When Dr. Skeet Burris was in his 40’s, he assumed he would retire at 55. He worked hard, made sound financial decisions and reached the age of vocation retreat when he realized he was nowhere near the age of giving up the daily operation of his practice, Winning Orthodontic Smiles. He continues more aggressively and enthusiastically today than ever before.
Dr. Burris earned his Doctor of Dental surgery degree and graduated as Valedictorian from University of Tennessee, Memphis. While in Dental School, Dr. Burris joined the United States Navy and after graduating, he spent two and a half years as a dental officer at Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot; he returned to the University of Tennessee Memphis and completed his residency in orthodontics and served as a Navy Reserve dental Officer at the Navy Recruiting Center in Memphis.
He missed the Lowcountry terribly. While at Parris Island, Dr. Burris and his wife, Gail came to love the woods, water, wildlife and recreation of coastal South Carolina, ironically four words widely recognized across the country on the American Tree Farm System’s green and white diamond shaped signs that tell the story of sustainable forestry, which is also another passion of Dr. Burris.
It seems Dr. Burris has come full circle in his journey to live and work in the Lowcountry. Determined to come back here against the advisement of dental consultants, Dr. Burris fought the odds and began a referral practice in Beaufort County with only four dentists North of the Broad and one in Hilton Head.
That was in 1972. Today there are 24 dentists, three oral surgeons, two endodontists, and one Pediatrics Dentist, just in Beaufort. And since Dr. Burris relies on referrals, he makes it priority to understand the goals of each patient and their dentist. And area dentists know their patients will be well taken care of and be given quality results with Dr. Burris.
“I believe I am part of a dental team community. I am blessed to have been able to grow with Beaufort,” explains Dr. Burris.
“ What separates us from the other Orthodontic practices is our stability and caring and compassionate staff. All of our assistants are certified in Orthodontics and Radiology. The way we treat folks matters. When you’re in our environment, we want you to feel comfortable.”
And that sentiment is echoed by Jan Goude, the Scheduling Coordinator with the practice for 24 years (in fact, she’s retired twice and come back). She says, “When you walk in, you’re a visitor. When you leave, you’re part of our family.”
There is a definite sense of communal enthusiasm in the office. Each and every employee I met thoroughly enjoyed their profession. They get caught up in the excitement of developing winning smiles and radiate their positive energy to their patients.
Gould explains, “We are building a person’s self esteem. There is nothing more rewarding than that.”
I can attest. When my braces came of at eighteen, I walked into the high school cafeteria and people took notice when I smiled. It was something I’d never felt before. Once embarrassed by crooked teeth and a noticeable overbite, I was now comfortable with my appearance.
And thousands of Dr. Burris’ patients are equally as grateful. Dr. Burris can take mismatched bones in the face and crooked eruption of teeth and turn them into works of art. The mouth is truly his canvas.
And it’s necessary for patients to seek consultation sooner than later. If children are still pre-pubescent, they have time to allow orthopedic braces to correct the problem. After puberty, oral surgery is required, which becomes more costly. Responsible parents should ask their dentists which orthodontist is best suited to treat the child’s condition. In most cases, it is Dr. Burris at Winning Orthodontic Smiles.
And gone are the days of payment in full. Dr. Burris’ practice has a multitude of payment plans suited for all types of families. Minimal down payments are necessary, and the result is life changing.
Dr. Burris is more than an Orthodontist. Fortunately his practice has given him the financial opportunity to practice and teach forest conservation. He is a steward of our Lowcountry and was given the Environmental Awareness Award in 2003 from Governor Mark Sanford. He is also a SC Forestry Commissioner.
His love of the land, humble approach to life and dedication to his profession has given Dr. Burris reason to persevere. His passion is contagious, whether it is about timber, religion or braces. When he speaks, you’ll listen and more importantly, learn.
He and his wife, Gail and their five sons have built a reputation of giving back. The family’s generosity over the years has been recognized statewide and nationally. But perhaps, there are no other people more thankful than Dr. Burrris’ patients. His infamous “Wall of Smiles” indicates the ultimate sign of appreciation…genuine smiles radiating through the picture frame, each thanking Dr. Burris and his staff.
Dr. Burris isn’t quitting any time soon. “My goal is to produce quality Orthodontic care to patients. When I am no longer blessed with the abilty to judge a dental scenario, I will retire.” For now, he will still produce winning smiles and continue to practice as part of Beaufort’s dental community team.