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Dr. An Cao has her roots in the Houston, Texas area, where she spent all of her adolescent life. She is the child of two refugees of the Vietnam War and consequently, has an intimate understanding of life without basic necessities or accessible healthcare. Because of her social and cultural background, she was drawn toward dentistry as an avenue to help the poor. Since embarking on her career in dentistry, Dr. Cao has provided dental care to many in dire need – to those in urban homeless clinics, to populations at the Texas-Mexico border, and even to residents of mountainous rural areas in central Jamaica, where access to dental care is nonexistent, save for the volunteers coming in from outside of the country.
Dr. Cao completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Texas in Austin and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in neurobiology. Thereafter, she spent a year as a freshman biology teacher at Sunset High School in Oak Cliff, Dallas – a time she remembers rather fondly. “If it weren’t for the state of the educational system, I would’ve loved to spend my life nurturing and inspiring young minds,” she says.
After much introspection, Dr. Cao went back to school to pursue her dental degree, finishing in 2017 with a Doctorate in Dental Surgery from Texas A&M University (formerly Baylor) College of Dentistry. Dentistry combines the artistry of fine detail and esthetics with the science of healing, in a manner that allows the dental practitioner the ability to foster lifelong relationships with her respective patients.
Healthcare is an ever-changing landscape and dentistry is no exception. With the rapid technological advances in not only dental techniques and materials, but even the philosophy by which dentistry is practiced, it has never been more critical to stay on top of new developments in research. Consequently, Dr. Cao is consistently broadening her scope of practice through continual education in areas such as cosmetic dentistry, smile design, orthodontics and implant dentistry. “But the most important thing, to me, is to be able to sit eye to eye with a patient and treat him or her with the kindness and patience that I would use with my dearest friend or sibling or grandparent,” says Dr. Cao.
Dr. An Cao recently married her best friend and soul mate – an ergonomist by profession and full-time collector and hobbyist by nature. She hopes to one day have their own four children, mirroring her own nuclear family. In her spare time, Dr. Cao enjoys cooking, graphic design, biking, and travel. More recently, Dr. Cao has found interest in watercolor painting, drone videography and carpentry as well.