Dr. K.L. Burns was a latecomer into dentistry but, if you spend just a few minutes talking with her, it’s obvious she has found her calling. After completing her undergraduate degree, she was chatting with some colleagues in their mid-to-late 40s who all had stories of regret. Burns was determined not to suffer the same fate. She had always considered dental school, and this was the revelation that pushed her to apply. At the University of Tennessee, Burns was one of the only female students and older than the majority of her classmates, but she was committed to proving herself. Unfortunately, during her second year, she suffered a broken back after being struck in a head-on car accident. She was advised to drop out and return later but she persevered and completed the program. She says it was one of the best things she’s ever done for herself.
Dr. Burns has been a dentist for 15 years. She began her career working in public health, first in Missouri and later in Philadelphia. She was also a member of the Health Service Corp helping in underserved areas. She later moved back to Tennessee to be closer to her family and worked in private practices as an associate dentist. From this experience, she recognized that she wouldn’t be truly happy in her profession until she was working for herself.
The vision for Serenity Smiles first came to Burns 3 years ago but wasn’t actualized until May 2023. She happened across the location on North Thompson Lane by accident after it had been recently vacated by another practitioner. With this office, she was able to see her dreams become reality. The space is very serene with aromatherapy, water features, and soft music. Her passion for helping underserved populations remains. They often have a significant amount of fear surrounding a visit to the dentist but the atmosphere at Serenity Smiles helps put them at ease. Burns says it's not uncommon to have patients fall asleep from being so relaxed. For those with more severe anxiety, nitrous oxide or mild sedation is available. One testimonial reads, “If I could give them unlimited stars I would. The peacefulness that you walk into is amazing!”
Dr. Burns’ top priority is always getting the patient out of pain first. Mrs. Paul shares, “Dr. Burns doesn’t want anyone in pain. She is a gentle soul and you can tell she truly loves her profession!” In addition to cleanings, simple extractions, and root canals, they offer teeth whitening, Fastbraces®, and Botox. Serenity Smiles is also one of the only practices in the area that accepts TennCare. Burns prides her office on providing everyone with a top notch experience no matter what insurance they have. She’s also passionate about taking care of busy moms and women who neglect their own self-care by hosting special events for them each month.
While Dr. K.L. Burns took a non-traditional route to dentistry and starting her own practice, she says it has been quite rewarding. She frequently encourages others to follow their dreams and pursue their own mission in life.
Don’t be afraid to step out on faith and follow your dreams.