watching her three sons play sports and going camping.
Jennifer, Business Assistant
In Jennifer’s role as the front office assistant at Children’s Dental Center, her favorite part of her job is helping people. When reflecting upon her coworkers, Jennifer shares “everyone here really cares about helping out our patients. We guide them, treat them, and advise them on oral health.”
Jennifer decided to go into the dental profession after seeing how many Spanish speakers needed someone with the same language, culture, and background in dentistry. In speaking a shared language, Jennifer seeks to provide oral health education to the members of the community. Jennifer has an Associate Degree of Applied Science, with a concentration in dental assisting and medical coding.
“I went to school to be an expanded function dental assistant. This front office experience makes me a better, well-rounded employee.” - Jennifer
In her free time, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her parents, brother, and boyfriend of three years. Her greatest achievements include becoming a bilingual medical interpreter while being a student and working part-time in 2017.
As an expanded function dental assistant at Children’s Dental Center, Doug assists the dentist with day-to-day procedures and ensures they’re seeing patients in a timely fashion. Doug says, “we provide the best care possible for a positive dental experience.” Doug helps with this by efficiently handling tasks and always being eager to learn more.
An Indiana native, Doug received his education at Ivy Tech Community College of Anderson, and currently lives in Noblesville. His favorite part about working at Children’s Dental Center is “getting to interact with the smallest of patients who show the greatest amount of courage.”
Doug originally wanted to join the dental profession after learning about teeth in anatomy and physiology classes. “I also have always taken care of my teeth. I had braces for over three and have cared about my oral health.” Today, the best part of his job is the bonds he makes with fellow employees and the relationships he builds over time.
After a negative experience with the dentist as a child, Doug didn’t return to the dentist until he was 15 years old - to have braces put on. This, in part, is what motivates him to give patients the most positive dental experience possible. So that children grow up enjoying their visits to the dentist and being enthusiastic about their oral health.
In his free time, Doug loves camping or relaxing with his boyfriend and two dogs, visiting Indianapolis with his friend Raven, and playing video games. Doug’s greatest achievement is serving in the military, touring in Afghanistan and Kuwait.
Jamie, Licensed Dental Hygienist
Hailing from Jackson, Michigan, Jamie shines smiles and educates patients on dental health as a registered dental hygienist at Children’s Dental Center. With over 23 years of experience in the dental field, Jamie has been interested in dentistry from a young age.
“I always loved science and wanted to help people. A smile is the first thing people notice.”
To Jamie, the best part of her job is making connections, helping kids overcome their fears at the dentist, and watching them become proud of their smiles. “I love easing fears, anxiety, and helping kids overcome sensory and special challenges.” Her favorite part about working at Children’s Dental Center is the friendly and professional staff.
“Everyone works as a team to create a positive experience.”
Jamie earned her associate degree in science at Parkland College, and her bachelor’s degree in health at the University of St. Francis.
When not working, Jamie loves being outside with her boys, Eli (10) and Knox (7), at Hamilton county parks; hiking, playing, and exploring. She also enjoys family dinners, going on “donut dates”, and watching her sons play sports. Her greatest achievements include juggling a career and motherhood as well as create a desensitization program for kids at Children’s Dental Center.
The charitable organizations Jamie’s involved in include Gigi’s Playhouse (Down syndrome achievement), Carter’s Play Place - “play beyond boundaries”, and Best Buddies. Jamie admires all parents who have children with special needs.
Lindsey, Business Assistant
As a business assistant at Children’s Dental Center, Lindsey’s role includes scheduling appointments, coordinating with insurance and patient benefits, and answering patient questions. With over eight years in the dental industry, Lindsey enjoys interacting with families and is passionate about helping children with their oral health needs.
Lindsey’s previous experience as a pre-school teacher and her history of anxiety towards going to the dentist allows her to empathize with young patients and develop their comfort with visiting the dentist.
Lindsey’s perfect weekend includes sitting by the pool with her family; her husband, Joe, of 16 years, and her two boys, Grant (11), and Nolan (8). Lindsey is involved with the Make A Wish Foundation and admires her mother’s unrelenting care for others despite her hardships in life.
Briana, Licensed Dental Hygienist
As a dental hygienist, Briana considers herself an oral health educator and a prophylaxis performer. She loves helping kids and parents learn proper oral care, and working with the friendly doctors and staff at Children’s Dental Center.
“I love working with and interacting with children. I also love helping educate parents.”
Briana studied at Indiana University and earned her associate degree in dental hygiene from Ivy Tech Community College in Anderson.
Originally hailing from Knightstown, Braina now lives in Greenfield with her husband, Justin, and their children, Piper and Hattie. In her free time, Briana enjoys being with her family, swimming, boating, and kayaking. She’s heavily involved in her church, and was a member of Operation Smile at Indiana University.
Indianapolis native, Morgan, has over five years of experience in the dental field. As an Expanded Function Dental Assistant, Morgan assists the dentists in various procedures as well as placing fillings, prepping and polishing teeth, and more.
“A smile is worth a thousand words. I want to help people smile and feel good about their dental health.”
Morgan’s favorite aspects of her job are helping kids overcome their dental fears and “working with the amazing doctors and staff at Children’s Dental Center.”
In her free time, Morgan enjoys relaxing with her husband and friends as well as her dog, Severus. She also spends time reading (and rereading) the Harry Potter book series, hanging out at Spencer Farm Winery in Noblesville, and volunteering with the Pitbull Angel Program at the Hamilton Country Humane Society.