Michelle Schaeffer, DDS, MPH

Diplomate, American Board of Endodontics

Dr.MichelleSchaefferDr. Michelle Schaeffer grew up in Belmond, Iowa, and then attended the University of Iowa for undergraduate and dental school. Dr. Schaeffer graduated from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry in 1992.

After graduating from dental school, she completed a general practice residency in Iowa City followed by a general practice fellowship. She and her family moved to Ankeny, Iowa, in 1994 where she practiced as a general dentist. In 1998, Dr. Schaeffer moved to Boston, Massachusetts, for three years to attend the Harvard School of Dental Medicine for her specialty training in Endodontics.

During this same time, she attended the Harvard School of Public Health to complete a Master’s of Public Health degree with a concentration in health care administration.

She returned to Iowa in 2001 when she joined Endodontics, P.C. in West Des Moines, Iowa. During this time she published an endodontic research paper in the Journal of Endodontics based on research she conducted at Harvard. She also completed the rigorous process to become board certified by the American Board of Endodontics, an accomplishment only achieved by less than 33% of endodontists.

In February 2007, she opened her own practice, Iowa Endodontics, P.C., in Ankeny, Iowa, where she resides. She is an adjunct faculty member in the endodontic clinic at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. Her passion of dentistry has rubbed off on her two children who are both dental students at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. She is a member of the Ankeny First United Methodist Church. She enjoys spending time with her family, running 5K races, and baking.


Dr. Schaeffer is board certified by the American Board of Endodontics. This is a significant accomplishment achieved by less than 20% of endodontists. The board certification process takes anywhere from 4-10 years to complete and is only available to individuals who have completed an accredited Endodontic residency program. This rigorous process is divided into three parts:

The first part is a written test requiring advanced knowledge in anatomy, biochemistry, embryology, general and oral pathology, microanatomy, immunology, inflammation, microbiology, pharmacology, vascular and neurophysiology, pulpal and periradicular pathophysiology, radiology, oral medicine, biostatistics, clinical endodontics, dental materials related to endodontics, related dental disciplines, and classic and current literature.

The second part is comprised of submitting examples of actual cases of treated patients showing practical knowledge and clinical expertise in all areas of endodontics. These cases are then judged by a panel of experts to determine if the individual displays proficiency in each of the specified categories. The diversity and complexity of the cases must thoroughly document exceptional knowledge, skill, and expertise in the specialty of endodontics.

The third part is an oral exam in front of six directors from the American Board of Endodontics. During this exam questions are asked regarding the full scope of endodontics with emphasis on problem solving, decision making, and abilities to analyze and evaluate clinical cases. The examination requires demonstrating the ability to apply the basic and applied sciences to justify diagnostic and treatment decisions, formulate primary and secondary treatment plans, design clinical studies, assess short- and long-term outcomes of patient care, and alter patient management approaches due to systemic or local pathologic conditions.

Upon completion of all three parts, a certificate and pin are awarded in a special ceremony at the annual meeting of the American Association of Endodontists. This represents the pinnacle of achievement in the endodontic community.