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Bayside dentist plans trip to help brighten Cubans’ smiles

A group of Queens dentists is preparing for a humanitarian trip to Havana and asking for donations of dental supplies to help put smiles on some of Cuba’s faces.

The Fialkoff Queens Dental Study Club, organized by Dr. Bernard Fialkoff of Bayside, plans to visit the island nation early next year.

“It turns out they actually do have a lot of dentists there,” said Meghan Fialkoff, the director of the trip and daughter of Dr. Fialkoff. “They don’t have a lot of dental supplies. In the next few months we’ll be looking for donations from dentists and dental supply companies to bring with us.”

Fialkoff said the group has enrolled 30 dentists and dental staff from as far as Minnesota for the trip, and they will be asking other dentists and dental supply companies to donate gloves, masks, cotton tip applicators and self-contained Cavitron units compatible with 30K Cavitron inserts — among other items — for their trip to the University of Havana Dental School.

The group will provide basic dental work and share their expertise with local Cuban dentists but will not plan anything too advanced due to uncertainty about the school’s facilities.

“We really need people to donate supplies. They just don’t have the supplies there,” Fialkoff said.

Dr. Fialkoff’s parents left Russia during World War II, but since the United States had a quota, they settled in Cuba. When he was about 10, the family left the country and moved to Connecticut.

Fialkoff said her father was the valedictorian at Stony Brook University’s School of Dental Medicine?, and for the past 30 years he has had an expanding practice in Bayside. These successes have inspired him to give back to the less fortunate.

Fialkoff pointed out that a number of the dentists in the group are members of the Hispanic community with bilingual offices.

“A lot of them have? done trips in the past to places like Haiti and Ecuador,” she said. “They’re very interested in helping.”

As the trip’s organizer, Fialkoff recently obtained a humanitarian license from the U.S. Treasury Department. She said one of the most fascinating aspects of the trip is how Cuba’s cars and architecture will make the dentists feel as though they have been transported back to 1955 when they arrive.

It will be the first time Dr. Fialkoff has returned to the country, and he plans to make a special visit to the Synagogue Patronato, where his cousins were wed, his daughter said.

To donate dental supplies to the humanitarian trip, contact Meghan Fialkoff at bernardfialkoffdds@gmail.com.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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