David A. Bresler, 61, of Meadowbrook, known to many small patients throughout the area as "the kids' dentist," died Saturday, March 21, from complications of surgery at Fox Chase Cancer Center.
Dr. Bresler opened his first pediatric dental office in Roxborough in 1982 and in the next 30 years expanded to Dresher, Jenkintown, Newtown Square, and South and Northeast Philadelphia.
Dr. Bresler developed a dental-care model for all children, regardless of family income. He was owner- operator of Doc Bresler's Cavity Busters - a multilocation, multi-dentist practice providing pediatric dentistry, general dentistry, and orthodontics.
Known as the dentist kids "love to visit," he sent tiny patients home with a new toothbrush and "a pocketful of toys and bouncy balls," his family said.
He was the founding owner of Red Lion Surgicenter, devoted to dental procedures. He also established Special Touch Dentistry, a dental practice for adults with special needs.
"Whereas many others turned their back on this population, he embraced it," said son Joshua, also a dentist.
Born in Philadelphia to Kalia and R. Ralph Bresler, he graduated from Abington High School in 1971. Dr. Bresler completed his undergraduate education at Temple University and continued his graduate education at Temple University's Kornberg School of Dentistry. He completed a residency in pediatric dentistry at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.
Dr. Bresler's father taught him three important lessons: Find out what you're good at and become the best at it; put patients first; and bring others with you up the ladder of success. He succeeded at all three, his family said.
Dr. Bresler was a clinical associate professor at Temple's dentistry school and lectured at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, Harcum College, and Manor College.
He was on the staff at St. Christopher's Hospital and at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He was a spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and lectured widely.
Dr. Bresler was a member of the YMCA, the Sunshine Foundation, and the Shriners. He led many trips to Haiti to treat patients who otherwise would have had no dental care. His family plans to continue the trips.
His interests included spending time with family, going to flea markets, restoring antique cars, joining in activities with the Corvette Club, and vacationing at the Jersey Shore.
He also had an extensive collection of beer memorabilia, "which is ironic since he never had a beer in his life," his family said.
Besides his son, Dr. Bresler is survived by his wife, Sherry Fletcher; another son, Jason; daughters Rachel Bresler, Alicia, DeAnna, and Melissa Andaloro; three grandchildren; a brother; and a sister.
He was previously married to Gina Bresler, who survives.
Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 26, at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel, 8339 Old York Rd., Elkins Park. Burial is in Roosevelt Memorial Park, Trevose.
Donations may be sent to Temple Dental Haiti Club, 3223 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19140.