Meet Doc Mary

Dentist in Burlington

Meet Dr. Makhlouf

In Doc’s presence, you immediately notice her attention to you, as if nothing else is going on around her. The backdrop of her achievements and awards hanging on the wall of the hallway backs the confidence you sense from her genuine attention. Her attention to detail in her patient care plans stems in part from her extensive training and experience, yet remains tempered by her compassion. She advocates for oral health with all of her patients, helping to clear disease and disrepair to make way for healthy smiles. Above all, she loves to spend time with her patients and initiate a friendship that develops with mutual trust over time.

Born in the U.S. and raised in Lebanon, she speaks Arabic, English and some rusty French. She has experienced the human side of civil war as a first responder in Lebanon, and founded the first English speaking Girl Scout troop in Lebanon at the age of 17. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biology at the American University of Beirut, where she was on the Dean’s list several times, but the degree was awarded to her in her mother’s kitchen since the ceremonies were cancelled again due to political unrest in Lebanon.


She came to the US and was unanimously accepted into Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston, MA. There, she graduated in 1987 with her DMD degree (Doctor of Dental Medicine) in the top 10% of her class and quite a few awards:

  • 1986: American Dental Association fellowship award for the symposium entitled “Clinical Geriatric Dentistry”
  • 1986: American Association of Public Health Dentistry Student Merit Award for Outstanding Achievement in Community Dentistry, first place.
  • 1987: American Sudent Dental Association (AADS)/Dentsply Student achievement award for leading the Smile Squad – a student-driven effort to reach out to the community and teach oral health and prevention.
  • 1987: Tufts University School of Dental Medicine Student Council Award for class leadership.
  • 1987: American Association of Women Dentists Award for outstanding leadership and academic excellence.
  • 1987: Academy of Dentistry for the Handicapped Award for “high achievement in the undergraduate curriculum in dental care for the handicapped” (people with disabilities).
  • 1987: Tufts Alumni Clinical Proficiency Award in General Dentistry for superior clinical excellence.
  • 1987: Omicron Kappa Upsilon Dental Honor Society – a society that promotes and recognizes scholarship and character among students of dentistry.

Degree in hand, Dr. Makhlouf came to the University of North Carolina (UNC –Chapel Hill) for a 2-year Hospital General Practice Residency, which included 3 months serving as chief resident. That is where she became familiar with the medical management of her dental patients who had significant medical conditions such as cancer, dry mouth, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, diabetes, bleeding disorders, blood thinners, head injuries, strokes, renal failure, transplants, heart disease, open heart surgery, HIV/AIDS, and other serious illness. In 1989, she became a fellow of the American Association of Hospital Dentistry acknowledging her experience and training in caring for medically complex dental patients.

Dr. Makhlouf was then accepted into a joint Geriatric Fellowship program between UNC and Duke University Medical Center, and after 2 years of learning more about particular issues facing the elderly, she added another year to complete a Postdoctoral Masters while supervising dental students at the Special Care Clinic at UNC. Her research was in communicating with elderly dental patients.

While she was wrapping up her thesis, Dr. Makhlouf was diligently starting up a Hospital Dentistry Department at Moses Cone Hospital, a regional cancer center, now part of the Cone Healthcare system. She served as the founding director, for almost 8 years at which point she settled into private practice in Nov 1998 in Graham, NC. Between 1993 and 2003 she maintained a UNC Adjunct Assistant Professor position at UNC as well.

In 2005 Dr. Makhlouf was grandfathered as a Diplomate of the American Board of Special Care Dentistry. That year, there were only 107 dentists to be recognized as such in the U.S.!

At this point in 2012, Dr. Makhlouf moved her practice to a more pleasant office space in Burlington that has better access for larger wheelchairs in the treatment areas so that care could be provided without a transfer where necessary.

Also in 2012, 25 years after graduation, Dr. Makhlouf was  honored at an induction ceremony into the International College of Dentists for “conspicuous and meritorious service to the profession of Dentistry” and for striving “to maintain and elevate the dignity of the profession through the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct.” Only 3-4% of dentists worldwide are inducted into this collegiate fellowship.

In 2014 Dr. Makhlouf was inducted as a fellow in the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, having completed her year-long training in Implants and fulfilled all the required criteria for that recognition.

It becomes apparent, that Dr. Makhlouf is dedicated to continuing her education without restraint. She is a member of Spear education and has consistently exceeded the state required 15 hours a year. Dr. Makhlouf has averaged over 80 hours of continuing education in recent years.

Dr. Makhlouf is a hot air balloon pilot in her spare time, and her goals are to get more involved in hospice memorial flights, Relay for Life, Victory Junction gang, and other balloon-related fundraising.

Click Here to learn about the rest of Dr. Makhlouf’s story.