Chattanooga dentist, Dr. Paul Gardner, originally from Puyallup, Wa., served a volunteer two-year mission in eastern Tennessee for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before returning to establish Emerald Dental – a family/cosmetic practice located near Hamilton Place Mall on Gunbarrel Road.
After completion of his mission, he completed his undergraduate studies in biochemistry at Brigham Young University in Provo, Ut. and was later accepted to the University of Washington School of Dentistry in Seattle. He graduated with honors and completed a post-graduate hospital-based residency at the Veterans’ Affairs Hospital in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Upon receiving advanced training in the practice of general dentistry, he then moved back to Tennessee to pursue his career in dentistry. He and his wife, Erka (originally from Albania) are active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the parents of two daughters. Their daughters attend Westview Elementary and the Baylor School.
Dr. Gardner said his experience as a missionary anchored his testimony in Jesus Christ. “I was able to serve and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and how it has been restored in its fullness in our day,” he said. “I was also able to stand in the beautiful waters of baptism with those who listened and accepted Christ’s message of love. My mission came to define my life as a believing Christian – and I’m so thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to return to Tennessee.”
In his local congregation, Dr. Gardner serves as Sunday school president. “This year, our focus is teaching and learning from the Book of Mormon, a companion to the Bible that stands as another testament of Jesus Christ,” he said. “Although we are apart in person during the COVID crisis, we can be together reading the words of Christ.
“Christ’s message of love is what brought me to Tennessee and why I stay. I love living in Chattanooga and being a part of this wonderful community of believers."