Dr. Adam Bressler does dental work on a child from The Sallie House at his dental practice Dental Care Group June 28.
SEMINOLE – Growing up in New York on Long Island, 1978 was a big year for Dr. Adam Bressler.
That’s when his mother remarried and he was adopted by the man he considers his father.
“I call him Dad, though he’s not my biological father,” Dr. Bressler said.
So when his wife, Maureen, and his mother-in-law met representatives of the Sallie House, a safe haven for children in Pinellas County’s foster care system, at a Freedom Square health fair last September, something “clicked” for him.
“I was really very lucky,” he said. “But over the years it’s always been weighing on my mind. Who knows where I’d be without my father. He was a role model for me. He was a dentist, too. I followed in his footsteps.”
He added, “If my Dad didn’t adopt me I don’t know where I would be.”
So Dr. Bressler decided to give back to the children of The Sallie House, who haven’t been as lucky as he was, and are waiting to find homes and parents of their own.
Twice in the past year – first in December right before Christmas, and most recently on June 28 – Bressler brought a group of these children into his Seminole dental practice, Dental Care Group, 8381 Seminole Blvd. He provided free dental care for them – cleanings and fillings, X-rays for those with toothaches, and one child even needed a root canal, he said.
His staff, including office manager Danielle Davis, who played a large role in coordinating the dental appointments for the kids, donated their time to the cause.
“I really have an amazing staff,” Bressler said. “They’re the best.”
He had two other local dentists assist him that day, and as the charitable event grows, he hopes to find others willing to donate their time, including a pediatric specialist.
For many of these kids, it’s the first time they’re seeing a dentist, he said.
“Often money has to be used for other things, food and clothes, so a lot of them have never been to a dentist before,” Bressler said.
So he tried to make the experience as fun as possible for them, with movies playing in the waiting room. Rep. Larry Ahearn, who rents an office in the same complex as Dr. Bressler, stopped by to greet them and handed out state of Florida coloring books and puzzles.
“They’re the most vulnerable segment of society,” Bressler said. “We’re just trying to play a little role in their life to make it a little better. Though some of them might not think it because they’re in a dentist office.”