If anyone defines the American Dream, it’s Dr. Jill Morris of World Class Dentistry. A child of economic hardship, Dr. Morris worked hard at school, devised lofty goals for herself, and pursued them relentlessly. Today, her practice with her husband Dr. Burr Bakke has an international reputation, and all three of her children, Cameron, Kelton and Sydney, are following in her footsteps.
“It's so exciting to have my children join the practice,” Dr. Morris explains. “I didn’t encourage any of them to go into dentistry, they chose it. Working with them has renewed my purpose. Now they will continue my legacy and take it much further.”
Dr. Morris was born in rural Indiana and at age 12 had to chose which of her parents she would live with. Given to caring for people, she chose to relocate with her mother to Arcadia, where they lived in hardship.
“I chose her because I felt someone needed to keep an eye on her,” Dr. Morris says.
On the advice of a friend’s family, Dr. Morris decided to attend the University of Florida dental school at a time when almost no women were practicing in the field. She saw dentistry as a way to have a stable career that would allow her to give her own children everything she herself had had to go without. Entering the job market after graduation, however, she discovered a world that was in many ways closed to her.
“I came to Sarasota to look for a job at a dentist’s office because my grandmother lived here,” Dr. Morris says. “I went to interviews and nobody would hire me. It was just so unusual for a woman to be in the profession. After six months, my dad found a retiring dentist in Bradenton who was ready to sell his practice. I was terrified, but my dad said, ‘You can do it, Jill.’ It was 1986 and I could not get a loan. My fellow dentists who were male could get loans, but I couldn’t. My dad put up the collateral, and suddenly I was the only female dentist in Bradenton. My patients were shocked.”
As she had done all through her life, Dr. Morris pressed forward. Unable to socialize on the golf course with the other local young dentists because their wives were jealous, Dr. Morris poured herself into her work and continuing her education, always learning new skills, treatments and specialties. Today, her World Class Dentistry is our region’s headquarters for life-changing restorative cosmetic, implant, and laser dentistry.
World Class Dentistry’s state-of-the-art facilities and on-site labs eliminate the need to visit multiple locations to receive care. Dr. Morris is one of only 450 dentists accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, is a fellow of the International Academy of Dental Facial Esthetics, entered the Dental Hall of Fame in 2000, and trains dentists and other health care professionals in cosmetic dentistry, neuromuscular dentistry, full mouth reconstruction, facial and dental lasers, Botox®, and dermal fillers. She is also holistically certified in the safe removal of mercury fillings. Dr. Bakke does implants, sinus grafts, bone grafts, gum surgeries, and restores implants to correct neuromuscular bite position. World Class Dentistry also offers nonsurgical face-lifts, anti-aging treatments and skincare, and All-on-4 dental implants.
“I am so driven to keep learning to offer the best for my patients,” Dr. Morris says. “I’m turning 60 and feel 40. I worked until the day of delivery with all my children. Now, my oldest becomes a dentist in June, my daughter starts dental school in July, and my younger son runs our dental lab. We all love what we do and we care about our patients.”
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