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JEFF STONE

For most people, the very idea of having a tooth pulled or undergoing a root canal is enough to keep them out of the dentist’s chair for months. One Maspeth dentist, though, has managed to keep her waiting room full by convincing patients to register as organ donors, offering patients who do so a discount on dental work at her office.

Dr. Alexandra Khaimov — the owner of Grand Smile Dental, located at 69-77 Grand Ave. — has become one of the most popular medical professionals in the area by rallying customers and other members of the community to participate in a number of good causes. Her newest activity is encouraging patients to participate in Donate-A-Life, a month-long effort that aims to turn more Queens residents into registered organ donors.

The initiative isn’t an easy one. With over 10,000 New Yorkers on the waiting list for a kidney, liver or heart, the number of donors remains too low to make a sizable impact. Khaimov, with help from her five-person staff, hopes to change that by giving customers who register a discount on dental work. An estimated five or six have already signed up, with staff expecting more customers to partake in the program by the April 30 deadline.

“She is losing money,” assistant Yeva Gulkarova said of the reduced costs Khaimov sometimes gives to patients who do good deeds. The bottom line is secondary because “people like to see a dentist who’s not in it for the money. She actually cares, she won’t do anything that’s not necessary and always tries to help patients out. People like that.”

This is the first year that Grand Smile Dental is helping the Donate-A-Life program, combining it with their annual food drive. Customers are encouraged to bring in nonperishable food items or donate money that will go to needy families. The minimum cash donation is $10, although even that small contribution is enough to earn a patient a $50 credit toward his or her next appointment.

Khaimov organizes a handful of events like this every year. Her office was recently overwhelmed with essay submissions from kids ranging in age from 6 to 16 who wrote about something positive they’ve done. The winner was awarded a Kindle Fire, but the generosity also benefits people in more practical ways.

“She actually did a free dental day not too long ago where people who have pain or discomfort but no dental insurance would come in and she’d do pro bono work,” Gulkarova said of her boss. “She’s pretty involved.”

 

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