Dr. Burr Bakke isn’t afraid to think outside the box.
As a dental implantologist for World Class Dentistry, a patient-centered cosmetic and implant reconstruction dental practice in Sarasota, Dr. Bakke prides himself on providing the highest level of patient care, which means he’s constantly exploring the latest surgical techniques and cutting-edge technological advances.
He isn’t afraid to learn new approaches to dental medicine in hopes of further advancing the profession — a practice Dr. Bakke learned from watching his mentors in the surgical field. But that ‘have no-fear, take-charge attitude’ isn’t something Dr. Bakke picked up in dental school. Rather it’s a trait Dr. Bakke discovered in high school while skiing professionally in Canada.
Dr. Bakke has two things he enjoys the most: changing his patients’ lives by helping them eat and smile again, and the exhilaration and freedom of snow skiing.
“I use many pioneering techniques in my surgery and reconstruction procedures,” says Dr. Bakke, who co-owns World Class Dentistry with his wife Dr. Jill Morris. “Snow skiing taught me to have the courage to advance my skills and achievements.”
A native of San Antonio, Dr. Bakke was in seventh grade when he traded his linen short sleeve shirts and flip flops for parkas and snow boots after his family moved to Canada. Dr. Bakke and his younger brother, Rick, didn’t know what to expect when they arrived in Canada, but it didn’t take long for the two brothers to feel the effects of their new hometown.
“When we left Texas it was 80 degrees and when we arrived in Calgary it was 30 below zero,” says Dr. Bakke.
Shortly after arriving in Canada, Dr. Bakke’s parents rented a cabin in one of Canada’s most popular resort towns known for its mountainous surroundings and outdoor sports. School quickly became an afterthought as Dr. Bakke and his brother spent that first week strictly learning about snow.
Having spent ample time water skiing in Texas, the two brothers took three ski lessons, learning how to snow plow, turn and get on and off the lift, before deciding they were more than ready to take off on their own.
“My brother and I loved it from that point on,” says Dr. Bakke. “We skied as much as we could until I got my driver’s license and then we skied even more. It was a great childhood.”
Before long, Dr. Bakke, his brother and some of their friends were ready for a new challenge. They had mastered Banff’s peaks and were ready for something more extreme. They began seeking out snow chutes and glaciers and attempting new jumps and daring feats.
“A few of us were crazy enough to start doing flips on skis,” says Dr. Bakke. “We were doing extreme skiing before they had extreme skiing. Doing stuff other people couldn’t do was always fun.”
Dr. Bakke’s parents always wanted their sons to find their own way in life; so at the age of 16, Dr. Bakke began skiing professionally. He spent the next two years gaining sponsorships from different ski companies and traveling around Canada competing. He even was featured in a local ski movie doing two-and-one-half front flips off a large cliff.
In addition to skiing competitively, Dr. Bakke also taught ski lessons at Banff and helped run the resort’s first freestyle camp, teaching aerial jumps, moguls and ski ballet to children. One of those children Dr. Bakke helped teach how to ski and do flips was Peter Judge, who went on to represent Canada at several Olympic Winter Games – both as a coach and team leader. Judge also earned a spot in the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame.
“You’re basically out in the mountains, and it’s an incredible freedom,” says Dr. Bakke. “Nothing I’ve incurred has been as exhilarating as skiing off a 100-foot cliff and landing in the snow. You always learn something skiing.”
Dr. Bakke quit competing professionally after enrolling at the University of Alberta. “I decided to get serious about making good grades so I could go back to Texas to attend Baylor Dental School in Dallas,” he said. “Even though I’ve given up doing any extreme skiing due to family and professional responsibilities, I still love to make it to the mountains once a year to ski.”