Tesa Harris Jolly, D.D.S.

Tessa Harris Jolly, D.D.S.My name is Dr. Tesa Jolly, Dds of Dr. Tesa Family Dentistry in Pulaski, TN. I’m 37 years old. I’ve been in practice for 11 years. I’m honored to be the 2019 Lucy B. Hobbs awardee for Humanitarianism.

Since 11th grade, I knew I wanted to be a dentist. I attribute it to my love of science, my interest in public health and all the orthodontics I experienced growing up. (The dentist who treated me for overbite and over- jet also cared for me when I knocked a tooth loose on my first bicycle ride. He also mentored me as an undergraduate and young dental student.

As soon as I left my small, rural hometown, I knew I wanted to return someday. After dental school, I married and had a child. My plan was to practice part time with a local dentist who was nearing retirement. Within 6 months, that dentist died unexpectedly and I became a practice owner. For navigating this monumental change in responsibility with success, I was a cover story on The New Dentist Magazine.

I soon noticed that my office was filled with caring women, who loved their community and their work. I’d had experience at a Free and Reduced Fees Dental Clinic called the Church Health Center in Memphis and found that I truly had a heart for mission work. We began immediately to plan a Christmas gift to the people of our town called Free Dental Day. Concurrent with this first Free Dental Day was a growing awareness of the dental needs in the Amish community nearby. I developed a passion for educational efforts in the community. As I became familiar to them, they trusted my practice more and more to provide dental care to adults and children. I’ve been paid in cash, in quilts, in produce and in baskets! Sometimes, there is a horse and buggy tied to my office signpost. I’m honored to have earned their confidence.

The first Free Dental Day, in 2008 served 100 people. As awareness grew, more volunteers donated time and more medical services were offered. We have seen as many as 500 patients in a day and had the help of over 200 volunteers. Area churches, the local hospital and civic organizations have helped along the way so that the effort feels like a community sponsored health care day. In the 10 years that I’ve been doing Free Dental Day we are seeing a trend of patients returning year after year for routine dental care. I’m in my 5th year of service on the Board of Trustees of the local hospital, Southern Regional Tennessee Health Systems, Pulaski and have recently been elected vice chair for the local Board of Health for Giles County TN. This involvement has raised awareness of dental care in our community.

In 11th grade, I also knew I wanted to do Mission work. I told my church in the summer after 12th grade that I wanted to travel with Doctors Without Borders. As I matured and had a child of my own, I hesitated to travel for mission work but an organization called Hope Smiles encouraged me to travel to China to provide dental care to workers in orphanages, who seldom have any access to health care. I’ve visited China three times now, and have adopted two children from orphanages. Last year, I had another son, so I have four wonderful children, two with special needs. Somehow, I knew in high school that travelling for mission work would be important to my future. Without it, I wouldn’t have met two of my sons!

Working on the dental challenges of the rural Chinese people and the Amish has provided me with interesting and atypical clinical experiences. It’s heightened my empathy and awareness of many puzzling dental problems. It aids in my intentions to be a life-long learner, always improving my expertise.

I wanted to find a professional organization ‘home’ so that I could continue to develop educationally. I have found that with the like minded dentists and exceptional continuing education programs of American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. There I am able to learn and to contribute. Additionally, I network in the s Tennessee Dental Association and have held offices regionally and in the state. My network of top dental professionals in the region and nationally are both inspiration and edification. I am improved as a dentist and as a person because of these professional relationships. From the AACD I received the prestigious Evy award twice ( Rising Star and Humanitarian Award.)

I am a state-of-the-art hometown dentist in our small southern town. Regularly, my office staff and I invest in office improvements (we’ve done 3 remodeling’s for the comfort and convenience of patients, new technology and professional development so that my community has access to all the important new features in dentistry. My office also prides itself in traditional, hometown values and hospitality.

I loved school since Kindergarten. My children attend the schools I attended as a child. I am committed to the betterment of dental hygiene awareness, to the education of young women who want to pursue professional careers and to personal relationships with youth. I volunteer regularly in the schools, and had led a Girl Scout group since the group was in Kindergarten. They are rising 5th graders now who have earned Junior Girl Scout’s top honor; the Bronze award. Scouting’s top honor, The Gold Award, is on our horizon for the coming years.

My Mom and Dad, my husband and high school sweetheart, my sister, my friends, my children, the dental office staff, my community, my church, my ‘Mommy” dental group on social media, my professional associations: local, regional and national, make me who I am. I am but one part of a vital and significant village. They ground me, guide me, humble me, support me and provide an opportunity for me to contribute…. to give back. They inspire me to do my best and to do more.

I want to thank the awards committee for this honor. I will take it back to my small hometown and count it as an accolade earned with the help of my whole town.

Professional Experience

August 2009 Present Family Dentistry, Dr. Tesa Jolly, D.D.S.
Pulaski, TN
January 2009 July 2009 General Dentist with Dr. Edward Sisk D.D.S. (deceased)
Pulaski, TN
2008 Volunteer Dentist, Church Health Center
Memphis, TN

Additional CE Topics

  • Policy Governance – The Carver Model
  • Infection Control
  • Digital Radiology
  • Treatment Planning and Occlusion – Track I and II Kois Diode Laser Certification Basic Life Support

Membership and Offices

2014 Present Hillside Hospital Governing Board
2013 TDA task force on governance
2013 Middle TN Dental Consortium
2013 AACD New Member Welcome Committee
2012 American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry University Educators Forum Committee
2012–2014 6th District
2012 TN Dental Association
Alt. Delegate to the American Dental Association House of Delegates
2011-2012 Tennessee 6th District Dental Society
President Elect
2010 American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
Professional Education Task Force
2010–2012 Tennessee 6th District Dental Society
Treasurer and Secretary
2010–2013 Tennessee 6th District Dental Society
Delegate to the TDA House of Delegates
2010 Present Giles County, TN
Board of Health
2008 Present Academy of General Dentistry
2008–2004 University of TN Dental Class
Elected Secretary
2007–2006 President of the University of TN Dental School
Chapter of American Association of Women Dentists
2004 Present American Dental Association

Awards and Honors

2011 Rising Star Award
American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
2011 Book of golden Deeds Award
Pulaski, TN Exchange Club
2010 Pulaski Citizen of the Week (December)
Nominated for Citizen of the Year
2010–2011 Recognized for outstanding volunteer
service to the Head Start Program


2012 AACD Speaker Host, Emcee
2012 AACD New Member Concierge
2010–2014 Volunteer at the Lillies and Lace Expo
Presented by Hillside Hospital
2009–Present Organizer and Host of Free Dental Day Clinic
Pulaski, TN
2009–Present Remote Area Medical Volunteer Dentist
2008–2012 Keynote Speaker TN Technology Cent Dental Assisting Graduation
Host for Dental Assisting Radiology Class Guest Lecturer TTC Dental Assisting Program


  • American Dental Association Annual Meeting
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Scientific Session
  • Tennessee Dental Association Annual Meeting
  • Hinman Dental Meeting Atlanta
  • Chicago Mid-Winter Meeting