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Spring 2018 Merchant of the Quarter: Mike Farmer

April 27 @ 8:00 am - May 11 @ 5:00 pm

Merchant of the Quarter

Dr. Mike Farmer of Plaza Midwood Dentistry

If you’ve ever sat in the chair for a cleaning at Dr. Mike Farmer’s office at Plaza Midwood Dentistry, you’ve no doubt seen the photos hanging on the wall. Many feature Farmer standing in a remote African village, smiling kids by his side, beaming into the camera.

Dr. Farmer’s business, Plaza Midwood Dentistry, is his professional work. His passion, however, are those kids.

Each year, Dr. Farmer travels with four dental students from UNC all the way to Uganda to work with the dental school there and bring dental hygiene to some of the most remote villages in the country.

“We go out and do a week’s worth of outreach about three hours north of [Kampala] for people who don’t have any access,” Farmer said. “We drive out to their villages and they get there either by bike or they walk. Sometimes they walk two to three hours just to get there.”

Dr. Farmer and his students treat more than 650 people on each of their trips, but that’s just a small — and often temporary — step, he said. While they group brings nearly 3,000 toothbrushes and toothpaste, the need for preventative care and routine cleanings remains great. The dental school produces only about 12 new dentists per year, which Dr. Farmer said works out to about one dentist for every 165,000 people in need of care.

This year, Dr. Farmer will be visiting Uganda from July 15 through August 6 with a new group of students, but his goals are much bigger.

“Our goals are more longterm than what the short term is doing,” he said.

Dr. Farmer is currently working to turn The Uganda Project into an official non-profit. They’re sending over eight dental lights and chairs, along with an X-ray machine and sterilization machine, with the hopes of soon starting a new clinic there that will produce three new dentists each year as well — a 25 percent increase from the current output.

It’s a start, and the hope, Dr. Farmer said, is to do much more in the future. But even after he returns home to his office at Central Ave. and The Plaza, where he’s practiced since 2013, the work stays with him and helps inspire him to find new ways to make an impact.

“A lot of people talk about getting burned out on dentistry or lose focus on why they’re doing it,” he said. “For me to see the pictures every day, it keeps you focused on what you’re doing.”


April 27 @ 8:00 am
May 11 @ 5:00 pm
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