Meet Your Dentist

Dr. Chao

Dr. Chao

Dentist, Founder

Dr. Chao was born in Taipei, Taiwan and emigrated to the United States at the age of 4, the son of parents from Shanghai, China who left as political refugees after the communist takeover of China. Growing up in Southern California, it was natural for him to attend UCLA and the University of Pacific for his Doctorate degree in Dental Science. After completion of his education, he moved to Silicon Valley to start a successful dental practice in San Jose for 22 years. While in California, he would often volunteer for dental missions into remote areas of Mexico with the Flying Doctors. He was given the honor to treat American athletes on the Olympic team and additionally, did several residencies in Temporal Mandibular Disorders and Occlusal Pains.

After moving his family to Traverse City, Dr. Chao started Garfield Dental Group upon completion of the building at its present location on North Garfield Road in 2002. This building and dental practice has served for 5 years as an off-campus dental internship for training 3rd and 4th-year dental students from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry to provide free dental care for the underserved in our community. As a practitioner and educator, he makes a special effort to help patients understand the state of their dental health and how it relates to their overall health.

On a personal note, Dr.Chao enjoys the arts, sports, and traveling. Most of the artwork at Garfield Dental Group are original works by him and his sons, Jeremy and Alex. He continues to paint but also enjoys listening and dancing to live music. As a supporter of the Traverse City Film Festival, State and Bijou Theatre, and Interlochen Arts Academy, he regularly attends live performances and enjoys films.

In sports, Dr. Chao plays pickleball, bikes daily, hikes, swims for exercise, and is also a regular at his gym. His personal accomplishments include swimming the Maui Channel, swimming from Alcatraz to San Francisco, twice doing the Waikiki 3 Mile Roughwater Swim, and completing multiple triathlons and biking events. He now plays pickleball 3-4 times a week.

In his travels, Dr. Chao traveled to over 25 countries. He did dental mission trips in Mexico and Central America. In 1983, he was one of the first dentists to visit China as part of a professional exchange, visiting clinics and observing dental surgeries under acupuncture. From his travels, his favorite cities include Prague, San Francisco, Venice, and Amsterdam. On his bucket list, he wants to bike parts of Europe and Southeast Asia.

Dr. Chao has two sons in their twenties, one lives in Harlem in New York City and the other in Olympia, Washington. He also has a sister in Orange County in California.